Spooky Radio

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Halloween weekend, and time for some scary radio stories. Foley artist Muttt Le Dogg and artistic director Andy Donald are with the Naked Angels theater company. They share some of the stories (and sounds!) from the Naked Radio dramas.


Muttt Le Dogg and Andy Donald
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Comments [30]

Dale Charkow

Heard the notes on the radio this morning and got a chill. They are definitely the opening notes of the original Star Trek theme.

Oct. 30 2009 02:45 PM
stanley dorn from g village

Just read #25. It is in fact not the tritone, but rather a minor 7th.

Oct. 30 2009 12:16 PM
stanley dorn from g village

The sound on the #2 train is, I think, the sound of the breaks releasing, not a turn, for two reasons - it happens on the uptown at 14th st which has no turns and even at other stations it has the same relative pitches. As played today, the pitches are the 4th, 7th and 13th partials (Harmonics)above the F sharp below middle C (F sharp, E, D sharp). Partials or "harmonics" are sounds higher than the "fundamental" or principal tone and are produced by every vibrating body. Often in strings and always in brass, the fundamental itself is suppressed to allow the harmonic to be heard. I suspect that the fundamental on the #2 train is low enough to be lost in the general din.

Oct. 30 2009 12:12 PM
bk from les

Whenever I hear that 6 train squeal at Union Square, I find myself humming the beginning of Radiohead's "Sit Down, Stand Up."

Oct. 30 2009 12:07 PM
Chris Tarry from Brooklyn

If you take all the notes.. (not just the first three) but the additional tones heard near the end, it's the little tune that Gizmo hums from the movie Gremlins.

Oct. 30 2009 12:04 PM
Mike C. from Tribeca

The John Barry tune I was thinking of of is "Give Me A Smile." You can hear a sample at the Amazon John Barry "The Beyondness of Things" page. To this hopefully not tin ear, the first notes are exactly the same!

Oct. 30 2009 11:57 AM
David Keller from Brooklyn

It's called a tri-tone or diabolus en musica (the subway sound). It was at one point banned by the Catholic church. I'd like to see the MTA banned come to think of it

Oct. 30 2009 11:55 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

Regarding your segment on that distinctive sound of the trains, the British composer John Barry (of James Bond and Dances With Wolves, Out of Africa), who lives on Long Island, has a tune on his most recent cd "The Beyondness of Things" that appears to incorporate it. I'll try and look it up this weekend and let you know the name of the composition.

Oct. 30 2009 11:54 AM
Cheryl from nyc

Not "Somehere", but maybe "Bali Hai" from South Pacific?

Oct. 30 2009 11:54 AM
anonymous from manhattan

it is that song, "there's a place for us..." and it drives me CRAZY! i end up with that song stuck in my head, and i hear it as sung by a mouse from some children's cartoon, it's awful. really really very much dislike that sound and have wished many many times that it could be repaired/changed/obliterated...

Oct. 30 2009 11:52 AM
Tim Key from Tribeca

Those subway wheels squeaking as some trains leave a station sound like the opening notes to 'There's a place for us, / Somewhere a place for us' from West Side Story to me.

Oct. 30 2009 11:08 AM
Louise from UWS

I always thought of 'Lara's Theme' from Dr. Zhivago when those particular train lines were moving out of the station.

Oct. 30 2009 11:04 AM
Kiel from Brooklyn

To further comment on what the caller said about the sound of the 4,5,6 train leaving the station... I always thought that the first 3 notes sounded like the first 3 notes of "Somewhere" from the musical West Side Story. But only the first 3 notes the 4th note goes way up and sounds a little irritating. Anyone else think this?

Oct. 30 2009 11:04 AM
Susanna from midtown

The best thing about those subway screeches just described on air is that they are the first 3 notes of "There's a place for us" from West Side Story.

Oct. 30 2009 11:02 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I guess we who hear "Somewhere" (I forgot the name of the song in my first post) win.

Hey RCT, re MetroNorth trains... the sound must also mean you are going to work!

Oct. 30 2009 11:02 AM
Susan from brooklyn

Those high-pitched tones which emanate from the newer subway cars as they leave many stations sound to me like the first three notes from the song "Somewhere" from West Side Story . . .

"There's a place . . . (for us)"

Listen and see if you can hear it!

Oct. 30 2009 11:01 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

The 2 train sound when it leaves the station --There's a place for us -- from West Side Story.

Oct. 30 2009 10:59 AM
Timothy Stevens from Bed-Stuy

As for the train sound a caller referenced, you can also hear it when the F trains depart Delancey. It coincidentally strikes 5 notes of the opening for the theme used on Television show "Little House on the Prairie" years ago.

Not particularly frightening, at least in the context being discussed.



Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The train sound always reminds me of the opening of "A Place for Us" (sorry, Brian, but the 2nd note is a half-tone too high for "NBC" & the 3rd is an entire major third too high).

Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM
jerry from New Rochelle

The subway sound is a quotation of West Side Story, the opening notes of "There's a place for us"

That's what it sounds like to me anyway.

Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM
carol markel from Manhattan

The sound on the subway is the first few notes of "There's a Place for Me," from West Side Story.

Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM

Re: Subway sound. If its the same thing, some people say it sounds like the opening to "There's a place we belong" from West Side Story, and its caused by the equipment on the train that converts all the power from the track

Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM
Darrell Perry from 34th st nyc (home)

That sound on the IRT 6 train at 14th street has been found to be the first tones of "Somewhere" from West Side Story. I think the Times did a story on it.

Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM
Brigid from Astoria

There was an article in the New Yorker several months ago about the sound some of the subway cars make when leaving the station -- they said it sounds like the opening bars from one of the songs from West Side Story... now that's all I hear!

Oct. 30 2009 10:58 AM
JG from NYC

The pitch intervals on the subway are the same as the beginning of Bernstein's "Somewhere". "There's a place..."

Oct. 30 2009 10:57 AM
Teresa from New York


Oct. 30 2009 10:57 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

[Hey, it didn't take 20 minutes to get onto the show page and then the comments page today! Congratulations!]

That sound that some of the newer IRT subway cars make... to me it ALWAYS sounds like the opening notes of Bernstein's "There's A Place For Us" from West Side Story. The sound from the cars, never fails to bring that song to mind for me.

Oct. 30 2009 10:57 AM
RCT from NYC

You guys are not suburbanites -- that "new train" noise is the same one made by all newer Metro North trains. I don't mind it; it means that the train is leaving the station and I am going h-o-m-e.

Oct. 30 2009 10:57 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

I'd like to hear about microphones and micing techniques for sounds

Oct. 30 2009 10:54 AM
csh from NJ

A sound suggestion: a heart being ripped juicily out of a chest.


Oct. 30 2009 10:52 AM

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