Describing the contemporary sound environment: An analysis of three approaches, their synthesis, and a case study of Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC.

David Paquette
School of Communication, Simon Fraser University
June, 2004
 

Abstract


The thesis presents and analyses three approaches to the subjective approach of the everyday sound environment: The World Soundscape Project descriptive model, Barry Truax’s information based Acoustic Communication model, and the perceptual and phenomenological work of French researchers Jean-François Augoyard and Pascal Amphoux. These models are then combined in a methodological and analytical framework to study listeners’ relationships to contemporary urban environments.



The methodology is applied to a case study—the soundscape of Commercial Drive in Vancouver BC, Canada—in order to explore the various models and provide a practical analysis of the soundscape of Commercial Drive. The methodology used consists of a series of interviews that proceed from the general to the specific, and finally move back to a macro analysis of the soundscape. First, short surveys and “sonic mind maps” were conducted with people chosen randomly on the street. Then, recorded interviews with long-term inhabitants provided more specific information about potential locations to study and various themes of inquiry. Three contrasting locations were selected and recorded, and these recording were used in “reactivated listening sessions” with participants who possess a particular aural knowledge. These subjective accounts and other quantitative information gathered throughout the area are analysed based on a communicational approach to the soundscape and with the help of Amphoux’s qualitative criteria.



The results of the case study suggest the presence of a strong acoustic community maintained through active outdoor soundmaking practices, the omnipresence of non-mediated, vocal interactions and a blurring of traditional indoor/private and outdoor/public boundaries. The study has also helped in demonstrating how Amphoux’s qualitative criteria can be used in the context of an acoustic communicational inquiry of the sound environment.
  •  Announcements
    Atom logo
    RSS2 logo
    RSS1 logo
  •  Current Issue
    Atom logo
    RSS2 logo
    RSS1 logo
  •  Thesis Abstracts
    Atom logo
    RSS2 logo
    RSS1 logo

We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

SSHRC LOGO