Archaeology Of The Ear: Listening to Historic Places

Archaeology Of The Ear: Listening to Historic Places

A series of music & history documentaries by Chris Cundy

Scheduled for broadcast on Resonance 104.4FM

Archaeology Of The Ear is a five-part series of hour length listening programmes exploring historic places and artefacts that have sonorous or musical stories to tell. Created by musician and composer Chris Cundy each programme involves a series of interviews with a range of historians, crafts people, subject experts, musicians, performers and songwriters.

There are three episodes, each an hour in length, that focus on Gloucester Cathedral and explore aspects of its unusual history with particular interest in the whispering gallery and great east window.

Chris Cundy:

"Funded by Arts Council England and Help Musicians, this project is the result of a long period of research and practical work involving interviews and field recordings made with Gloucester Cathedral Archivist Rebecca Phillips in early 2020."

Rebecca Phillips, Cathedral Archivist:

“I was delighted to be able to share a small part of our archive with Chris.  We delved into the origins of the story of how the Great East Window survived the Second World War and the mystery of the whispering gallery.  Chris and I use the Tribune gallery to get up close and face to face with the window, and the mysterious whispering gallery to hear sounds from a distance.  The use of music and sound and the words from the historical documents adds a different perspective to the documents that I handle every day.”

Each broadcast will be available to listen to online / live streamed here:

Once an episode has been broadcast live it will be uploaded to mixcloud so listeners will be able to access and listen again at any time here:



Tues 19th October 6:30pm / repeated Sun 24th October 10:00am

In this episode we hear from Cambridgeshire beekeeper and sound recordist Richard Youell about his experiences of listening to bees, and we also contemplate the ancient cave paintings of the Iberian peninsula which show the very earliest depiction of a swarm. We hear how bees have inspired popular music from banjo player Baby Copperhead plus there’s a polyphonic setting by viola player Benedict Taylor.

Narratives are read by Canadian singer Ladan Hussein (aka Cold Specks) and Mike Ward of the electronic music group Longstone.



Tues 26th October 6:30pm / repeated Sun 31st October 10:00am

In this episode Chris Cundy looks at an illustration of a speaking tree that changes sex from male to female during the night in the pages of the Shahnameh, the ancient Persian Book of Kings. We also talk to musician, songwriter and former tree surgeon Baby Dee about her relationship to trees and their recurring theme in her own songwriting. Plus singer and songwriter Ladan Hussein (aka Cold Specks) reads a short text describing the magnetic sound of trees.



Tues 2nd November 6:30pm / repeated Sun 7th November 10:00am

In this episode Chris Cundy goes to Gloucester Cathedral in the South West of England and meets up with archivist Rebecca Phillips. We follow a story of a postcard that solved a puzzle of how to put a 72ft high window back together after it had been taken apart during the Second World War. Political campaigner and photo montage artist Peter Kennard talks about the social currency of postcards, and singer, improviser and performance artist Anna Homler divulges about her fascination with all things small and postcard sized.



Tues 9th November 6:30pm / repeated Sun 14th November 10:00am

In this episode Chris Cundy meets up with pioneering composer and sound artist Annea Lockwood to talk about her innovative work with glass during the 1960’s, and we return to Gloucester Cathedral to look at a breathtaking example of medieval painted glass work. We also visit stained glass expert Leonie Seliger at her studio in Canterbury, and we hear from late medieval historian Dr Helen Lacey about how the window conceals a clue about one of the most tumultuous events in English history.

Including narratives read by the poet and writer Adam Horovitz.



Tues 16th November 6:30pm / repeated Sun 21st November 10:00am

Accompanied by archivist Rebecca Phillips, Chris Cundy returns to Gloucester Cathedral in the South West of England to look for a whispering gallery hidden amongst its labyrinth of medieval staircases and passageways. We follow a story about how the unusual acoustics of the whispering gallery inspired Daphne Oram’s vision behind the BBC Radiophonic Workshop established in the 1950’s to popularise electronic music.

Featuring narratives read by Ladan Hussein (aka Cold Specks) and Adam Horovitz.


Original music is composed by Chris Cundy and features an ensemble including Heather Roche, Rhodri Davies, Dominic Lash, Mark Sanders, Marjolaine Charbin, and Angharad Davies.

Additional music has been recorded in collaboration with Longstone and Eventless Plot.

Supported by Help Musicians Fusion Fund and Arts Council England





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