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Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?
Experiencing Aural Architecture

By Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter

MIT Press 2007
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Learning to hear auditory spaces and their attributes: (under construction)

Although musicians and sound engineers are encouraged to acquire a heightenend sensitity to sound though formal ear training programs, there is a lack of a corresponding opportunity to acquire an appreciation for spatial acoustics and soundscapes. The lessons on this page provide the basics of ear training for spatiality.

You will find numerous sound files that illustrate how spaces changes sound. Part of the difficulty in doing spatial ear training arises from the variety of listening configurations. A listener might be using headphones, a pair of computer stereo loudspeakers, a 5.1 surround home theater, or an advanced ambisonic system. Each system influences the recreation of a spatial experience. I strongly recommend listening with headphones if available. These sound files demonstrate the basic principles of aural architecture, which is one component of the soundscape.

Because experiencing aural architecture requires the presence of sound to illuminate the space, and because most people focus on the sound source rather than on the way that it was changed by a space, it takes some practice to focus on aural architecture rather than the original sound. For this reason, the examples progress for dramatic to subtle. All files are mp3.

Last Modified: 20 January 2008