Music in The City of Din


Music in The City of Din

Jingxin Leng


In my daily life, the public place I come into contact with the most is the subway station, and my contact with the subway station is very regular. However, when I think back to the subway station, a place I should be very familiar with from time to time, all I can think of is, “a noisy place”, completely forgetting any positive words, this impression makes me very frightened, the subway station’s sound has too strong an impact on the space. So I wanted to use Glasgow’s Buchanan Street subway station as an entry point for the project, exploring its connection to the people of Glasgow in the space by listening to and processing sound.

The project itself is about reconstructing people’s impressions of architectural sound through speculative thinking. As urban sound is everywhere and unavoidable, I would like to contribute to the discussion of sound improvement and the possibility of co-defining a “more favourable future”.



I went to the field to experience the sounds and the feelings that form inside the subway station. I recorded the site where the main sounds occurred, and during the recording process I realized that the sounds emanating from the site were actually very diverse, ranging from the natural sounds of wind coming out of caves and water falling down to the industrial sounds of metal rails clashing and the sounds of manually operated equipment inside the subway. These sounds have a pleasant timbre and are supposed to make a wonderful impression of the subway station, but why do I have a negative impression of the station? I tried to find out the reason.

I mapped the music scores for the Buchanan Street underground station. I recorded the playing times and patterns of the underground station’s sounds in a way that allowed for all of the multiple elements in the space to be framed within the score. From this, I discovered the singularity of the pattern of the score. It does not have shifts in sound or transformation of elements; all the sounds play mechanically in turn, thus creating aural fatigue.



I wondered if it would be possible to use the Dasmacus piano piece as a structural basis for transforming subway music. Firstly, I divided the subway into four sections according to the location of the sounds produced in the subway, forming a set of completed narrative plots, reflecting the whole process of entering the subway station, buying a ticket, descending the stairs, and entering the subway.


When I finished the preliminary research mentioned above, I began to think about the relationship between sound design itself and human beings and architecture. I follow Bernhard Leitner, an artist whose work focuses on sound architecture and sound space installations.

My aim is to use wearable space as a medium to let people experience the architectural music of the Buchanan Street subway station. When sound is expressed through the medium of the wearable and the participation of the participant, a spatial experience is formed for the participant himself. This experience is a combination of the visual structure, the movement of consciousness and the invisible auditory senses of the participant.




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