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The Glazed Soundscape: Critique
October 30, 2007

The Glazed Soundscape: Critique

The soundscape of every society is conditioned by the predominant materials from which it is constructed. Thus we may speak of bamboo, wood, metal, glass or plastic cultures, meaning that these materials produce a repertoire of sounds of specific resonance when touched by active agents. In his text schafer reflects the development of glass as a separating construction element between the inside and outside. Further considerations may examine influences and results of electronic surroundings or electronic materials. How do these condition the soundscape and its relations in society? Is sound, are acoustics only a soundtrack, or do modulated acoustics lead to modulated perception and then again to change(s)? Acoustic space is capable of simultaneity, superimposition, and nonlinearity, but above all, it resonates. "Resonance" can be seen as a form of causality, of course, but its causality is very different than that associated with visual space, because resonance allows things to respond to each other in a nonlinear fashion. through resonance in a physical system, a small activity or event can gain a great deal of energy; for example, if I belted out a pitch that resonated with the unique acoustic characteristics of this room, the energy of my voice would be amplified by the environment. That’s why some singers can shatter a glass with their voice: they hit the resonant frequency of the glass (which is a space and contains a space), making it vibrate to the point of shattering. Resonance is a very powerful analogy for understanding how various types of energies and spaces operate." You can physically examine resonances as space and body experiences, but also theoretically as an energy producing phenomenon analogue to other processes. "The vibes must be alright" places where people collectively have resonance experiences are very different from one another. In clubs, stadiums, the subway, cinemas... we expose ourselves to some (sound) waves consciously, from some we can't escape. (The use of sound frequencies in arms technology, motor bass, noise research).

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lmost all the noises of the modern city--police sirens, jet noise, and construction noise--are designed to fortify some special-interest group. Thus, many sounds have become symbols for social classes. For us the same is true of glass. And yet one cannot help feeling that the mind-body split of the Western world will only be healed when some of the glass in which we have sheathed our lives is shattered, allowing us again to inhabit a world in which all the senses interact instead of being ranked in opposition.

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