A soundscape is an environment of sound (or sonic environment) with emphasis on the way it is perceived and understood by the individual, or by a society. It thus depends on the relationship between the individual and any such environment. The term may refer to actual environments, or to abstract constructions such as musical compositions and tape montages, particularly when considered as an artificial environment.
The study of the systematic relationships between humans and sonic environments is called soundscape or acoustic ecology, whereas the creation, improvement or modelling of any such environment is a matter of soundscape design. All aspects of soundscape studies have been the concern of the World Soundscape Project.
Since a soundscape is shaped by both the conscious and subliminal perceptions of the listener, soundscape analysis is based on perceptual and cognitive attributes such as foreground, background, contour, rhythm, silence, density, space and volume, from which are derived such analytical concepts as Keynote, Sound Event, Soundmark, Sound Object and Sound Signal.
(Source - Barry Truax - Handbook for Acoustic Ecology CD-ROM Edition. Cambridge Street Publishing, 1999 - CSR-CDR 9901)