Q

How Field Music captured sounds from the First World War armistice in song

At the end of the First World War, the armistice was called and the fighting stopped. The moment was actually recorded using a method called sound ranging — a kind of graphic representation of sound waves.
Field Music listen to audio at IWM London that re-imagines what the end of the First World War may have sounded like. (© IWM)
Listen7:48

When you try to wrap your head around big news events or chapters in history, it's usually easier to bring yourself back to that point in time if you can watch or hear what went on. 

At the end of the First World War, on Nov. 11, 1918, the armistice was called and the fighting stopped. The sound of guns going silent on the front lines was actually recorded with microphones and captured using a method called sound ranging — a kind of graphic representation of sound waves.

Photograph of the record by sound ranging of artillery activity on the American front near the River Moselle for one minute before and one minute after the Armistice at 11 a.m. on 11th November 1918. (© IWM)

To honour the centenary, the band Field Music teamed up with the Imperial War Museum in the U.K. to make and perform music inspired by that sound ranging document. David Brewis of Field Music tells us more about sound ranging and why they wanted to capture echoes from the First World War in song.

Field Music viewing a document from IWM’s collections. The document depicts a graphic record that shows the moment that the First World War ended. (© IWM)

Field Music will be performing their First World War-inspired songs tomorrow night at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Produced by Ben Edwards

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