Soak In The Sounds Of A River With This Composer’s Sound Maps

Composer Annea Lockwood uses stereo microphones and underwater hydrophones to create detailed “river maps.”

a headshot of a woman with short gray hair and glasses smiling and looking upward
Composer and sound artist Annea Lockwood. Credit: Julia Dratel

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Annea Lockwood thinks of rivers as “live phenomena” that are constantly changing and shifting. She’s been drawn to the energy that rivers create, and the sound that energy makes, since she first started working with environmental recordings in the 1960s.

One of her projects has been to create detailed “river maps” of the Hudson, Danube, and Housatonic rivers. Using stereo microphones and underwater hydrophones, she captures the gentle, powerful sounds of the water, along with the noises of insects, birds, and occasional humans she finds along the way.

Lockwood’s 2010 composition, “A Sound Map of the Housatonic River”, takes listeners on a 150-mile tour, from the headwaters in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, past sites of toxic PCB contamination, to the Connecticut Audubon sanctuary, where the river spills into Long Island Sound. You can also hear an excerpt of the full composition at Annea Lockwood’s music portfolio.

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the theme music. Charles Bergquist and John Dankosky provided production assistance. The original segment was produced by John Dankosky, and hosted by Ira Flatow. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

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Meet the Writer

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

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