Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where have all the good sounds gone?

NPR's News blog had a great post today called "Where Have All The Good Sounds Gone?". 'Good sounds' refer to sounds lost long ago in our digital world that most people -- even those from my generation -- can still remember from their childhood.

The examples they give are the old telephone ring, the 'Bong, Fuzzzzz' white noise sound old dial TVs made when you turned them on, the click-clack of a typewriter, the "classic thwackety-thwackety-thwack of a playing card pinned to a bicycle spoke," and hand crank pencil sharpeners.

I've had my cell phone ring set to the 'old telephone ring' for months now. Does that count?

And I used hand-crank pencil sharpeners until the 6th grade. It was someone's job every week to make sure all the shavings were dumped out at the end of the day.

Read the full article with the orchestra here.

I was surprised to find that not only did these sounds draw up memories for me, but it also made me sad to think that my little sister, who's only four years younger than I, might not remember them, and my children certainly won't know what I'm talking about.


I can recall getting my fingers caught in my grandma's robin egg blue rotary dial phone. My parents had a TV you had to turn a dial to change the channel (you only had three options anyway) for years. I have one of those 'Bong Fuzzz' TVs in my apartment living room right now (Made in China, 1990). Sadly, the typewriter was before my time, but I remember my dad's first laptop and how the only thing you could do on it was play Solitaire and type in Word93 -- but that was the COOLEST.


A No. 2 pencil scratching across fresh notebook paper, the satisfying 'click, whirl' of a cassette tape in a Walk-Man, the "murrrr" the VCR made when it ate your ballet recital video, printer paper coming out attached with a long 'Deeeee-Haaawww', like a loud, electronic donkey: Just other sounds I remember. Although one sound I'm happy to live without is the 'bbssshhh, eeeee, burn-ER, burn-ER," groan of dial-up Internet (Who came up with that anyway? Why not some funky techno beat instead?)



What sounds do you remember -- and maybe would like to bring back?

2 comments:

Erin said...

The internet thing reminds me that I was downloading a program today and the DEFAULT option was for a 56k modem. Who has that anymore?!

Brandon said...

I miss all of this too. I started out learning how to type on a typewriter.