Navigating by chimes – Where the doors go Ping!

On the Ning Nang Nong Where the Platforms go Bong! And the Escalators all say Boo! There’s a Nong Nang Ning Where the doors go Ping! And the lift doors Jibber Jabber Joo … * A few years back I was lucky enough to visit Japan. One of my lasting sound memories was the strange… Continue reading Navigating by chimes – Where the doors go Ping!

Why pantomime dames don’t sound feminine

It’s the festive season, and time for British middle aged men to dress in drag and become pantomime dames. But they don’t sound much like women. This is something that’s also true of male comedians impersonating women on TV – Monty Python and Les Dawson spring to mind. The difference between male and female voices… Continue reading Why pantomime dames don’t sound feminine

Tone deafness

At my saxophone lesson this weekend, my teacher asked me to sing what I was meant to be playing. It was pretty excrutiating and it took me a few attempts to hit the notes correctly. Fortunately, I’m not completely tone deaf, just a little out of practice. It’s estimated that tone deafness (congenital amusia) affects… Continue reading Tone deafness

Fingernails and blackboards

Why is the sound of fingernails dragging down a chalk board so horrible? This question just won’t go away. Ever since I ran an experiment into the worst sound in the World (www.sound101.org), a lack of a good answer has been bothering me. I’ve been doing some science shows for sixth formers in London recently,… Continue reading Fingernails and blackboards