sound maker



Michael whistles @~1000 Hz

Do you hear that? That whitsle?

Michael whistles again.  

1000 Hz sine tone fades up behind.

Like a Tibetan singing bowl being sounded continuously.  The sound of it recorded onto a computer, converted to an mp3, put onto your iPod and set on loop.  Oh, and someone's glued the headphones onto you ears so they'll never come off.


Ok, take that sound and move it to the left.

1000hz tone pans left

Now let's get another one, a higher one, say... this:

Michael whistles  @~1357hz .

A 1357 Hz sine tone fades up panned center.

Take that and move it to the right.

1357Hz tone pans right.

Now let's add another one.

Higher tone in, pans 65% left.

And another one.

Higher tone in, pans 65% right.

And another.

Higher tone in, pans 45% left.

And another.

Higher tone in, pans 45% right.

And another.

Tone in


Tone in


Tone in


Last tone.  ~9000Hz

MICHAEL is now speaking a fair bit louder to get over the noise.

This.  This mind crushingly continuous cacohony is called Tinnitus.  It's a ringing in you ear, day, night, awake, asleep, driving your car, and at the supermarket.  It never goes away.  Never.

Tones cut out

Until it goes away.


I remember, when I was a kid.  I couldn't have been more than... maybe 5 or 6.  When I was a kid, my favourite sound in the whole world was sparklers.  You know, those dull looking metal sticks that feel like sandpaper when you run your finger along them.  But when it's late at night, or in a darkened room, and you light one...

Sparkler igniting

It's just the most beautiful thing.  And it burns so bright that when you wave it about you can see trails hanging in the oily black.  It's like drawing pure, distilled beauty directly on the back of your eye.  And then, when it's almost out and above the little ball of light you can see the metal stick, wracked and deformed and twisted by the intense heat... you watch the sparkling spitfire as it splutters, stammers, stutters...

Sparkler burns out


You rush with excited disappointment to light another.  You pull another gunpowder stick from its tall skinny box and hold it between fingers and thumb.  Heart racing you flick the lighter, once...

Lighter click


Lighter click

Three times...

Lighter click, flame ignite

And hold the flame under the tip.

Sounds fade out

I remember when I was a kid... that moment... waiting for my sparkler to light was the longest moment of my life.  It still takes a long time, but then, when i was barely able to count my age on two hands, it was Eternity. 

(dramatic pauses between words)

Hours... days... weeks... months........ Years would grind slowly past while I waited.  Until... Until.  Until!

Sparkler ignites and continues to burn

(ecstatic whisper)

Yes!  Ignition! Success!


But through it all.  Past it all.  In spite of the exultant luminous glory of the twinkling stick in my hand, it was always the sound of it that made my heart race.  It was the sound of it as it burned that really made it sparkle.  That cellophane crackle.  That momentary sea-side rush of waves breaking on the shore.  The way the sound changed as I spun it between my fingers and spelled out rude words in the nighttime dark.  That is what I really love.  That is what I still love to this day. 

(thoughtful pause)

And... if I'm honest... that tiny, miniscule, miraculous moment... over all and everything... more than all the world's music played end to end... That one, wonderful sound...

Sparkler burns out the one I miss the most.