Can You Hear Snow?

Can_You_Hear_Snow_PitStop_1.jpgIf you've been lucky enough to have your life graced by magical falling snow, you may have taken a stroll on the city streets for a late night hot cocoa and noticed how quiet the city seemed. Is this an illusion or does snow really pad the sound of the streets?

Have you ever listened closely and heard the crunch of your own footsteps? The effect of snow is almost that of what echoes around it, that of how it interacts with the world, rather than the snow itself. The way that fresh snow creates a blanket all around the world and seems to quiet the bustling of a city. The Washington Post chimes in with “What you hear, you will remember years later: snow falling off a branch and slapping the snow below, and later, snow melted and dripping from the gutter. You will remember the crunch of boots on crusty snow, the squeak if the snow is hard-packed, the stomp as you come into the house through the back door.”

The sounds of a snowy setting can invoke a particular cozy warmth that you really can’t get from any other environment. Sometimes it’s not even the snow itself but the hot cocoa, the glow of the fireplace and the heated blankets that can bring about a unique type of beauty into the mind of the creator.

Interestingly enough, The Washington Post clues us in on some science and research as “Physicists say humans cannot hear falling snow; the pitch is too high. Other creatures can, like wolves and bats, which may be why right before a snowfall in the country, they seem to disappear into shelter. Fish may hate snow because snowflakes are full of air that when hitting water, makes a noise that to marine life "sounds like a freight train," says Lawrence Crum, a physicist at the University of Washington. But human beings? When you think you're hearing snow falling, you're probably hearing the wind, scientists say. Or if there isn't any wind, perhaps you're hearing the sound of your own heartbeat or breath.”

So, some may say the sound of snow is up for debate, but one thing seems to be unanimous across the board - the inspiration of snow is one that has been the muse of many over the decades. The sounds of a snowy setting can invoke a particular cozy warmth that you really can’t get from any other environment. 

When it comes to those who have used the snow as their creative spark, composers are notorious for drawing from the atmospheres around them. One of these stories is featured in Rimsky Korsakov’s opera known as “The Snow Maiden”. It's a Russian folk tale of tragedy. The Snow Maiden, the daughter of Grandfather Frost and Spring Beauty, begs to be freed from her icy upbringing with her parents and join humans in a nearby village.”

No matter what the science of snow is, we can all agree that falling snow is much like falling in love. It’s that floaty feeling that you just can’t put a name on.