How the World Listens : The Human Relationship with Sound across the World book cover
1st Edition

How the World Listens
The Human Relationship with Sound across the World





ISBN 9781032015668
Published September 26, 2022 by Focal Press
244 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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USD $46.95

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Book Description

How the World Listens explores our everyday and professional interactions with sound. The book aims to uncover the human relationship with sound across the world and to reveal practical ways in which a better understanding of listening can help us in our daily lives.

This book asks how sound is perceived, expressed and interacted with in both remarkably similar and dramatically different ways across the world. Using findings from a new scientific study, conducted exclusively for this book, we embark on a globe-trotting adventure across more than thirty countries, through exclusive interviews with more than fifty individuals from all walks of life, from acousticians and film composers to human resource managers and costumiers.

How the World Listens is essential reading for anyone with an interest in human relationships with sound, including but not limited to sound design and music composition professionals, teachers and researchers.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

List of Figures

List of Tables

Acknowledgements

INTRODUCTION

Origins and precedent

The habitus

Sociocultural theory

CHAPTER ONE: SOUND AND THEORY

Asking the right questions

A (quite) brief review of sound theory & perspectives

What is sound?

Sound as a soundwave

Sound as an object or an event (or both […] or neither)

Extending sound theory even further

Beyond the acoustic definition

What is listening and how is sound controlled?

Typologies of listening

The function of sound

Acoustic ecology

Chapter One summary: questions begetting questions

CHAPTER TWO: SOUND AND RESEARCH

The madness, the methodology, and the method

The chain of study design, and its four links

The research onion

Approaching ethnography

Qualitative v. quantitative

The function and values of ethnography (and when to use it)

Some key trends in ethnography

Autoethnography

Is ethnography the right choice for studying sound?

Making sense of sound studies

Ethnomusicology, for a bit of history

Does sound studies actually study sound?

Approaching sound studies

So, you want to do some interviews?

When and how to use an interview

The ethnographic interview

Analysing interview results

How can technology help?

The chosen method

Chapter Two summary: So, how did it all go then?

CHAPTER THREE: SOUND AND MEANING

Immediate reactions

Emergent themes

Objective aspects of sound

Meaning through definition

Perceptual responses

Immersion and persistence in sound

The listener

Functions and values

The affordances of sound

The value of sound

Affect and identity

Feeling and the emotional aspects of sound

Music, affect, and identity

Sound and spirituality

Meaning through work

Chapter Three summary: the meaning of sound’s meaning

CHAPTER FOUR: SOUND AND CULTURE

Themes of culture and sound in research

Earlier research

More contemporary perspectives

How should we be defining ‘culture’?

Initial thoughts from the interviews

Short and sweet responses

Detailed, and a little more intimate

Emerging topics for further discussion

The sound of coffee

Synaesthesia

Music and culture

Local, historical, and seasonal effects

Voice and language

Religion and ceremony

Chapter Four summary: not something I normally think about

CHAPTER FIVE: SOUND AND PLACE

How does the world sound?

Conceptualising the soundscape

Continental soundscapes

The Big Ice

Application of soundscape studies

Pre-interview observations of sound and place

Some local perspectives

A question of sport

The quiet revolution of electric vehicles

Application of soundscape studies

Europe and the Russian federation

Sonic boundaries and the sounds of city and countryside

Meteorological effects

Asia and Oceania

Defining the Eastern soundscape

Different beeps and louder dogs

Soundscapes and routine

Common features, topology, and long-term human influences

The Americas

Biodiversity and the effects of migration

The calls of commerce

Africa

Tradition and spirituality

Transportation

A brief epilogue: sound everywhere and nowhere

Chapter Five summary: there’s a lot going on

CHAPTER SIX: SOUND AND EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE

How does sound function in your everyday life?

Background sound

Situational awareness

Challenges with sound

What is your relationship with sound within your home?

Outside sound sources and architectural effects

Sources of sound from inside the home

Sound, stress, anxiety, and relaxation in the home

Good and bad sound in an everyday context

Pre-interview observations

The good, the bad, and the "well, it depends…"

The etiquette of sound

Sound-etiquette in domestic life

Respectful sound in public

Social sound and vocal expression

Chapter Six summary: who doesn’t like the sound of a crow cawing?

CHAPTER SEVEN: SOUND AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

How does sound feature in your profession?

General functions of sound at work

Sonic warfare

Sound professional by industry

Digital games

Film and theatre

Sound professionals’ relationships with sound

Awareness and readiness to capture

Impact on everyday enjoyment

Changes in perspective

Perceptual effects

Cultural factors, expectations, and creative response

Cultural effects on practice

Universality and concerns over detracting from the art

Different standards and expectations

The return of the East-West dichotomy

A few further examples

Chapter Seven summary: on the verge of global sound?

CONCLUSION

Final answers

Is the human relationship with sound different around the world?

What did you learn from your autoethnography?

Do you still hate qualitative research?

Index

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Author(s)

Biography

Tom A. Garner is a Senior Lecturer in Interactive Technologies at the University of Portsmouth. Originally from a background in popular music performance, Tom now works extensively in emergent approaches to auditory perception and extended reality (XR) technology. His previous books include Sonic Virtuality and Echoes of Other Worlds.