What is a soundmark?

Is there any sound that reminds you of a particular place? For example, does the ding ding sound of trams remind you of Hong Kong? Would you think of London when you hear Big Ben chimes? If they do, those iconic sounds are soundmarks.

Derived from “landmark”, soundmark is a term used in Soundscape Studies to refer to a sound which is unique to an area or possesses qualities which make it specially regarded or noticed by the people in that community. A soundmark is highly symbolic because it evokes immediate association to the location upon being heard. Soundmarks, therefore, are of cultural and historical significance and merit preservation and protection.

Soundmark is not only a term found in Soundscape Studies. It has made its way into marketing and brand differentiation. Some luxury automobile brands develop their own engineering sounds in order to differentiate themselves from their peers and to give users a sense of superiority. Hence, soundmark gives characteristics to a place or a product. With uniqueness and individuality being much sought after by modern society, can you foresee how soundmark will develop in the near future?

 

Café Landmark: How to Nail the Optimum Sound Level

Nestled in Central, the financial heart of the city, Landmark is commonly known as a gathering place for well-heeled shoppers because it offers top-tier, opulent shopping and lifestyle experiences. For ladies taking a break from shopping and local office workers wanting a convenient business lunch, the upmarket mall offers international cuisine with an Asia-inspired refinement in its CAFÉ LANDMARK.

Devoting a large open area to CAFÉ LANDMARK on its first floor, Landmark foregrounds the restaurant’s central location. Some tables overlook the buzz of the shops below as the sun bathes the building with light through the high glass ceiling, aiming to evoke an illusion of a floating restaurant. Faint, soft, murmuring classical music is wafting through the air, the mall, at the dining scene, inducing a laidback atmosphere. Diners’ voices are low and controlled with clanking of cutlery occasionally heard. This seems a perfect sound environment according to a study published by the Journal of Culinary Science & Technology which determined that food tastes best to diners when classical music is softly played and there’s the presence of subtle background chatter. Apart from setting the mood and increasing the satisfaction of the diners’ taste buds, music serves to mask noise of the clinking of cutlery.

Being at a fancy restaurant like CAFÉ LANDMARK where a three-course meal for two persons can cost around HK$700, you expect nothing less from its food experience which includes an optimum sound level.

Reference: How Music Establishes Mood and Drives Restaurant Profits

Restaurant Sound – Share how you feel!

Have you ever been to restaurants that are too noisy to stay long? Are there any restaurants that you want to go again because of its harmonious sonic environment? The many sounds you heard in a restaurant constitute the soundscape of it. The subjective feelings you have towards the soundscape is the most interesting part to study. Sounds in restaurants may not be noticeable most of the time, yet sounds stealthily affect us in different ways.

Why Soundscape Matters? – Dining is part and parcel of everyday life for urban folks. Restaurants nowadays are not only places to eat but a matter of lifestyle. Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore are well developed cities that pursue better quality of life. We care about the setting of a restaurant or the quality of food but seldom talk about the sonic environment of a restaurant. The sonic environment of a restaurant sets the atmosphere and the mood for diners to enjoy food. It is as part of the dining experience as the dishes, décor and customer service. The many possibilities in making better soundscapes can bring us to a new world of dining out experience.

What Can You Help? – If you are interested to contribute in improving the sonic environment of restaurants, you are cordially invited to participate in the research project by National University of Singapore, Macao Polytechnic Institute and DingDingSound HK. We are sorting out the major components in creating desirable soundscape in restaurants. We need your comments on various restaurants. The following questionnaire will take you about 5 minutes to complete. You can rate any restaurants you have been to for several aspects. Your reply will be of paramount value to our research and future design of soundscape in restaurants. Thank you for your time and assistance. If you have any question/ feedback, please email at info@dingdingsound.com.

Chinese Questionnaire: http://bit.ly/2tsxcYz

English Questionnaire: http://bit.ly/2ubtcsv

Urban Sound Maps: Hear the City’s Heartbeat

Sound maps may not be a well-known or popularized tool, eclipsed by its visual counterpart Google Maps and its kind. However, there are serious sound map projects underway.

Sound Around You is a research project from University of Salford which allows everyone to help build a sound map of the world using a mobile phone. To contribute, you may get the app isay for iPhone, iPad or iPod or use your own recorder to capture, comment on and upload your day-to-day sound environments. Your soundscapes and opinions will then be anonymously placed on the world map. This worldwide soundscape research project utilizes crowdsourcing to collect description of sounds perceived by people around the globe and have perception evaluated in scale, exemplifying collective endeavours in sound mapping.

Details at: http://www.soundaroundyou.com/

London Sound Survey is a growing collection of sound recordings of people, places and events in the capital of the United Kingdom. The survey divides London in a grid of squares and makes summary of its soundscape by plotting in outline the common or persistent sound types heard around London during the daytime. The recordings concern mainly the background atmospheres and incidental noises from all over London.

Details at: http://www.soundsurvey.org.uk/index.php/survey/soundmaps/