Bryant University Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies


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I am staying in an apartment in the Museum District of Philadelphia, so I went to the courtyard in the middle of the property. I took some snacks with me, took the elevator to the ground floor, then walked outside and chose a white Adirondack chair in the middle of the grass. Being in a big city, I heard much more man-made, urban sounds than I did clean, natural sounds.

The first thing I noticed was the low, almost throaty, rumble of motorcycles on the freeway not even 200 yards away. It came in non-metrical bursts for the first minute or so, and then even more sporadically for the remainder of the time. Throughout my time outside, the distant wailing of sirens pierced the air around me. I was unable to distinguish whether they were ambulance, firetruck, or police car sirens. There was an even rhythm to the song, that can only be described as cold. Shattering my bubble of focus, a horn honked on the freeway. Maybe it is just because car horns are typically synonymous with anger, but the sound of the low beep was rough. A moving truck pulled into the loading dock behind me, the door slamming shortly after. The dark thud juxtaposed against the brightness of new beginnings, which were revealed by the smooth sound of furniture being slid out of the back of the truck. Paired with that was the deep creaking of the ramp joints beneath the weight of the movers. One thing I did notice throughout my time outside was a soft, almost imperceptible, hum of traffic. The sound seemed to surround me, acting like a blanket laying atop every other sound.


LCS 280: Introduction to World Music

First Faculty Advisor

Joan Zaretti, PhD