We Remember The Sound Of Our Keys


People are able to distinguish between songs through earworms. However, there’s also a whole world of sounds and soundscapes we are exposed to on a daily basis. In Murray Schafer’s A Sound Education, he explores these every day sounds through 100 exploratory exercises.


I had the pleasure of meeting Schafer in my third year of University. Our class delved into a few of these personally with Schafer. The most memorable was this particular exercise involving keys. A group of five people put their keys into a pile. Schafer then jingled all of the keys behind their backs and asked the participants to identify their own. Everybody had the right keys.

The sound of our keys is not something we really think about but we hold them every day, listen to them jingle in our bags and pockets as we look for them and open our doors. Personally, my keys are pretty boring. I don’t own a car or a bike so I only have one key on my chain with a Dine Alone beer opener and a Johnny Cupcakes oven mitt. Instead of nice jingling, I hear simple clanking.

What do your keys sound like? I dare you to try this exercise with a few of your friends and I’m sure they will guess the right keys!

Side note: This book  seems to be hard to find, so if any of my Toronto friends want to borrow this I have a hard copy!

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