Psithurism is the best ism
November 20, 2016 1:34 AM   Subscribe

Psithurism is the sound of rustling leaves, or the sound of wind passing through a group of trees. For example, spend ten hours listening to the woods of Pennsylvania, or an hour listening to the golden aspen forests of Arizona. Caution! Forest and wood recordings often include bird, animal and other natural sounds, may be relaxing and distracting from the human world.
posted by Wordshore (31 comments total) 131 users marked this as a favorite
 
aka "rausch" :

there is a lot of drunkenness in the first part, but as a Rauscher I was told our name means the sound of the wind in the trees, which is in the second definition stated there.

a rustling, soft murmur of the wind in the trees. the flow of spirit in the universe that tends to go unnoticed.

"Ich haBe einen rausch!" is a phrase I have heard that means "I have a buzz!" as in "I hear the background static of our existence!" this is a lesser used phrase in German compared to "Ich bin betrunken" (I am drunk)

does anyone hear when a tree falls in the forest - Yes! that was me!
posted by gkr at 2:14 AM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


oh yes! the rustling of the wind in the trees!

I think I will listen to this all day tomorrow whilst I program.

thank you!
posted by gkr at 2:19 AM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Lovely.

Some days we get this in the Green Mountains. I really hope we don't have to move away (for bandwidth).
posted by doctornemo at 2:32 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Leafrustle, rainpatter, and wavesough are my three favourite noises. If I could live in a wood on the shore while it rained, I would be quite happy.
posted by Emma May Smith at 2:52 AM on November 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


If I could live in a wood on the shore while it rained, I would be quite happy.

camping on the Pacific coast of the Olympic Peninsula in winter might give you that (where leafrustle is more like pinebrush)
posted by kokaku at 3:01 AM on November 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is great, for when it's too cold to open my window. (living in Pennsylvania woods, with my pet deer)
posted by Goofyy at 3:37 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


how appropriate that Wordshore's epic political posts were followed by this.

last night, as darkness took over, fall's leaves were replaced by sleet on the roof.... Winter is coming.
posted by HuronBob at 4:14 AM on November 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


So lovely... I'm actually getting chills. Thank you!
posted by mochapickle at 5:09 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love this, thanks. A tree outback, Aspen I think, is a favorite shade spot and I remarked how the tree seemed to cool the air and made this breathing/leafy rustle sound like a natural air conditioner.

This is ASMR for Ents.
posted by clavdivs at 5:18 AM on November 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm out in the middle of crown land and love the noise of the forest, especially when the wind is catching just the tops of the trees. My middle child, however, associates the noise with slenderman : (
posted by saucysault at 5:50 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The forest video was relaxing until 0:38 when the tree in the middle of the shot clearly had human eyes which seemed to be staring at me with a mixture of sadness and disappointment.

I am perhaps doing this wrong.
posted by motty at 6:22 AM on November 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


UPDATE: *all* these trees seem to have eyes.

Perhaps you are not supposed to watch the video as such.
posted by motty at 6:26 AM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]




What do you call a man with leaves in his pockets?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Russell!
posted by carter at 8:36 AM on November 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


This is great. If you find this relaxing you should check MyNoise out, which has a lot of noise generators based on forests.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:11 AM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I was watching a Lithuanian movie last night, The Summer of Sangailé, which has lovely psithurism, and I was thinking about how soothing that was and how I wanted more of it in my life. Twin Peaks makes great use of this too. Thanks for putting words to something I recently realized I love!
posted by limeonaire at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's raining here. The patter of the raindrops on the roof, with occasional musical notes from when they hit a metal vent just right. The hiss and whoosh of cars on the freeway across the street makes it sound like we're at the beach. Sounds of a beautiful day.
posted by rtha at 9:53 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I read about a Laplander/Sami who'd only known the Arctic as his home; when he spent some time on the Eastern Seaboard of N. America, he found this sound the most wonderful thing in the world!
posted by kozad at 9:58 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


> aka "rausch"

In current German 'Rausch' as a noun has only the first meaning (as in 'rush' or 'high'). The word you're looking for is 'Rauschen', which means rustle or murmur, but it's not really specific to leaves.

'Ich habe einen Rausch' is Bavarian for 'I am drunk' (more than buzzed).

'Rauscher' as a last name might refer to the sound, probably not to being drunk, but I think more likely it derives from some local or archaic use, (e.g. 'new wine/cider'). Also, I think there are some towns called Rausch or Rauschen, so it could also mean 'person from Rauschen'.
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 10:12 AM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh right, I remembered the other term for this: susurrus.
posted by limeonaire at 10:45 AM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


If you are somewhere less wooded and the noise is mainly the chirping of insects, the word is "fritinancy", which is almost as pretty as psithurism, and a lot easier to pronounce.
posted by Fuchsoid at 3:11 PM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


…the simple susurration that so eloquently grieves
From the leaves, leaves, leaves, leaves,
Leaves, leaves, leaves—
From the sigh and psithurism of the leaves.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:34 PM on November 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I read about a Laplander/Sami who'd only known the Arctic as his home

Seems a bit impractical to have to go to the US to find some trees, given how much forest there is in the Nordic countries, also in traditional Sápmi regions ("forest Sami" is a thing, even if it's mostly historical).
posted by effbot at 3:45 PM on November 20, 2016


The timing on this post is so perfect. Just this weekend I was at a retreat center. Yesterday afternoon I took a walk by myself in the woods. After walking for 20 minutes or so I stopped walking and just listened. I closed my eyes. All I heard was the sound of the wind in the trees, and a little birdsong.

I've struggled with insomnia for years and I've been experimenting with different kinds of music to help myself fall asleep; but as I stood there on the trail, no other human being in sight, that sound of the wind in the trees was the most relaxing and soothing sound I could imagine. I clicked on the first link of this post when I was lying in bed, resting, and within ten minutes I fell sound asleep.

I would really like to live in the woods some day - to have a little house with a front porch where I could sit with a blanket and some tea and just listen to the sound of the wind in the leaves.
posted by southern_sky at 6:26 PM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another film to listen to for the nature audio is 'The New World' by Terrence Malick. The quiet scenes where the actors don't talk sound rather complex, (I can't say how much is processed, but I'm guessing a fair bit is;)
posted by ovvl at 6:31 PM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Great Animal Orchestra by Bernie Krause is worth a listen in related soundscapes.
posted by ovvl at 6:44 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seems a bit impractical to have to go to the US to find some trees, given how much forest there is in the Nordic countries, also in traditional Sápmi regions ("forest Sami" is a thing, even if it's mostly historical).

(Well, effbot, you're right, impractical...but this was just a matter of circumstance. The guy happened to be invited to a conference in Eastern Canada about indigenous rights. Like most people in the world [aside from us generally more cosmopolitan MetaFites], he hadn't been more than a hundred miles from his home before, and his homeland in the Arctic region was far from the forested Nordic regions.)
posted by kozad at 10:03 PM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Glad you mentioned Bernie Kraus. He's been into nature field recordings for a long time. See WildSanctuary.com for more info.
posted by Rash at 7:46 AM on November 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


After the voices of loved ones, this is my favorite sound.
posted by newdaddy at 8:48 AM on November 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Pennsylvania woods video had a "Deals in $STORE!!!" *bright blinky lights* ad for me at the beginning. Thankfully, it was one of the ones you could skip through after five seconds and the video doesn't seem to have the markers that indicate interim ads. But I still thought that was symbolic. Of something of other, I've no doubt.

Thanks, Wordshore. This may be how I finally finish this report I'm working on.
posted by seyirci at 11:01 AM on November 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I lived in a yurt in the redwoods for a while. What's missing from even the best recordings is the way a breeze is first heard way down the valley in the distant woods, coming closer and closer until the trees all around join in.
posted by anadem at 7:17 PM on November 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


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