Genres and Techniques of Soundscape Composition as Developed at Simon Fraser University

Truax, Barry


Organised Sound 7(1): 5-14.

Language: English

The soundscape composition, as pioneered at Simon Fraser University since the early 1970s, has evolved rapidly to explore a full range of approaches from the ‘found sound' representation of acoustic environments through to the incorporation of highly abstracted sonic transformations. The structural approaches similarly range from being analogues of real-world experience, such as listening from a fixed spatial perspective or moving through a connected series of acoustic spaces, to those that mirror both nonlinear mental experiences of memory recall, dreams, and free association, as well as artificial sonic constructs made familiar and possible by modern ‘schizophonic' audio techniques of sonic layering and embedding. The octophonic surround-sound playback format as used in contemporary soundscape presentations has achieved a remarkable sense of immersion in a recreated or imaginary sonic environment. Specific works realised at SFU are analysed that illustrate each of these approaches.