A soundscape is a sound or combination of sounds that forms or arises from an immersive environment. The study of soundscape is the subject of acoustic ecology. The idea of soundscape refers to both the natural acoustic environment, consisting of natural sounds, including animal vocalizations and, for instance, the sounds of weather and other natural elements; and environmental sounds created by humans, through musical composition, sound design, and other ordinary human activities including conversation, work, and sounds of mechanical origin resulting from use of industrial technology. The disruption of these acoustic environments results in noise pollution.

The term "soundscape" can also refer to an audio recording or performance of sounds that create the sensation of experiencing a particular acoustic environment, or compositions created using the "found sounds" of an acoustic environment, either exclusively or in conjunction with musical performances. [cite book|title=Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art |last= LaBelle|first=Brandon|publisher=Continuum International Publishing Group|year= 2006 |pages=198, 214 |isbn= 0826418457] cite book|title=Companion to Contemporary Musical Thought |last= Paynter |first= John |publisher=Routledge|year= 1992 |pages= 374 |isbn= 0415072255|quote=Electroacoustic Music and the Soundscape: The inner and the Outer World, by Barry Traux]


Pauline Oliveros, composer of post-World War II electronic art music, defined the term "soundscape" as "All of the waveforms faithfully transmitted to our audio cortex by the ear and its mechanisms".cite book|title=Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice |last=Oliveros |first=Pauline|year=2005 |publisher=iUniverse|pages =18 |isbn=0595343651]

According to author, composer and environmentalist, R. Murray Schafer, there are three main elements of the soundscape:

* Keynote sounds: This is a musical term that identifies the key of a piece, not always audible… the key might stray from the original, but it will return. The keynote sounds may not always be heard consciously, but they “outline the character of the people living there” (Schafer). They are created by nature (geography and climate): wind, water, forests, plains, birds, insects, animals. In many urban areas, traffic has become the keynote sound.

* Sound signals: These are foreground sounds, which are listened to consciously; examples would be warning devices, bells, whistles, horns, sirens, etc.

* Soundmark: This is derived from the term "landmark". A soundmark is a sound which is unique to an area.

In his 1977 book, "The Tuning of the World", Schafer wrote, “Once a Soundmark has been identified, it deserves to be protected, for soundmarks make the acoustic life of a community unique”.

oundscapes in music

In music, soundscape compositions are often a form of electronic music, or electroacoustic music. Composers who use soundscapes include real-time granular synthesis pioneer Barry Truax and Luc Ferrari, whose "Presque rien, numéro 1" (1970) is an early soundscape composition. [Roads, Curtis (2001). p.312, Microsound. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-18215-7]

Music soundscapes can also be generated by automated software methods, such as the experimental TAPESTREA application, a framework for sound design and soundscape composition, and others. [ [ Boodler ambient soundscape generator written in Python] ] [ [ fLOW ambient soundscape generator (Apple Macintosh)] ]

oundscapes in health care

Soundscapes from a computerized acoustic device with a camera may also offer synthetic vision to the blind, utilizing human echolocation, as is the goal of the seeingwithsound project. [ [ Seeing with Sound] ]

oundscapes and noise pollution

Papers on noise pollution are increasingly taking a holistic, soundscape approach to noise control. Whereas acoustics tends to rely on lab measurements and individual acoustic characteristics of cars and so on, soundscape takes a top-down approach. Drawing on John Cage's ideas of the whole world as composition, soundscape researchers investigate people's attitudes to soundscapes as a whole rather than individual aspects - and look at how the entire environment can be changed to be more pleasing to the ear.

ee also

* Biomusic
* Field recording
* Space music
* Program music
* Ambient music
* Musique concrète


Further reading

* 1969 "The New Soundscape" - R. Murray Schafer
* 1977 "The Tuning of the World" - R. Murray Schafer (ISBN 0394409663)
*: These 2 works were adapted to become part of the 1993 book, "The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World" - R. Murray Schafer (ISBN 0-89281-455-1)
* 1977 "Five village soundscapes (Music of the environment series)" - A.R.C. Publications (ISBN 0-88985-005-4)
* 1978 "Handbook for Acoustic Ecology" - Barry Truax (ISBN 0-88985-011-9)
* 1985 "Acoustic Communication : Second Edition" - Barry Truax & World Soundscape Project (ISBN 1-56750-537-6
* 1994 "Soundscapes: Essays on Vroom and Moo", Eds: Jarviluoma, Helmi - Department of Folk Tradition
* 2002 "Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World" - Bernard L. Krause (ISBN 0-89997-296-9) - book & CD
* 2004 "The Auditory Culture Reader (Sensory Formations)" - Michael Bull (ISBN 1-85973-618-1)
* 2006 "Qualitative Judgements of Urban Soundscapes: Questionning Questionnaires and Semantic Scales" - Raimbault, Manon, Acta Acustica united with Acustica 92(6), 929–937

External links

* [ Soundscape artists]
* [ Wildlife Sound Recording Society]
* [ Tones and noises: three kinds of soundscape, one music]
* [ World Forum for Acoustic Ecology]
* [ World Soundscape Project]
* [ Cape Cod Soundscapes Project]
* [ The Acoustic Ecology Institute]
* [ Camera-Based Soundscapes for the Blind]
* [ Acoustic Environments in Change]
* [ One Man's Noise] a CBC Ideas show about soundscapes
* [ Soundscape artist links] at Quiet American
* [ Do-It-Yourself field recording advice] , also at Quiet American
* [] Aurality and Soundscape from Galicia

Samples and stores

* [ field recording repository at the Phonography Archive]
* [ Far Afield: A Webbed Hand Compilation] a 2-CD compilation available from the Internet Archive
* [ Quiet American field recordings]
* [ One-minute field recording weekly podcast with archive]
* [ tram-n-bus] - urban transport field recordings
* [] largest selection of albums for sale
* [] large collection of soundscape albums for sale; also podcasts, streaming audio, licensing, research, and installation information.
* [ New England Soundscapes] including a podcast
* [ Gruenrekorder :: Platform for AudioArt]
* [] A soundscape to explore of a London Park
* [] Aura nature soundscape player software


* [ Archivosonoro] Field recordings repository and other audio archives


* [ Acusmart] notes on soundscape and phonography archive

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