Re: questions on processing in soundscapes

Subject: Re: questions on processing in soundscapes
From: Kenneth Newby (
Date: Mon Nov 14 2005 - 12:55:04 EST

Hi Sylvia,

You might want to have a look at Phil Thomson's MFA thesis: Machine
Languages and the Digitization of the Social. In that paper Phil gives
a nice overview of the processing techniques that are effective in
preserving context in soundscape materials... things like
time-stretching/contraction, auto-convolution and filtering.


On 13-Nov-05, at 8:43 PM, wrote:

> 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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