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Method of writing music by means of dots, Paris

Today we take a trip to Paris, with a field recording of church bells at Saint Nicolas des Champs in Le Marais, Paris in December 2023.

There are two major roads either side of the church, which are constantly busy with noisy traffic and mean that this once peaceful oasis is almost drowned out by car traffic. Even the chiming of the bells has difficulty cutting through and making itself clear in the soundscape.

City version:

The reimagined sound starts from the fact that the impressive sound of these church bells is dramatically quietened by traffic noise on all sides, and this is an oasis of peace in a busy urban centre.

The light piano motifs and crystal healing bowl sounds bring to mind the idea of a church as a sanctuary away from everyday life and a centre of peace – but the growing, heavily effected guitar sounds that develop as the piece progresses symbolise the enveloping of culturally significant and beautiful soundscapes by them modern, noisy, homogeneous city.

The title comes from the 1829 book, “Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them”, which was written by Louis Braille at the time he was organist of this church.

Memory version:

IMAGE: Velvet, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons