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

Laughing Rats

Heard a great radio programme which included the sound of laughing rats. Some scientists are claiming that if you tickle a rat it giggles. [youtube=] Before you rush to tickle a pet rat, it’s worth knowing that the sounds aren’t audible to humans. (Unless you have a bat detector or some other piece of specialist… Continue reading Laughing Rats

Sound Iridescence

Trying to make something which creates Acoustic Iridescence Light iridescence gives butterflies their shimmering colours. The minute structures of the wings give this beautiful structural colour via interference effects. This means as you turn the butterfly around and look at the wings from different angles, the colour of the butterfly changes (animation of this). The… Continue reading Sound Iridescence

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 (, 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