Wondering what happened there?
Sound travels as a wave through the air, water, or solid. The singing bird produces vibrations in the air which reach our ear and vibrate the eardrum, like the ripples produced in a pond when you throw a stone. The eardrum is connected to a fluid-filled coil called the cochlea, via three tiny bones. The vibrations traveling through these bones are amplified and then passed on to the cochlea. The cochlea has a membrane with a variable thickness which resonates locally to different frequencies of sound. On this membrane, rest cells bearing hairs. These hairy structures of varying length on the tips of these cells form a meshwork. Remember running your fingers through the teeth of a comb and hearing the sound changes with change in teeth thickness/length? Similarly, the variation of hair length on these cells serves to tune these cells to different pitches of sounds. The sound vibrations which are now traveling like waves in the cochlear fluid cause the interlinked hairs to sway and these disturbances in the meshwork of hair are picked up by the nerves which convey the information to the brain, helping you understand if the singing bird is a crow or jay.
Are you listening?
In the zine, ‘Are you listening?’ there is the story of how the sounds travel. Apart from the story, each drawing on the page is a prompt for the audience to draw anything around it. Whether it is an intricate repetitive pattern or imaginary landscape or faces or whatever you come up with.
I am hoping you will support the experiment. If you draw something, do share on Instagram/ facebook/ twitter using the hashtag #iwlistens.