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cs4fn Magazine+: Issue 21: Computing Sounds Wild

ISSN 1754-3657 (Print)

ISSN 1754-3665 (Online)

An interest in nature and an interest in computers don’t obviously go well together. For a band of computer scientists interested in sound they very much do, though. Here we explore the work of scientists and engineers using computers to understand, identify and recreate wild sounds, especially those of birds. We see how sophisticated algorithms that allow machines to learn, can help recognize birds even when they can’t be seen, so helping conservation efforts. We see how computer models help biologists understand animal behaviour, and we look at how electronic and computer-generated sounds, having changed music, are now set to change the soundscapes of films. Making electronic sounds is also a great, fun way to become a computer scientist and learn to program.

A pdf version is available to download for free.

Issue 21 of the cs4fn magazine directs you to the web site for more on various articles. Find all the articles as well as linked extras below.

The articles

What are birds saying?

A seagull squawking Could we ever talk to the animals?

The vigilance of the flock

A single bird Cellular automata for feeding birds

Say it sounds like singing

A ring of sound Strange illusions with sounds

Hugo is no songbird

A ventriloquist's dummy Birds as recording technology

Mysterious moon music

An eclipse with sound waves Strange sounds from Apollo 11

What's that bird? Ask your phone

A colourful abstract bird How machines recognise birdsong

Making a bird song app

Dan and Florence Birdsong entrepreneurs

Dawn chorus soundscapes

Spectograms and linked places A visual way to explore soundscapes

Sophisticated songbird singing

A human larynx What is the secret of the way birds sing?

How far can you hear?

A bird singing in a bush Counting birds

A Wookie for 3 minutes

A walrus Machines learning synthetic sound

The glove that controls your cords...

A concert audience with hands as hearts Controlling music with gesture

Pioneering electronic music

A vortex of blue tape Delia Derbyshire

Scale back (page)

Baker with dough An alternative scale

Paul Curzon, Dan Stowell, Jane Waite and Peter W McOwan of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Summer 2016. In addition to Queen Mary, EPSRC supported this issue through research grants EP/L020505/1 and EP/K009559/1. The issue was also supported by the Mayor of London and Department for Education. cs4fn is a partner on the BBC’s Make It Digital Programme. Spectogram Adelbert Range recording image courtesy of Eddie Game, The Nature Conservancy. The Gympie recording courtesy of Yvonne Philips, Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Sturt recording courtesy of Ecosounds.org. Spectrograms obtained from Michael Towsey, ecosounds.org, QUT.