miscellaneous slide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Is That Sound?

by Greg Crowther


Context

This short song about localizing sounds in space was written for Biology 220 at the University of Washington. The brain has two complementary means of determining a sound's left-to-right position: the "intensity pathway" through the LSO, and the "time pathway" through the MSO. Input to the ear closer to the sound should be louder than input to the other ear (intensity pathway), and input to the closer ear should be received earlier than input to the other ear (time pathway).

Though it takes a bit of extra work, this song is fun to sing in parts (e.g., "is that sound?" and "can be found?" can be echoed by the students) as a way of playing with the concept of sound localization.


Lyrics

Whe-he-he-here is that sound (is that sound)?
Whe-he-here can it be found (can be found)?

Is it to the left? Or is it to the right?
The LSO and MSO compare binaural spikes!
Tell me,

Whe-he-he-here is that sound (is that sound)?
Whe-he-here can it be found (can be found)?

Comparing left and right reveals the side the sound is on.
This happens in the brainstem -- more precisely, in the pons!
Tell me,

Whe-he-he-here is that sound (is that sound)?
Whe-he-here can it be found (can be found)?
Whe-he-he-here is that sound?


Other Files

MP3 (demo)

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using the audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity should begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) What are the LSO and MSO?

(2) What does binaural mean?

(3) What are spikes, in this context?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)