Noise: A Human History

Series produced by Matt Thompson

Caption: Orkney, Scotland
Orkney, Scotland 

A 30-part series commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio that explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. In collaboration with the British Library Sound Archive. Book of series published in USA October 15th 2013. Also available as 6 x 59.00 omnibus editions.

What if history had a sound track? What would it tell us about ourselves? This thirty-part BBC Radio series explores the human dramas that have revolved around sound at various points in the last 100,000 years, allowing us to think in fresh ways about the meaning of our collective past.

In this, the first narrative history of sound and listening that puts humans at its center, acclaimed historian David Hendy reveals the fascinating changes in how we have understood both our fellow humans and the world around us.

Recorded on location around the world and featuring treasures from the British Library's Sound Archive, it takes us from prehistory to the present, encompassing the shamanistic music of our cave-dwelling ancestors, the babel of ancient Rome, the massacre of noisy cats in pre-revolutionary Paris, the nerve-destroying din of trench warfare, right through to the cacophony of the modern metropolis.

David Hendy talks eloquently about the series on WNYC's Soundcheck 2 minutes into this programme:

http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/2013/apr/30/human-noise/ Hide full description

What if history had a sound track? What would it tell us about ourselves? This thirty-part BBC Radio series explores the human dramas that have revolved around sound at various points in the last 100,000 years, allowing us to think in fresh ways about the meaning of our collective past.In this, the first narrative history of sound and listening that puts humans at its center, acclaimed historian David Hendy reveals the fascinating changes in how we have understood both our fellow humans and the world around us.Recorded on location around the world and featuring treasures from the British Library's Sound Archive, it takes us from prehistory to the present, encompassing the shamanistic music of our cave-dwelling ancestors, the babel of ancient Rome, the massacre of noisy cats in... Show full description


Additional Files

36 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Piece image
This major series was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio. It explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. It w...

Bought by Radio New Zealand and WRPI


  • Added: Oct 08, 2013
  • Length: 58:54
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Walden Pond
This major series was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio. It explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. It w...

Bought by WRPI, Radio New Zealand, and WRPI


  • Added: Oct 08, 2013
  • Length: 58:58
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
This major series was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio. It explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. It w...

Bought by Radio New Zealand and WRPI


  • Added: Oct 08, 2013
  • Length: 58:56
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
This major series was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio. It explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. It w...

Bought by WRPI, Radio New Zealand, and WRPI


  • Added: Oct 08, 2013
  • Length: 58:49
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
This major series was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio. It explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. It w...

Bought by WRPI, Radio New Zealand, and WRPI


  • Added: Oct 08, 2013
  • Length: 58:56
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Iegor Reznikoff illuminates red oche dots made 30,000 years ago
This major series was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio. It explores how our interactions with sound have shaped us over 100,000 years. It w...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN, WRPI, Radio New Zealand, and WRPI


  • Added: Oct 08, 2013
  • Length: 58:57
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Matthew Herbert
Matthew Herbert who is most famous for his album 'One Pig' retells the story of the Noise: A Human History series using only the sounds themselves....

Bought by KFAI and KFAI


  • Added: Sep 13, 2013
  • Length: 14:59
  • Purchases: 2
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Professor David Hendy considers the modern quest for quiet in episode thirty of Noise: A Human History, 'The Search for Silence'.

Bought by KFAI, KFAI, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:36
  • Purchases: 3
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David Hendy on the sounds of revolution and war in episode twenty-nine of Noise: A Human History, ‘An Ever Noisier World'.

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:47
  • Purchases: 2
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How music can make us work, rest and play - episode twenty-eight of Noise: A Human History, 'Music While You Shop, Music While You Work'.

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:52
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Assistant producer Cathy FitzGerald on location in Flanders, France.
Soldiers in WW1 experienced a sonic onslaught. Professor David Hendy considers life under bombardment in episode twenty-six of Noise: A Human Histo...

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:42
  • Purchases: 2
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How recording technology made it possible to catch the fugitive moment. Episode twenty-five of Noise: A Human History, Capturing Sound'

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Nov 20, 2013
  • Length: 14:47
  • Purchases: 2
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David Hendy on the comforts and irritations of next-door's noise. Episode twenty-four of Noise: A Human History, ‘Life in the City'.

Bought by KFAI


  • Added: Nov 20, 2013
  • Length: 14:45
  • Purchases: 1
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How the Victorians learned to listen all over again. Episode twenty-three of Noise: A Human History, 'The New Art of Listening'.

Bought by KALW and KFAI


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:41
  • Purchases: 2
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David Hendy on medicine’s listening revolution - episode twenty-two of Noise: A Human History, ‘The Beat of a Heart, the Tramp of a Fly'.

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:45
  • Purchases: 2
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The sounds of nature give way before the coming of the industrial din. Episode twenty-one of Noise: A Human History, ‘The Conquering Engines: Indus...

Bought by KFAI


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:25
  • Purchases: 1
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David Hendy considers the soundscape of civil conflict in 18th century Paris and 19th century America in episode twenty of Noise: A Human History, ...

Bought by KFAI and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:46
  • Purchases: 2
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From Ghana's Gate of No Return to the Carolina plantations - David Hendy explores the soundscape of slavery in episode nineteen of Noise: A Human H...

Bought by KFAI


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:46
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
David Hendy eavesdrops with the servants in episode eighteen of Noise: A Human History, 'Master and Servant'.

Bought by KFAI


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:42
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
David Hendy explains how cramped conditions led to a brutal massacre of cats in episode seventeen of Noise: A Human History, 'Shutting In'.

Bought by KFAI


  • Added: Sep 17, 2013
  • Length: 14:40
  • Purchases: 1