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Schafer, R. M. (1994). The soundscape: Our sonic environment and the tuning of the world. Rochester Vt: Destiny Books. 
Added by: sirfragalot (6/20/06, 8:18 AM)   Last edited by: sirfragalot (2/14/14, 4:44 PM)
Resource type: Book
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 0892814551
BibTeX citation key: Schafer1994
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Categories: Sound Design
Keywords: Acoustic ecology, Listening modes, Noise, Sound objects, Soundscape
Creators: Schafer
Publisher: Destiny Books (Rochester Vt)
Resources citing this (Bibliography: WIKINDX Master Bibliography)
Views: 5/741
From the back cover:

"The soundscape -- a term coined by the author -- is our sonic environment, the ever-present array of noises with which we all live. Beginning with the primordial sounds of nature, we have experienced an ever-increasing complexity of our sonic surroundings. As civilization develops, new noises rise up around us: from the creaking wheel, the clang of the blacksmith's hammer, and the distant chugging of steam trains to the "sound imperialism" of airports, city streets, and factories. The author contends that we now suffer from an over-abundance of acoustic information and a proportionate diminishing of our ability to hear the nuances and subtleties of sound. Our task, he maintains, is to listen, analyze, and make distinctions.

As a society we have become more aware of the toxic wastes that can enter our bodies through the air we breathe and the water we drink. In fact, pollution of our sonic environment is no less real. Schafer emphasizes the importance of discerning the sounds that enrich and feed us and using them to create healthier environments. To this end, he explains how to classify sounds, appreciating their beauty or ugliness, and provides exercises and "soundwalks" to help us become more discriminating and sensitive to the sounds around us. This book is a pioneering exploration of our acoustic environment, past and present, and an attempt to imagine what it might become in the future."
Added by: sirfragalot  Last edited by: sirfragalot
Originally published as:
The Tuning of the World. New York: Knopf (1977).
Added by: sirfragalot  Last edited by: sirfragalot
   Schafer quotes from Virgil's Georgics:

"Such was the life that golden Saturn lived upon earth:
Mankind had not yet heard the bugle bellow for war,
Nor yet heard the clank of the sword on the hard anvil."
(Book II, line 501.)

and claims that this aural image (from metallic sounds) of war remains although now enhanced by the sounds of explosions.   Added by: sirfragalot
p.4   Defines noises as "sounds we have learned to ignore"   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Noise
p.33   The definition of space by acoustic means is much more ancient than the establishment of property lines and fences"   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Space
p.42   "In onomatopoeic vocabulary, man unites himself with the soundscape about him, echoing back its elements. The impression is taken in; the expression is thrown back in return."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Iconography Indexicality Onomatopoeia Reproduction/Representation
p.43   Defines the terms hi-fi and lo-fi in terms of signal-to-noise ratio with the former having a higher ratio than the latter.

"The hi-fi soundscape is one in which discrete sounds can be heard clearly because of the low ambient noise level. ...sounds overlap less frequently; there is perspective--foreground and background."

"In a lo-fi soundscape individual acoustic signals are obscured in an overdense population of sounds. ... Perspective is lost."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Soundscape
p.43   "In the quiet ambience of the hi-fi soundscape the slightest disturbance can communicate vital or interesting information"   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Soundscape
p.54   "...the parish is an acoustic space, circumscribed by the range of the church bell. The church bell is a centripetal sound; it attracts and unifies the community in a social sense just as it draws man and God together."

He further defines centripetal sounds on p.56 as unifying and regulating communities. He explictly refers to sirens as centrifugal sounds on p.178.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Space
p.78   "The flat continuous line in sound is an artificial construction. Like the flat line in space, it is rarely found in nature."   Added by: sirfragalot
p.113   Quotes Stockhausen as stating that "the time of memory [is] the crucial time between eight- and sixteen-second-long events." (Cott, Jonathan. Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer. LONDON 1974. pp30--31)   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Memory Time
p.113   Reminds us that low-frequency sounds, with longer wavelengths, are subject to less diffraction, better filling space due to their greater ability to proceed around obstacles.

"Localization of the sound source is more difficult with low-frequency sounds, and music stressing such sound is both darker in quality and more directionless in space. Instead of facing the sound source the listener seems immersed in it."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Localization
p.119   Describing the headphone listener: "[h]e is no longer regarding events on the acoustic horizon; no longer is he surrounded by a sphere of moving elements. He is the sphere. He is the universe."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Headphones Immersion
p.129   Describes Pierre Schaeffer's term sound object as "the smallest self-contained particle of a soundscape."   Added by: sirfragalot
pp.130-131   Is critical of Pierre Schaeffer's definition and usage of sound object because if is purely clinical and physical--he makes no reference to semantics or other associations. "it is a phenomenological sound formation only" and takes no account of the physical object that produced the sound or any meaning associated with it. Schafer prefers the term sound event as more encompassing of meaning, context and sound source.   Added by: sirfragalot
p.133   "Sounds may be classified in several ways: according to their physical characteristics (acoustics) or the way in which they are perceived (psychoacoustics); according to their function and meaning (semiotics and semantics); or according to their emotional or affective qualities (aesthetics). While it has been customary to treat these classifications seperately, there are obvious limitations to isolated studies."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Acoustics Cognition perception Psychoacoustics Semantic categorization Sensation
pp.161-162   Discusses Innes' (1972) proposition that solid durable [written] media emphasizes time while those that are light and less durable emphasize space and suggests that sound falls into the latter category. "...the true character of sound in shaping societies is in its spatial spread ... the real paradox is that although sounds are pronounced in time, they are also erased by time." (p.162).

Innes, H. A. (1972). Empire and communication 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Time
p.169   "A [acoustic] sign is any representation of a physical reality. ... A sign does not sound but merely indicates. A signal is a sound with a specific meaning, and it often stimulates a direct response (telephone bell, siren etc.). A symbol, however, has richer connotations."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Semiotics Symbolism
p.169   "A sound event is symbolic when it stirs in us emotions or thoughts beyond its mechanical sensations or singaling function, when it has a numinosity or reverberation that rings through the deeper recesses of the psyche."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Semiotics Symbolism
p.178   "Sirens and church bells belong to the same class of sounds: they are community signals. As such they must be loud enough to emerge clearly out of the ambient noise of the community. But while the church bell sets a protective spell on the community, the siren speaks of disharmony from within."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Semiotics
p.182   "Noises possess a great deal of symbolic character as sound phobias"   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Noise Semiotics Symbolism
p.207   In the context of machinery: "[N]oise represents escaped energy."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Noise
p.211   "When one travels, new sounds snap at the consciousness and are thereby lifted to the status of figures."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Gestalt
p.215   "The acoustic space of a sounding object is that volume of space in which the sound can be heard. ... Modern technology has given each individual the tools to activate more acoustic space."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Space
p.242   "If we must be distracted ten or twenty times each day, why not by pleasant sounds? Why could not everyone choose his or her own telephone signal?"   Added by: sirfragalot
p.256   "...the ultimate silence is death..."   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Silence
pp.9-10   Defines some features of the soundscape (his term):

Keynote sounds: Ubiquitous, fundamental and pervasive background sounds (Gestalt ground) that are not always consciously heard.

Signals: Foreground sounds (Gestalt figure) that are consciously listened to.

Soundmark: A sound that is unique to the soundscape or that particularly aids in the identification of place.

archetypal sounds: sounds possessed of a symbolism, inherited from ancient times that have a mystery about them.

His use of the Gestalt terms is a little different to its use in the psychology of visual perception where a figure is perceived only because it is given mass and outline by the ground. For Schafer, any outlining is performed by the keynote sounds not on the signal sounds but on the characters of those who live among them--humans are defined in part by their acoustic environment.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Soundscape
p.55   Points out that the church bell became a marker of time.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Time
p.76   Noise is proportional to power, or at least the dispensation to make loud noise reflects the power of the noise-maker.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Noise
p.78   Schafer claims that early societies had fewer flat line sounds. Any increase in these sounds came with the Industrial Revolution. For Schafer, discrete sounds have a biological life (they're born, they live, they die) and provide a sense of duration to the listener marking the passage of time. Flat line sounds are 'suprabiological' with no sense of time implied.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Soundscape Time
pp.88-91   The ability to remove sounds from their original context (via telephony or recording) is called schizophonia by Schafer.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Sound Recording
p.99   Describing the harmonics of the hum of street electrical equipment (lighting, electrical signs etc.) in 1975 in the village of Skruv in Sweden, the harmonics were found to form a G# major triad. The addition of F# from the whistles of passing trains created V7 chord.   Added by: sirfragalot
p.123   Describes three methods of graphically notating sound:

1. Acoustics--waveforms, frequency domain etc.
2. Phonetics--for speech and the human voice.
3. Musical notation--representation of 'musical' sound.

Points out that the first two are descriptive while the third is prescriptive.   Added by: sirfragalot
p.152   A sound is perceived as figure (signal or soundmark) or ground (keynote ambient sound) on the basis of acculturation, training, mood, social relation to the soundscape.   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Gestalt perception
p.178   Notes that the bell and the siren (invented by Seebeck in the early C19th.) both radiate sound uniformly in all directions.   Added by: sirfragalot
pp.182-183   Discusses the various meanings of 'noise' both historically and culturally. The variety of meanings include unwanted sound, unmusical sound, loud sound, signal disturbance (disturbance in a signalling system).   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Noise
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