Lyrical picture of nature vol VI - The Song of the Ice

by Lauri Hallikainen



Although it is inanimate, ice can produce a variety of subtle sounds, some loud, some barely discernible. It is very challenging to record these sounds because of several reasons. For example, the microphones are not intended to be outside in freezing temperatures for long periods of time and there is no way to protect them from the cold. Ice can make many different levels of sounds; some are loud, others are extremely quiet which means that it is problematic to make good quality recordings. The siting of the microphones is also crucial. In fact it is very rare to hear the sounds of the ice; the conditions have to be just correct in order that these sounds can be created and these optimal conditions do not occur every year.

The soundtracks on this publication have all been recorded by the lakeside or in woodlands near to the shoreline. Track nine is an exception, it was recorded on the ice itself about 30 metres from the shore. It is believed that this present publication is the very first recording made anywhere in the world of the sounds created by natural ice.

The publication of this recording was made possible by a grant from the Friends of Kuopio Nature (Kuopion Luonnon Ystäväin Yhdistys ry). In addition, I would like to acknowledge all of the people who have helped or contributed to the creation of this work. I express my special thanks to my wife, Maarit. She has listened patiently to all of these soundtracks and given valuable feedback at the various stages of the production. I dedicate this recording to all the individuals who have published sound material or soundscapes from the natural world (on either vinyl or CD) – your efforts have opened new perspectives for me and encouraged me to overcome the problems encountered.

Kuopio 9.7.2015
Lauri Hallikainen
Producer / Recording engineer

The sounds of ice originate when it is very cold and the ice starts to contract so that cracks and crevices appear on its surface. The thinner the ice, the higher will be the sound, thick ice makes a much deeper sound. The depth of snow cover also influences the audibility and tones of the ice sounds. Changes in the atmospheric pressure also exert an effect since the ice responds to these changes by cracking and it this phenomenon which produces the sound.

The wind can hasten the formation of ice. This happens when the wind starts to blow from the north and the icy Arctic blasts displace warmer air. This kind of northerly wind can start the process of ice formation which is accompanied by a characteristic crackling sound (track 8).

Ice starts to form when the water temperature falls to 0°C. The salinity of the water influences its freezing temperature. All of the tracks on this recording originate from salt-free lake water. Ice will not form if some parts of the water are warmer than others, it is essential that there is a wide expanse of water at about five degrees with no fluctuations in temperature.


released July 9, 2015



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Lauri Hallikainen Kuopio, Finland

I live in Eastern Finland, in an area which contains a large number of quiet sites, perfect for recording nature. I've been making nature recordings for over 20 years.

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