Reflections on Sonic Environments

Vincent Meelberg and Marcel Cobussen

Your Space

Where are you? … Where are you while reading these words? Where are you while listening to the included sound files? … Please, stop reading for a moment … No! Don’t look around to orient yourself! (Probably that won’t even be necessary – you know you are: in your office, at home, commuting, in a transit place, a hotel, with your parents or (girl) friend …) Don’t look: Listen! … Listen to the sounds of the space you inhabit at this very moment … What do you hear? … Perhaps you can make an (imaginary) list …

Can you describe some of the sounds acoustically, physically? How do you perceive them? Their duration (attack, body, decay), their frequency, their inflections, their dynamic. What are their functions, their meanings? What are their emotional or affective qualities? (Cf. Schafer 1994: 133) …

Become aware of your sonic environment, how the space you’re in is also determined by its sounds … Perhaps you would like to remove or add some sounds … Create your own sonic space (without using your portable audio devices) … You don’t need to become blind for this. Just keep your ears open.


                                                                                                                              The Study

                                                        The Shop

            Sirens                                                                                                                                                                  The Gym


                    The Bedroom


                             The Ear and/versus the Eye

                Sound Design    



                                                    Footsteps                                                                                                                                      Rattle and Hum

                                                                       Your Space