Home > Keywords > Genres and Categories of Electroacoustic Music [G/C] > Soundscape Composition

Soundscape Composition

The term refers to a kind of electroacoustic work, much of which was initiated by members of the World Soundscape Project (WSP) at Simon Fraser University. Environmental sound recordings form both the source material and also inform the work at all its structural levels in the sense that the original context and associations of the material play a significant role in its creation and reception.

In other words, soundscape composition is context embedded, and even though it may incorporate seemingly abstract material from time to time, the piece never loses sight of what it is `about’.

The principles of soundscape composition are:

1. listener recogisability of the source material is maintained, even if it subsequently undergoes transformation;

2. the listener’s knowledge of the environmental and psychological context of the soundscape material is invoked and encouraged to complete the network of meanings ascribed to the music;

3. the composer’s knowledge of the environment and psychological context of the soundscape material is allowed to influence the shape of the composition at every level, and ultimately the composition is inseparable from some or all aspects of that reality;

4. the work enhances our understanding of the world, and its influence carries over into everyday perceptual habits.

Thus, the real goal of the soundscape composition is the re-integration of the listener with the environment in a balanced ecological relationship. (Source - Reworking of Barry Truax, ``The Aesthetics of Computer Music: a questionable concept reconsidered’’, Organised Sound 5/3 December 2000 and ``Soundscape, Acoustic Communication and Environmental Sound Composition’’ Contemporary Music Review Vol.15 Part 1, 1996)