You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Soundtrack

The ‘ping’ from Cambridge’s trackless trolleys

Electrical wires produce a cold, metallic sound.

> To listen, go to bostonglobe.com/soundtrack. “The sound,” reader David O’Connor tells me, “will make you shiver.” Not in a Blair Witch kind of way, in a cold kind of way. He’s talking about the metallic ping you hear from those elevated electrical wires in Cambridge when the T’s trackless trolleys glide by. You know — the buses that look like marionettes, tethered to their masters. I knew instantly what O’Connor was referring to, but it’s always fascinating to learn how people associate sounds with different things. For O’Connor, now of Bourne, the noise stirs memories of frigid winter nights decades ago, when he lived in Huron Village. As the No. 72 bus came down a hill on Huron Avenue, he says, the wires sometimes twanged like an out-of-tune guitar; on other occasions, the tone resembled “a lightly struck wine glass.” The colder it was, the sharper the sound. “For me, it was part of the texture of winter,” he says. When I went out to Huron and to Harvard Square on a recent day to hear it, I was reminded, also, of a laser gun in a video game or film. The sound, thin and linear, began one place and ended up another.

Continue reading it below

WHAT SOUNDS ARE UNIQUE TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?Send ideas to shelman@globe.com or via Twitter @swhelman.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.