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The Soundtrack of Australia

A stunning sonic and visual odyssey exploring how sound is made, what messages it carries and how humans are harnessing its power.

  • The Soundtrack of Australia | Copyright: © ABC Commercial

    The Soundtrack of Australia © ABC Commercial

  • The Soundtrack of Australia - Dr Ann Jones | Copyright: © ABC Commercial

    The Soundtrack of Australia - Dr Ann Jones © ABC Commercial

Australia is a stunning country, but we seldom tune in our ears to how it sounds. Inspired by the Golden Record — Earth's cosmic calling card launched into space by NASA in 1977 – Dr Ann Jones goes on an ambitious journey across the country to create her own golden record of Australian sounds.

Over two parts, this fascinating program explores how sound is made, what messages it carries and how humans are harnessing its power.

There are the sounds we can hear: tiny cicadas that can produce sounds above 100dB, equivalent to standing next to a jack hammer; the unmistakable sound of the Didgeridoo; Lyrebirds and their astonishing ability to mimic other noises; chanting at sports matches; and First Nations Songlines that can help boost memory.

And sounds we can’t hear: infrasound radiating out from a nuclear blast; bat species carving out an extraordinary evolutionary niche; ultrasounds revealing glimpses of unborn babies, Pygmy Blue whales that make one of the lowest sounds on earth; eerie sounds from distant galaxies; and whip-cracking sounds that can create shockwaves.

Dr Jones doesn’t just want to collect sounds though; she wants to understand how they are made. Renowned beatboxer Tom Thum helps to demonstrate resonance and frequency. Combining his vocal gymnastics with cymatics allows us to visualise the physics of sound.

The Soundtrack of Australia culminates with Dr Jones playing her version of the golden record.

Production Company Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Genre Factual
Duration 2 x 60'

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