A baby giggling. Leaves rustling in a warm summer’s breeze. A classical concerto.
All are delightful sounds, to be sure. But a recent Internet competition gave the designation of “most beautiful sound in the world” not to any of those, but to a recording of…a Malaysian swamp.
The competition was run through the U.K.-based Sound Agency and Beautiful Now, a site founded by Shira White where “people with a passion for beauty could discover, create and share beauty in all aspects of life.”
Sound Agency expert Julian Treasure described the winning sound to CBC Radio as “the most amazing, rich recording of just life, teaming life.” He later called it “a symphony of life just expressing itself.”
The swamp sound, titled “Dusk by the Frog Pond,” was recorded by Marc Anderson with Wild Ambience. Perception of a sound and beauty are subjective, so take a listen and see if you think it’s the most beautiful sound in the world:
In an interview with Treasure, Anderson said he came upon the swamp on a Malaysian island in the late afternoon. Anderson, a professional sound recorder and photographer, said what he likes about sound is that it captures a feeling that an image cannot.
“With sound you…you can’t fake it. It really has that evocative power to transport you somewhere,” said Anderson, who uses omnidirectional microphones to capture his recordings.
Listen to Anderson talk with Treasure about the swamp sounds:
This recording was chosen from hundreds of entries narrowed down to 12 finalists. Final judges included Treasure with the Sound Agency, White with Beautiful Now and and sound recording artist Bernie Krause.