Sunday, 9 March 2014

First Week - check

Thursday brought more audio basics. Well, not just any old basics but the real deal: how does our sense of hearing work on a mechanical level? How does a difference in sound pressure level becomes an impulse for the brain? What are all the parts responsible for this procedure? Beside the mysterious workings of the ear we found out about its limits. 

First there is the limit constituted by the frequency range, which reaches from as low as 20 Hz to 20.000 Hz (or 20 kHz). The acoustic region below 20 Hz is called "subsonic noise" or "infrasound" and above 20 kHz "ultrasonic" pitched its tent.
Fun fact: Did you know that the supermassive black hole in the Perseus clusters emits sound? It does and it rumbles away with an astonishingly Bflat 57 octaves under middle-C. This is the deepest note ever detected from an object in the Universe! Kudos to you, mate!

The second limit is the sound pressure level (SPL for short) which is related to the volume of a sound or noise. Our sense of hearing is a very finely tuned apparatus and can only cope with differences in SPL of 0,00002 Pa ("hearing/auditory threshold", HL) and 20 Pa ("threshold of discomfort", TD). Below or above those limits we just don't hear anything. Last but not least we were starting to learn about hearing damages, with age-related hearing loss leading the way and the famous "tinnitus" following in its wake. Still missing in action and expected to appear on Monday: auditory trauma.

After school Tom, Tosi, Sina (a friend of Tosi) and I went to grab a drink at Turbinen Bräu, a local brewery with some excellent beer, if you can believe my classmates. Since I don't drink any alcohol, I got a "Gazosa", a grapefruit flavoured lemonade from Ticino. If the beer is as good as this lemonade is, it must be overwhelmingly good.

But Thursday was also the day I moved from Winterthur, where I was staying for a couple of days with two friends of mine, Tamara and her husband Christian, to Zurich. A friend of mine, Thiago, and his partner Gregor went on vacation to Brazil to Thiago's home town and in exchange for living in their flat for about a month I volunteered to look after their pets: 2 bearded dragons and a couple of snakes. Luckily, it's not scorpions and spiders. =)

Friday was the first day I could sleep long. And so I did, until 10am - with a short intermission at 0730am to switch on the light for Thiago's bearded dragons. After some faffing around in the morning I went to SAE around noon to do some aural training again. After the disillusionment of the last units I didn't expect much. There are still rogue results going about, stabbing my yet average to good scores, but it was better than last time. Aural training is pretty taxing, even if it's just one hour. But it is concentrated effort you put in during the whole of this hour and after a time the sense of hearing tires out. So, after completing the training unit I decided to grab a book from our school library and relax a bit in the lounge area. One of the deep, soft leather couches immediately invited me to sit and stay there for another hour and to have a drink. I like those kind of invitations.

Something else happened on Friday, which makes me very happy. I found a room in a shared flat! One that I would have liked to stay at too! With nice flatmates, a big room, roof-top terrace to have a barbeque on and lots of musicians in the whole house. Seems like stuff finally seems to work out.

Well, that's all for today. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Yay for bearded dragons! And successful flathunting, of course =-.^=