Skip to main content Accessibility help

Soundscape Composition: Enhancing our understanding of changing soundscapes

  • Brona Martin (a1)


This article discusses the affordances of soundscape composition and how the techniques and approaches of this genre have been embraced as an inter-disciplinary research methodology. Since its emergence from the World Soundscape Project, the concept of soundscape composition has set out to enhance our listening awareness of our soundscapes, inspiring and establishing a discourse that explores a sense of place through sound. Soundscape composition over the past decades has established itself as a popular compositional practice among acousmatic composers utilising compositional techniques that go beyond phonographic representation of acoustic environments. Electroacoustic techniques explore not only the transformation and processing of field recordings but also the spatialisation and performance techniques used to create immersive and realistic soundscapes. These compositional developments since the establishment of the World Soundscape Project have brought this genre of music to a wider audience as it has developed into a cross-disciplinary practice. Soundscape studies methodologies such as soundwalking, listening and recording are being utilised by a broader research cohort outside of soundscape composition. This article provides a survey of recent projects and compositions that incorporate a soundscape and cross-disciplinary approach that reflects a variety of cultural themes and issues within the disciplines of social, political and cultural science.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Drever, J. L. 2002. Soundscape Composition: The Convergence of Ethnography and Acousmatic Music. Organised Sound 7(1): 2127.
Feld, S. and Brenneis, D. 2004. Doing Anthropology in Sound. American Ethnologist 31(4): 461474.
Martin, B. 2014. The Thing about Listening is… Compositional Approaches and Inspiration Using Spoken Word, Field Recordings and Electroacoustic Techniques. eContact! 16(2). (accessed 29 August 2016).
O’Keeffe, L. 2014. (Sound) Walking Through Smithfield Square in Dublin. (accessed 29 August 2016).
O’Keeffe, L. 2016. Memories of Sound: Socioeconomic, Community and Cultural Soundscapes of Smithfield, Dublin from the 1950s. In M. Bull and L. Back (eds.) The Auditory Culture Reader. 2nd edn. New York: Bloomsbury.
Rennie, T. 2014. Socio-Sonic: An Ethnographic Methodology for Electroacoustic Composition. Organised Sound 19(2): 117124.
Schafer, R. M. 1994. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. New York: Knopf.
Stollery, P. 2013. Capture, Manipulate, Project, Preserve: A Compositional Journey. Journal of Music, Technology and Education 6(3): 285298.
Tipp, C. 2014. Review of The Hebrides Suite by Cathy Lane. (accessed on 29 August 2016).
Truax, B. 1996. Soundscape, Acoustic Communication and Environmental Sound Composition. Contemporary Music Review 15(1–2): 4965.
Truax, B. 1999. Handbook for Acoustic Ecology. CD-ROM edition. Burnaby, British Columbia: Cambridge Street Publishing.
Truax, B. 2001. Acoustic Communication, 2nd edn. Westport, CT: Ablex.
Truax, B. 2008. Soundscape Composition as Global Music: Electroacoustic Music as Soundscape. Organised Sound 13(2): 103109.
Waldock, J. 2016. Hearing Urban Regeneration: Community Composition as a Tool for Capturing Change. In M. Bull and L. Back (eds.) The Auditory Culture Reader, 2nd edn. New York: Bloomsbury.
Westerkamp, H. 1999. Soundscape Composition: Linking Inner and Outer Worlds. (accessed 29 August 2016).
Lane, C. 2013. On the Machair (2008). On The Hebrides Suite. Frankfurt: Gruenrekorder.
Martin, B. 2013. The thing about listening is… (accessed 27 November 2017).
Martin, B. 2014. A bit closer to home. (accessed 27 November 2017).
Stollery, P. 2011. Resound (2005). On Scènes. Montreal: Empreintes DIGITALes, IMED-11111.

Soundscape Composition: Enhancing our understanding of changing soundscapes

  • Brona Martin (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed