Sound Recordings

Notre-Dame’s oldest bell, Emmanuel, dates back to the 15th century and rings in F sharp.

The Secret Sounds of Notre-Dame's Bells

An artist is live streaming the bells' imperceptible vibrations, which reflect the city around them

The new study suggests a distinction in our brains between instrumental music and vocal music. 

Some Neurons in Your Brain Respond to Singing but Not Other Music

Researchers tested 15 participants’ responses to 165 different noises, including toilet flushing, road traffic, instrumental music, speaking and singing

Vivian Carter (center) and her husband, Jimmy Bracken (far right), launched Vee Jay Records in 1953.

The Black Record Label That Introduced the Beatles to America

Over its 13-year run, Vee Jay built a roster that left a lasting impact on every genre of music

Out of 250,000 known marine species, scientists suspect all 126 marine mammals emit sound.

Good News

Scientists Propose the Creation of a Global Aquatic Sound Library

The first-ever international audio collection of aquatic ecosystems would aim to uncover unidentified fish species, discover regional dialects and more

One of the species Stewart captured on audio is the Panamanian Golden Frog, a once-common species now rarely seen in the wild.

Listen to These Amazing Sounds of Lost Places and Animals Within Them

Prolific audio naturalist Martyn Stewart has released a free collection of his remarkable recordings before his passing

None

This Missouri Company Still Makes Cassette Tapes, and They Are Flying Off the Factory Floor

National Audio Company is the largest manufacturer in the world for this retro sound

The barking owl is one of the 53 endangered bird species featured on the album.

Trending Today

Bird Call Album Flies Over Taylor Swift on Australian Pop Charts

<em>Songs of Disappearance</em> soars to the number-three spot as Australians show support for endangered bird species

Numerous books, films and other works first published in 1926 enter the public domain on January 1.

Winnie-the-Pooh, an Ernest Hemingway Classic and a Massive Library of Sound Recordings Will Enter the Public Domain on January 1

Works newly available to copy, republish and remix in 2022 also include poems by Langston Hughes and Dorothy Parker

Healthy reef habitats are usually alive with the diverse sounds of marine life.

Bizarre Fish Songs Raise Hope for Coral Reef Recovery

Audio recordings show a once-dying ecosystem has transformed into a lively soundscape

Swift&#39;s extended version of &quot;All Too Well&quot; surpassed&nbsp;the length of the previous record holder, Don McLean&#39;s 8-minute, 42-second&nbsp;&quot;American Pie (Parts I and II).&quot;

Trending Today

Taylor Swift Sets Record for Longest No. 1 Song, Beating Out 'American Pie' and the Beatles

The pop star's 10-minute, 13-second rerecording of "All Too Well" debuted at the top spot in Billboard's Hot 100 chart

&ldquo;Bless whoever it was who came up with the idea,&rdquo; jazz historian Dan Morgenstern says in a Smithsonian interview about Armstrong&rsquo;s rendition of the holiday chestnut.

The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'

Shortly before he died, the jazz legend offered his own rendition of the classic holiday poem

A man in Laruns, southwestern France, whistling as a form of speech. Like others in the Canary Islands and elsewhere, local people have learned to whistle their language to communicate across long distances. Linguists are studying whistled speech to help understand which sound elements are essential to comprehension.

More Than 80 Cultures Still Speak in Whistles

Dozens of traditional cultures use a whistled form of their native language for long-distance communication. You could, too.

Here are 12 of the rarest doo-wop records ever made. “Can’t Help Loving That Girl of Mine” (1954) by Philadelphia’s 
Hide-A-Ways is, Shively says, the “holy grail of vocal group
collecting.”

A Peek Inside the World's Greatest Record Store

A lovable grouch, obsessed with the magic of American sidewalk harmony, runs the Philadelphia shop

A pygmy blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) crosses the Indian Ocean and passes near Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Using Nuclear Bomb Detectors, Scientists Overhear the Secret Songs of a Never-Before-Seen Pygmy Blue Whale Population

The new group is named 'Chagos' after the islands close to where the melodies were detected

A creek runs by moss-covered rocks not far From Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park. Researchers have found that listening to natural sounds like running water may benefit human health.

Listening to Nature Gives You a Real Rocky Mountain High

Sounds like birdsong and flowing water may alleviate stress, help lower blood pressure and lead to feelings of tranquility

Fin whale songs are some of the loudest animals in the ocean, producing calls that can reach 189 decibels and are almost as loud as container ships.

New Research

Researchers Use Whale Calls to Probe Undersea Geology

The study finds that fin whale songs are powerful enough to reverberate through the Earth’s crust, allowing scientists to study its thickness and structure

Paredon Records produced music that was literally revolutionary.

From the 'Sidedoor' Podcast: How a Woman-Led Record Label Spread Songs of Protest and Revolution

This episode from the sixth season of the Smithsonian's "Sidedoor" podcast delves into the history of Barbara Dane's revolutionary Paredon Records

The website identifies Iceland’s Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon as one of the world's most relaxing soundscapes.

Virtual Travel

Take a Free Audio Tour of the World's Most Relaxing Destinations

From bird songs in an Indian jungle to the flowing waves of a Sardinian beach, a new tool spotlights 50 soothing soundscapes

No longer masked by city noise, San Francisco sparrows are singing a new tune

The Pandemic Shutdown in San Francisco Had Sparrows Singing Sexier Tunes

Birds adapted to singing above the urban noise chirped lower, softer melodies

A scale model of Stonehenge used to test the ancient monument's acoustics

New Research

Scientists Map Stonehenge's Soundscape

Study of small-scale model sheds light on how conversation, music moved through the massive monument

loading icon