Early-Morning Rumble

Soundmarks, and learning to listen

A soundmark of this neighborhood is a steady, stationary, early-morning rumble of what I take to be a motorcycle somewhere far enough away to be difficult to triangulate, and sometimes initially mistaken for anything from construction work to rattly fridge to passing seaplane. This morning, “early” meant right after 7am.

I love this helpful guide: “Top 6 Strange Motorcycle Noises and What They May Mean.” The author breaks such sounds into six types:

  1. Tick, tick tick
  2. Bump & grind
  3. Creepy krink
  4. Boo hiss
  5. Ring, ding, ping boom
  6. Snap, crackle, pop

And no, I don’t ride a motorcycle, myself. Vehicle noises were simply, in deep retrospect, an early entry point for me into sound as a subject, and into onomatopoeia as a means of exploration (beginning, for me, with my mom striving to communicate with a mechanic).

Here’s a related panel on the topic from a comic (“Mentors”) I did with Hannes Pasqualini a year ago this month. If you click through to the final of its four panels, the intent is to show these were examples from my childhood.

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