Emergency department sounds inspire instrumental music – Swansea Bay News
A medical student was inspired by the sounds of the emergency department at Morriston Hospital to create a piece of music intended to soothe his colleagues and patients.
Former semi-professional musician Leo Polchar is in his final year of medical studies at Swansea University.
He spent a busy afternoon in the department recording a range of sounds before composing the music and enlisting the help of fellow instrumentalists to record a track called Accident & Emergency.
The end result saw the 29-year-old turn things around on sounds like beeps, ringing, screaming and creaking carts, which can often sound oppressive, incorporating them into an uplifting score.
Leo said: “The idea came to me when we were asked to do a big project for our final year, with the possibility of doing something in the humanities.
“I was in the ER hearing all these beeps and stuff and I thought, ‘Maybe I could make a piece of music out of this?
“Compared to other courses, this is the most difficult – it’s like a merry-go-round of things happening and you just have to jump on it and find your place in it all.
“It’s such a noisy, oppressive place where you hear all these different sounds – I liked the idea of taking something that a lot of people struggle with and trying to make something enjoyable out of it. .
“I worked for a few years, after my undergraduate studies, as a semi-professional musician, and I did a little composition before. I also currently play in a band called Distant Waters.
Leo said he was grateful for the support of the medical illustration team at Swansea Bay while recording the ED sounds, which he then incorporated into the music track.
“I played piano on the track, which is the main part, and there are a few different cello parts, and a few other instruments to give it a more orchestral feel.
“Some of my good friends, who are also final-year medical students – Alice Arvidsson, who plays the flute, and Lewis Thelwell, who plays the trumpet – have played parts I’ve written for them.”
With the trail set, Leo is eager to hear the prognosis of his merits from a range of people, including those working in the emergency room.
He said: “One of the counselors in the emergency department praised me saying that having worked in the department for so many years, she felt that I had been able to transform the meaning behind the noises.
“Those who reacted the best to it came from the medical field – those who recognize the noises reacted to them more deeply.
“I just hope people enjoy it.
“If it’s well received, maybe we could post a link to the track and people can listen to it on their phone while waiting in the ER.”
Sue West-Jones, ED Consultantsaid the music was “simply wonderful”.
She added: “These are sounds that filled my life as an ER clinician – very powerful sounds that can easily add to the stress of my role, but Leo gave them beauty and clarity.
“It’s very moving. It conveys the intensity of the noise of the department while transforming the noise into the sounds of life, sounds that save lives and sounds that sometimes describe the ebb of life.
(Main image: Swansea Bay NHS)