Griger Ján

Abstract

This diploma thesis is based on key theoretical concepts of acoustic ecology and soundscape and is divided into two main parts. In first part of the thesis I discussed three main approaches to research of subjective perception
and interpretation of everyday sound environment: the ecological approach of WSP, Truax’s acoustic communication approach, and the structural
approach of Augoyard and Amphoux of the CRESSON research institute. Concerning each approach I discussed the basic terms and method (or methods) used for soundscape research. In the second part of the thesis I described each phase and made an analysis of the results of the field research of the soundscape of Loreta Square in Prague. The research was done with questionnaires,
and two main approaches were used: one place-oriented
approach (subjective perception and interpretation of the everyday soundscape of all of Loreta Square) and one sound-oriented approach (subjective perception and
interpretation of the sound of the Loreta Carillon). In the following text I will focus on the historical background of acoustic ecology and on the results of field research.

Keywords

acoustic ecology, soundscape, Raymond Murray Schafer, acoustic communication, Barry Truax, CRESSON, Loreta Square, Loreta Carillon

 

[1]The number, quality and character of the sounds we meet in our environment

are constantly changing. Some of the sounds disappear with the passage of

time, never to return. Others last for centuries. Completely new sounds appear.

As a rule, people begin to take notice of the sounds around them when they are

forced to face noise problems. Havránek, author of one of the most important

books dealing with noise (Havránek 1990), however, is well aware of its specific

character when, for example, in connection with musical noise, he states

the following: "Musical noise is only partially a health problem. The bigger

part is a sociocultural question." (Havránek 1997: 169) By this, he indicates

that, for us to understand the role and function of sound in a human environment

better, we must apply a broader theory or approach that would define it

more precisely. Therefore, it is important to ask much deeper questions than

only about the intensity of sound: How does sound function in a human environment?

With which methods can one research human sound environment?

On the basis of ascertained realities, how can its quality be preserved and

improved?

Not only these, but many other questions connected with noise problems

have arisen with the creation of the new multidisciplinary field of acoustic

ecology.[2] This was defined as "... the study of the effects of the acoustic environment

or soundscape on the physical responses or behavioral characteristics

of creatures living within it." (Schafer 1994: 271) The very beginning of

acoustic ecology is connected with the activity of research of the World Soundscape

Project (henceforth called WSP) group, which was founded by Raymond

Murray Schafer[3] in 1970 at Simon Fraser University (henceforth called SFU)

in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and the group worked together until

Schafer's departure from SFU in 1975. The basis of the WSP concept became

the multidisciplinary, subjective perception of the sound environment, educational

activity and the musicality which was attributed to the sound environment.

The inspiration for the founding of the WSP was, for Schafer, the artistic

Bauhaus movement, which combined crafts and the fine arts and gave rise to

the new discipline of industrial design. Similarly, Schafer originally endeavored

to unite the disciplines concerned with sound: on one hand, those dealing with

sound from the scientific angle and, on the other, those having to do with the

artistic angle. Even though this was never accomplished, the main goal of the

WSP - the combining of research on the technical, sociological and aesthetic

aspects of the sound environment - managed to be accomplished within the

framework of soundscape studies.

The WSP approach to sound in the human environment was specific

mainly in two respects. On one hand, instead of a negative approach which

considers sound in the environment only as "noise pollution", the group applied

an approach centered on positive aspects of the sound environment. The other

aspect was the substitution of sound research in laboratory conditions by

research in situ, thus field research in real human living environments. At the

beginning of their activity, the group had already defined five concrete goals:

(1) to undertake an intensive interdisciplinary study of contrasting acoustic

environments and their effects on man, (2) to suggest ways of changing and

improving acoustic environments, (3) to educate students and field workers in

acoustic ecology, (4) to educate the general public in acoustic ecology and (5)

to prepare reports as guides to future studies.

The key term of acoustic ecology is soundscape.[4] Schafer (1994) defined

this term in two ways: on one hand, from the practical angle, that is, as "any

acoustic field of study" (Schafer 1994: 7) and/or "technically, any portion of the

sonic environment regarded as a field of study" (ibid.: 274), and, on the other

hand, from the aesthetic angle because, according to him, "... the soundscape

is no accidental by-product of society; rather it is a deliberate construction by

its creators, a composition which may be as much distinguished for its beauty

as for its ugliness." (ibid.: 237) Franěk (2003) states more specifically that

this term "(1) includes acoustic phenomena that we can actively hear, record,

measure, and compare; (2) at the same time, it is a community's aural heritage,

which is important for a feeling of comfort and for a sense of the importance of

a given place; (3) soundscape is necessary to view as a part of a broader socioecological

context (it solves the question of the extent to which soundscape is

a by-product of social, political and economic structures)." Franěk also adds

that "research work of ecological acousticians rests on the recognition and registration

of the acoustic characteristics of a certain environment. It is therefore

not only a question of measuring the noise level, but also of the identification

of the character of various sounds and their value from the point of view of the

people who live in a given environment. Various environments or regions are

namely defined by having somewhat different acoustic environments - each

contains sounds that refl ect the kind of homelike, dialectic, industrial and agricultural

process and natural environment of the place (insects, birds, water,

etc.) Apart from specific sounds, in every environment there is something that

is common to a certain region or to a greater geographic area." (Franěk 2005:

197) As far as methods are concerned, these were worked out during three key

field studies carried out in the first half of the 1970s.[5] During the field studies

the group applied five research methods: (a) research of spatial distribution

of sound in the environment, (b) research of time distribution of sound in the

environment (c) research of legislation and noise by-laws, (d) research of people's

subjective reactions on the various types of sounds and (e) recordings of

concrete soundscapes.

The core of Schafer's theoretical contribution is the concept of features

of the soundscape. The basis of this concept, which Schafer and WSP use

for all of their field research on naming specific sounds in the concrete living

environment, is a concept of figure-background taken from Gestalt psychology.

Schafer and WSP distinguish three prominent types of sounds in a living

environment. The first of them is keynote. Keynote is a term taken from music,

where it denotes the tonality of the composition in question.[6] As Schafer (1994:

9) says, "keynote sounds do not have to be listened to consciously; they are

overheard but cannot be overlooked." Schafer further says that, "the keynote

sounds of a landscape are those created by its geography and climate: water,

wind, forests, plains, birds, insects and animals." (ibid.: 910) According to

Schafer, "many of those sounds may possess archetypal significance; that is,

they may have imprinted themselves so deeply on the people hearing them that

life without them would be sensed as a distinct impoverishment." (ibid.) The

second type of sound is soundsignal. Schafer says that "signals are foreground

sounds and they are listed to consciously." (ibid.) He adds that "in terms of

the psychologist, they are figure rather than ground." (ibid.) The third type

of sound is soundmark. As Schafer says, "the term soundmark is derived from

qualities which make it specially regarded or noticed by the people in that community."

(ibid.: 10) Schafer supposes that "once a soundmark has been identified,

it deserves to be protected, for soundmarks make the acoustic life of the

community unique." (ibid.)

I applied the theoretical assumptions described above to a case study of

the soundscape of the Loreta Square in Prague. The model for it became the

research project called the Kanda Soundscape Project carried out by a team

of Japanese soundscape researchers headed by Keiko Torigoe (2002) in one

of the oldest quarters of Tokyo in the years 1986-1988 and described in the

first world publication dedicated to the studies and methods of soundscape

research. Just as with Torigoe, there were, within the framework of my field

research, two main approaches: (a) one place oriented approach, by means of

which it was possible to research what sounds could be heard in the place under

study and (b) one sound oriented approach, by means of which it was possible to

research how the respondents hear the specific sound in the place under study.

I carried out research of the soundscape, a component of which was a pilot

study, by means of questionnaires. On the basis of the two abovementioned

main approaches, I divided the questionnaire into two parts. The first part

(11 questions) contained questions about perception and interpretation of the

daily sound environment of all of Loreta Square (henceforth called LS) from

a long-term perspective; in the second part (5 questions) I based my questions

on perception and interpretation of the sound of the Loreta Carillon (henceforth

called LC).

On the basis of theoretical presumptions, I asked two main research questions:

(1) Do there exist in LS, in the sense of Schafer's definition, features of

the soundscape and, if so, which sounds comprise them in LS? (2) Do there

exist in LS, in the sense of Truax's definition, definable relations between listeners,

sound and environment?[7] I developed these two research questions into

six main preliminary hypotheses both for research perception and interpretation

of the daily LS soundscape and from the long-term point of view for both

perception and interpretation of LC sound.

I set up the hypotheses for (a) one place oriented approach as follows: 1a)

Sounds which the respondents notice and name in connection with the LS

environment will be correlated with their ages. Assumption: with the lowering

age of the respondents there will be a growth in the number of sounds produced

by electro-acoustic sound systems. 2a) Perception and interpretation

of features of the soundscape (according to the definition used by WSP)

by the respondents will be correlated with the usage of the LS environment.

Assumption: an examined sociological groups of LS users (employees of

state institutions and private companies, local inhabitants) will analyze among

themselves important differences in identification of features of the soundscape

while, within those groups, there will be distinctive social features. 3a) Concepts

of noise in an urban environment will be correlated with the ages of

the respondents. Assumption: with increasing age individual respondents will

regard different kinds of sound as noise while I presume that they will prefer to

regard as noise the sounds produced by people (transportation, loud speaking)

and to a much smaller extent, sounds of nature (the songs of birds, the rustling

of leaves on the trees). The second of three hypotheses for (b) one sound oriented

approach was defined as follows: 1b) Respondents will, thanks to various

demographic characteristics, assign various marks and values to the

LC sound. Assumption: as in case 2a), respondents will able to separate into

groups that will be able to analyze among themselves important differences

in perception and interpretation of the LC sound, while within those groups

there will, in that respect, be marked social features; 2b) Respondents with

increasing age and a growing number of years of LS use will perhaps even

consider the extinction of LC sound a great loss and an impoverishment of

the soundscape of the LS. Assumption: the longer respondents have been LS

users, the more they will consider the sound not only a more interesting, but

also a more valuable and important component of the soundscape of the LS.

3b) Respondents with increasing age and a growing number of years of LS

use will regard LC sound as having cultural value. Assumption: the longer

respondents have been LS users, the more likely they will ascribe cultural value

to the LC sound.

In a sample of the respondents practically all the groups of LS users were

represented whereas only long-term LS residents or people working there for

a long period took part in the research. Those who received questionnaires

were not only people who work in state institutions (employees of the Ministry

of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and employees of Loreta) and people

who work for private companies (employees of the Hotel Loreta, employees

of local restaurants, shops and cafés), but also other groups who participate

in the LS space like local residents or members of the Council of Minorities of

the Capuchin Brothers. A total of 83 questionnaires were distributed; respondents

filled out and returned 70 of them. As for gender, 32 men and 36 women[8]

participated in the research. As for levels of education, 10 respondents finished

elementary school, 28 finished secondary school, 30 had college degrees and

two had other types of education. From the viewpoint of age, 6 participants in

the research were 18 years old or younger, 10 respondents were between 19 and

25 years old, 13 respondents were between 26 and 35 years old, 9 respondents

were between 36 and 45 years old, 19 respondents were between 46 and 55

years old, 9 respondents were between 56 and 65 years old, 3 respondents were

between 66 and 75 years old, and 1 respondent was 76 years old or older. As

for the LS usage, 20 respondents mentioned that they lived on LS, 37 respondents

work on LS, 1 respondent lives and works on LS, and 12 respondents did

not fill out this category.[9] Regarding how long the respondents have been using

LS, the results were as follows: less than 1 year 9 respondents (1 respondent 14

days, 1 respondent 1 month, 2 respondents 2 months, 1 respondent 3 months,

1 respondent 4 months, 1 respondent 5 months, 2 respondents 6 months), 8

respondents 1-2 years, 19 respondents 3-5 years, 6 respondents 6-9 years,

7 respondents 10-14 years, 8 respondents 15-19 years, 2 respondents 20-24

years, 2 respondents 25-29 years, 2 respondents 30-39 years and 6 respondents

40 or more years.

Let us now look at the results of the first part of the research from the angle

of the main preliminary hypotheses. As for preliminary hypothesis No. 1a),

this hypothesis was not confirmed. If we take into consideration the 11 sounds

that respondents named more than twice, in 8 cases these sounds are connected

with human activity. Of these 8 cases, in 2 of them their source is man

(the sounds of tourists, human voices speaking), in 6 cases man is their creator

(bells, autos, a street harmonica player, a little train for tourists, fireworks,

sirens). In 3 cases, they are natural sounds (birdlife, the wind, vegetation and

trees). Sounds produced by electro-acoustic sound systems were mentioned in

only three cases ("sirens" twice, "music from cafés" once). Thus the number

of respondents is, from the viewpoint of effecting a possible evaluation, negligible.

Significantly, the respondents did not express themselves either in question

No. 7 ("Imagine that you have the possibility of creating the soundscape

on LS according to your imagination. Which sounds would you like to add

and which sounds would you like to remove in comparison with contemporary

situation?" - only 8 respondents would add music to LS, in the clear majority

however only acoustic music) or in the related question No. 10 ("Based on your

personal or professional interests which criteria would you choose to define the

situation of acoustic well-being on LS" - only 1 respondent requested "lowering

the volume of the music in restaurants"). Respondents in all demographic

categories unambiguously prefer sounds whose sources or creators are man.

Preliminary hypothesis No. 2a) was not confirmed either. It appeared that

perception of features of the soundscape[10] do not depend on the LS usage by

the respondents nor on demographic categories. The results are the following:

a) keynote - sounds of autos - named by 41 (58.6%) of the respondents.

Of them 21 were men and 18 women; 2 respondents did not express themselves

precisely. From the viewpoint of education, this sound was named by

3 respondents with a basic-school education, 17 respondents with a secondary-school

education, 20 respondents with a college education, and 1 respondent

with another type of education. As for the age of the respondents, this

sound was named by 2 respondents 18 years old or younger, 9 respondents

19-25 years old, 9 respondents 26-35 years old, 5 respondents 36-45

years old, 9 respondents 46-55 years old, 6 respondents 56-65 years old, and

1 respondent 66-75 years old. As for LS usage by the respondents, 9 respondents live

on LS, 25 respondents work on LS, 1 respondent lives and works on LS, and

6 respondents did not pick any of the choices. As for LS use, not even one of the

choices was picked. As far as the length of time of LS use 9 respondents have

been using LS for less than 1 year, 5 respondents 1-2 years, 11 respondents

3-5    years, 5 respondents 6-9 years, 4 respondents 10-14 years, 2 respondents

15-19 years, 2 respondents 20-24 years, none of the respondents 25-29

years, 1 respondent 30-39 years, and 2 respondents 40 or more years; b) soundsignal

- sounds of tourists - named by 38 (54,3%) of the respondents.[11] Of them,

there were 19 women, 18 men, and 1 respondent who did not answer precisely.

From the viewpoint of education, this sound was named by 3 respondents

with basic-school education, 11 respondents with secondary-school

education, 23 respondents with college education and 1 respondent with another

type of education. As for the age of the respondents, this sound was selected by

2 respondents 18 years old or less, 4 respondents 19-25 years old,

7 respondents 26-35 years old, 6 respondents 36-45 years old, 15 respondents 46-55

years old, 3 respondents 56-65 years old, and 1 respondent 66-75 years old. In

regard to LS usage by the respondents, 13 respondents live on LS, 17 respondents

work on LS, 1 respondent lives and works on LS and 7 respondents did

not answer. As for the length of time of LS usage, 3 respondents have been

using the locality less than 1 year, 6 respondents 1-2 years, 8 respondents 3-5

years, 5 respondents 6-9 years, 5 respondents 10-14 years, 4 respondents 15-19

years, 1 respondent 20-24 years, 1 respondent 25-29 years, 2 respondents

30-39 years and 3 respondents 40 or more years; c) soundmark - sound of LC

- selected by 44 (62,9%) of the residents. Of them, there were 18 men and 24

women; 2 respondents did not state the answer precisely. From the viewpoint

of education, this sound was selected by 6 respondents with basic-school

education, 15 respondents with secondary-school education, 22 respondents with

college education, and 1 respondent with another type of education. As for

the age of the respondents, this sound was selected by 3 respondents 18 years

old or under, 3 respondents 19-25 years old, 7 respondents 26-35 years old, 7

respondents 36-45 years old, 14 respondents 46-55 years old, 6 respondents

56-65 years old, 3 respondents 66-75 years old, and 1 respondent 76 years old

or older. As for the kind of LS usage by the respondents, 12 respondents live

on LS, 23 respondents work on LS, 1 respondent lives and works on LS, and 8

respondents did not answer. As for the length of time of LS usage, 4 respondents

have been using the locality for less than 1 year, 5 respondents 1-2 years,

10 respondents 3-5 years, 5 respondents 6-9 years, 6 respondents 10-14

years, 5 respondents 15-19 years, 2 respondents 20-24 years, none of the respondents

25-29 years, 2 respondents 30-39 years and 5 respondents 40 or more years.

From these viewpoints, then, we see clearly that the perception of features of

the soundscape proceeds across all imaginable demographic categories.

Hypothesis No. 3a) was only partially confirmed. Respondents consider

noise in an urban environment exclusively sounds whose source or creators

are man. Respondents did not regard natural sounds as noise in even one

case. Most of the time (28x) noise from automobile traffic was selected by 25

respondents.[12] If we look at their age structure, then 1 respondent was in the

18-years-or-less category, 6 respondents in the 19-25 category, 3 respondents

in the 26-35 category, 5 respondents in the 36-45 category, 8 respondents in

the 46-55 category and 2 respondents in the 56-65 category. Thus one cannot

say that the sensation of this noise grew proportionately with age; on the contrary,

we see a relatively high number of respondents in the younger age categories

who mention the noise of automobile traffi c. As for other demographic

categories, this noise was mentioned by 13 men and 12 women. From the point

of view of education, this noise was mentioned by 3 respondents with a basic-school

education, 13 respondents with a secondary-school education, 8 respondents with

a college education, and 1 respondent with a different type of education.

As for LS usage, 7 respondents live on LS, 12 respondents work on LS, 6 respondents

did not pick any of the choices. As for the length of time of LS usage, 4 respondents

have used LS for less than 1 year, 3 respondents 1-2 years, 8 respondents 3-5 years,

1 respondent 6-9 years, 2 respondents 10-14 years, 3 respondents 15-19 years,

1 respondent 25-29 years, 1 respondent 30-39 years and 2 respondents 40 or more years.

Thus once again in all demographic groups the clear majority of categories are represented.

We will now concentration our attention on the second part of the research

which focused on the perception and interpretation of sound of the LC. As for

hypothesis No. 1b), this hypothesis was only partially confirmed. 57 respondents

wrote about concrete images, thoughts and memories; 6 respondents did

not answer this question; 4 respondents had no concrete images, thoughts or

memories, and 3 respondents crossed out this question. The images, thoughts

and memories described by the 57 respondents were divided into 26 groups[13]

as follows:

1. Memories of childhood and/or memories relating to one's own family

and family members (8x). The following answers were given: "memories from

childhood... Most of the time was spent around Loreta and there were not a few

experiences"; "When as a child I went to see a nativity scene in Loreta"; "nostalgia,

longing for childhood, pleasure from the beauty of the sounds, pleasure

from the admiration of the tourists, it's a pity that the song is so short"; "memories

of youth and parents"; "youth, wedding, caresses"; "memory of mother,

who was born and lived for twenty years at Pohořelec 10 and often remembered

the Loreta bells"; "memories of visits to Prague in childhood" and "The

LC sound was pleasant in a different way for everyone at different times. For

my grandfather who was locked up in a nearby little house (Communist house

of detention), it was unpleasant (in the 50s)."

2. Images related to perception of time (7x). Respondents mentioned

the following: "It has already been a whole hour"; "It occurs to me that it is

morning; actually it doesn't play at night"; "Another hour gone and I haven't

accomplished a thing"; "A thought about the clock on the hour, memories of

friends admiring the LC"; "I am aware of some of time segment"; "continuity"

and "mornings."

3.-5. Romantic images (5x). The following answers were given: "romantic,

devotion to the Virgin Mary"; "pleasant, romantic mood"; "Loreta litany,

a square under a layer of ice, romantic nocturnal lighting, a hidden home..."

"nostalgia, romance, joy" and "a fairy tale."

3.-5. Images related to work (5x). Respondents wrote these answers:

"work"; "jobs"; "employment"; "work + humility toward history" and "employment,

thoughts and memories of parents and friends."

3.-5. Images connected to a feeling of peace and tranquility (5x). Respondents

expressed the following: "peace, evening, tranquility"; "pleasant tranquility";

"peace and tranquility" "acoustic tranquility" and "an early summer

evening in a pleasant place."

6.-7. Images related to the history of the place (3x). Respondents mentioned:

"the history of the place, restfulness"; "history - the legend of the con struction

and of the carillon" and "the ancient and peaceful atmosphere of the

quarter lying close by and at the same time isolated from the rush of the big

city center".

6.7. Images related to religion and faith (3x). Respondents wrote these

answers: "adoration of the Virgin Mary"; "believers" and "belief in God

(Catholicism)".

8.-9. Images related to home (2x). Two respondents mentioned "home".

8.-9. Musical images (2x). Mentioned were "... church singing depending

on the melody and the mood" and "The sound evokes folk music".

10.-26. Other images (1x). 17 respondents mentioned the following:

"church, village, noon"; "the bustle of the big city"; "at 10 o'clock entrance to

the ‘U Černého vola' restaurant"; "thoughts of LS come back to me"; "Although

I have lived here all my life, I hardly notice the LC, but otherwise - a smile";

"uncertainty - I don't know when the new owner of the house is going to throw

me out on the street"; "the bell-founder Mr. Manoušek"; "wedding" "summer,

vacation"; "the LC rings mainly on Sunday - and too often and long - a stereotype";

"Hradčany!"; "an image of a pleasant feeling in the soul"; "ancient costumes,

peaceful walks, a pilgrimage to Loreta"; "It's good that the bells are so

high that nobody will steal them"; "gloomy images"; "a musty thing"; "literary

motifs about a mother whose deceased children were reincarnated as bells +

visual: Baroque motifs of angels fl oating over Loreta + nostalgic memories of

personal experiences."

As is clear from the above listings, the absolute majority of the respondents

(81.4%) have concrete images, thoughts and memories, but none of their

groups predominates strikingly because the biggest group consisted of only

8 respondents (that is 14% of those who had concrete images, thoughts and

memories and 11.4% of the total number of respondents). This dominant group

is strikingly smaller than the dominant group of respondents who agreed in

their perception of features of the soundscape. If we look at the composition

of this largest group from a demographic point of view, we find it is composed

of 6 women and 2 men. From the viewpoint of their education levels, there are

2 respondents with an elementary school education, 2 respondents with a secondary

school education, and 4 respondents with a college education. Division

according to age is as follows: 1 respondent 18 years old or less, 1 respondent

26-35 years old, 1 respondent 36-45 years old, 2 respondents 46-55 years

old, 1 respondent 56-65 years old, and 2 respondents 66-75 years old. According

to their LS usage, 3 respondents live on LS, 3 respondents work on LS, 2

respondents did not choose any of the categories. From the viewpoint of the

length of LS usage, in this group there are: 1 respondent who has been using

this locality for 3-5 years, 1 respondent 6-9 years, 1 respondent 10-14 years, 2

respondents 15-19 years, 1 respondent 25-29 years, and 2 respondents 40 or

more years. From the standpoint of all the demographic indicators, the group is

very diverse and no group of respondents predominated markedly in even one

instance. It is possible to call quite surprising the very low number of respondents

(only 3) who connected the LC sound with images related to religion

and faith because, from the point of view of religious significance, I expected

a much greater number of respondents. Preliminary hypothesis No. 2b) was not

confirmed. For 57 respondents (81.4%), that is, for a clear majority, extinction

of the LC sound would mean, from the acoustic angle, a great loss and impoverishment.

As for the high number of those respondents it is possible to state

that this opinion was shared by the respondents throughout all demographic

categories. This merely supports the vision of the LC sound as a soundmark

perceived very strongly throughout all demographic categories. Preliminary

hypothesis No. 3b) was not confirmed either. An even greater number, 64

respondents (91.4%), that is, an overwhelming majority, assigns cultural value

to the LC sound. In view of the fact that I asked respondents whether the LC

sound has cultural value without precisely defining what the cultural value of

the LC consists of, the question can be asked how to define this cultural value

of the LC sound and/or other soundmarks in a living environment by using the

information received.

On the basis of the facts that came out of this research, I have come to

the following conclusions: (1) the research unequivocally confirmed that in

researching the LS environment it is clearly possible to identify (according to

the definition used by Schafer and WSP) features of the soundscape: sounds of

autos (keynote), sounds of tourists (soundsignal) and sound of LC (soundmark).

These sounds are perceived by the majority (more than 50%) of the respondents

across all demographic categories. I am convinced that a future transformation

of these sounds would have a key infl uence on the assessment of the

quality of the LS soundscape by the respondents. In the future it is also possible

to make a comparative study that would show the change in the structure

of the sounds that make up the content of the LS soundscape and its subjective

perception by respondents. (2) The research also showed that when it is a question

of perception of a concrete sound in the research environment (in our case

the sound of the LC) respondents have at their disposal a wide range of images,

thoughts and memories evoked by the sound of the LC; however, no group of

those images, thoughts and memories is heavily preponderant. An analysis

of the largest group also showed that it is not possible to establish more precise

combinations of criteria because the respondents are, from the viewpoint

of the demographic groups we observed, very differentiated. (3) The research

also opened the question of how to treat sounds to which we can ascribe the

status of soundmark. As for Schafer's statement that "once a soundmark has

been identifi ed, it deserves to be protected, for soundmarks make the acoustic

life of the community unique," the question arises in what manner do these

sounds protect and assure that they will remain in the environment. The earlier

WSP fi ndings were confi rmed: that in a living environment next to architectonic

works there also exist concrete sounds that are characteristic for this

environment, co-creating its identity[14] and they are important for the people

who participate in it. I presume that, in contrast to the very elaborate methods

we have at our disposal to safeguard important architectonic works, we apparently

stand at the very beginning of protection of this kind of sounds in a living

environment.

I am convinced that questions posed by acoustic ecology will, in connection

with changes in the soundscape of man, gain more and more importance.

The research of Schafer's WSP group and a whole list of other projects, above

all the work of researchers at the French institute CRESSON, have lent great

impetus to it.

 

 


[1] Mgr. Ján Griger (born 1979) graduated in 2007 from the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University

in Prague, Department of Social and Cultural Ecology. From 2000 to 2006 he also studied

trombone at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory in Prague. E-mail contact: jan.griger@tiscali.cz.

[2] In specialized literature the terms ecoacoustics, environmental acoustics, soundscape ecology,

ecology of sound and sound ecology are also used as a synonym for acoustic ecology.

[3] Raymond Murray Schafer (born 1933), Canadian composer, musician, soundscape researcher,

founder of acoustic ecology. His key publication is the book The Tuning of the World (1977), in which

he summarizes basic theoretical viewpoints and notes accrued from fi eld research.

[4] For the area of acoustic ecology that is dealt with in the study of sound environment, the terms

soundscape studies and/or soundscape research are used.

[5] The fi rst of them was a 1972 study The Vancouver Soundscape; one year later selected members

of the group did a Cross-Canada Recording Tour, during which they made a great number of recordings

and measurements. In 1975 a study Five Village Soundscapes was carried out in fi ve European villages

in Sweden, Germany, Italy, France and Scotland.

[6] This is valid only if we consider that music is tonal if, from the perspective of musical tonality,

it has a center around which the whole composition oscillates throughout its course and to which it

returns at its conclusion. Tonality is typical for most European classical music of the 18th and 19th centuries.

[7] Barry Truax (born 1947), Canadian musician, composer of electro-acoustic music, researcher

in the fi eld of soundscape studies and acoustic communication, member of the WSP. Truax's acoustic

communication approach, which is described in detail in his most important book Acoustic Communication

(1984, 2001), is based on the presumption of the existence of system composed of three

independent entities (listener, sound and environment) and on the impacts of the changes which could

occur in any part of the system.

[8] In 2 cases, it was not possible to determine the sex because, in one case, neither of the choices

was selected (questionnaire No. 28) and, in the other case, both choices were selected by a husband

and wife (questionnaire No. 63).

[9] To the group of respondents who expressed their LS usage, I also included respondents who

did not chose a) (live) or b) (work) in the questionnaire, but next to one choice wrote in a number of

years. In regard to specifi cation of a concrete length of LS usage, respondents considered this question

answered. That occurred in 7 cases in questionnaires Nos. 51, 57, 65 and 76 (respondents who

live on LS) and questionnaires Nos. 5, 19 and 30 (respondents who work on LS).

[10] For the purposes of this research I determined the concrete sounds that fulfill the role of features

of the soundscape of the LS those sounds that were detected by more than 50% of the respondents.

I have also taken into consideration the above-mentioned defi nitions of the features of the

soundscape, the character of the sounds and their occurrence from the viewpoint of time in the LS

environment.

[11] 2 respondents independently named 2 sources of sound related to tourism. In one case (questionnaire

No. 32) the respondent mentioned especially "foreign languages" and "the guide's voice"; in

one case (questionnaire No. 80) the respondent mentioned especially the "buzz of tourists" and "comments

of guides through a microphone"). In listing the answers received to question No. 2 ("Please

make a list of three sounds which you imagine when someone says "Loreta Square") I thus worked

with 40 responses, while here with 38 respondents.

[12] 2 respondents named several sources of noise from automobile traffi c. In the fi rst case (questionnaire

No. 66) the respondent named 3 sources: "the deep sound of motors of standing microbuses",

"the sound of wheels of passing autos" and "the sound of motors of passing autos". In the second case

(questionnaire No. 71) the respondent named 2 sources: "autos" and "autobuses". In listing the statements

received in question No. 8 ("Does the noise exist on LS in your opinion? If yes, in what situations

and contexts?"), I therefore worked with 28 responses, while here with 25 respondents.

[13] In view of the fact that these images, thoughts and memories of respondents were very varied,

belonging to concrete groups can in some cases be understood as approximate and these answers

could belong to several categories.

[14] Here it is necessary to refer to the approach of the research team that was organized around

the social philosopher Jean-François Augoyard and the architect and geographer Pascal Amphoux in

the research institute Centre de Reserche sur l'Espace Sonore et l'Environnement Urbain (henceforth

only CRESSON), which was founded in the French city of Grenoble in 1979, about which Schafer says

that this is "perhaps the most significant team of ‘soundscape' researchers in the world today ..." This

team developed a complex research method for the identifi cation and analysis of specifi c, representative

locations in an urban environment which give the city its sonic identity. The key works which

were focused on a description of this research method and its application in fi eld research were published

at the beginning of the 1990s (viz. references).

Vydání: 9, 2007, 1

Sources

Amphoux, P. (1991): Aux écoutes de la ville: La qualité sonore des espaces publics
européens [Listening to the city: The sonic quality of public spaces]. No. 94.
Lausanne: Institut de Recherche sur l’Environnement Construit, Département
d’Architecture, école Polytechnique Féderale de Lausanne.
Amphoux, P. (1993a): L’identité sonore des villes européennes – Tome 1: Techniques
d’enquętes [The sonic identity of European cities; tome 1: Survey Techniques].
No. 117. Grenoble: Centre de Recherche sur l’Espace Sonore et l’Environnement
Urbain, École d’Architecture de Grenoble and Lausanne: Institut de Recherche
sur l’Environnement Construit, ノcole Polytechnique de Lausanne.
Amphoux, P. (1993b): L’identité sonore des villes européennes – Tome 2: Répertoire de concepts [The sonic identity of European cities; tome 2: Repertory of concepts].
No. 117. Grenoble: Centre de Recherche sur l’Espace Sonore et l’Environnement
Urbain, École d’Architecture de Grenoble and Lausanne: Institut de Recherche
sur l’Environnement Construit, École Polytechnique de Lausanne.
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cloveka_a_ekologicka_akustika.html
Franěk, M. (2005): Hudební psychologie. 1st edition. Prague: Karolinum.
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Havránek, J. (1990): Hluk a zdraví. Prague: Avicenum.
Havránek, J. (1997): Hudební hluk. In: Vesmír, Vol. 76, pp. 167169.
Schafer, R. M. (1994): The Tuning of the World. New York: Knopf, 1977. Reissued as
The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and The Tuning of the World. Edition unlisted. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books.
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on the Contemporary Soundscape. Edition unlisted. Toronto, Ontario: Arcana Editions.
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