questions on processing in soundscapes

Subject: questions on processing in soundscapes
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 23:43:17 EST

('binary' encoding is not supported, stored as-is) I'm writing a paper for an "electroacoustic soundscape composition" course
here at SFU, and I thought list members might have some interesting insights
on my project. Would you all mind answering a couple of questions?

A little pre-information: At my first introduction to soundscape
composition, I was under the impression that a soundscape piece was just a
recording of an environmental soundscape. I imagined it to have no
processing other than maybe equalization to offset microphone
interference/distortion, a little normalizing, fade in, fade out, and maybe
some areal diffusion. As I learned more about it, I discovered "soundscape"
compositions that create a fictional soundscape, such as Barry Truax's
Island, where sounds are taken out of their original context and placed in a
different one. Additionally, there are soundscapes that include quite a bit
of processing (maybe to better expose the musicality of the environment),
like the deep thumping sound in Hildegard Westerkamp's Beneath the Forest
Floor. In this soundscape course we also discussed text-based compositions,
because we considered text to be a "context".

So the questions:

Do you think there is a difference between soundscape composition and
context-based pieces?
What is the effective use of processing in context-based/soundscape
compositions? Any specific examples?
What might be ineffective use of processing in context-based/soundscape
compositions? Any specific examples?
Is there any type or amount of processing that would make you say "that
composition is not (or is no longer) soundscape/context-based"?
How would you consider the use of microphone to be processing, in terms of
affecting the behavior of whatever you are observing, or in terms of
types/placement of mics affecting the sound?
Do you have any principles of soundscape composition of your own?

Thank you very much; I appreciate your time-
Sylvia DeTar

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