Image Weeknotes Soundscape

We are constantly surrounded and unconsciously affected by sound. The busy noise of urban traffic causes stress, the repetitive beat on the dance floor makes us forget ourselves, the joyful screaming in an amusement park makes us shiver with anticipation for the roller coaster ride, even the seeming silence of a calm, nightly lake helps us to relax. These scenes are soundscapes, acoustic environments that each convey a complex meaning only by the means of hearing, by the one-dimensional moving of our ear drums.

Moreover, “soundscape” is a cultural-scientific and artistic discipline, that tries to unfold a holistic perspective on sound in its sociocultural context. The 19th Hybrid Talks turned towards this topic and presented three researchers who explained the significance of soundscape within their work and thus illustrated its multidisciplinary potential.

As the first speaker of the evening and famous soundscape expert, Prof. Dr. Barry Truax, provided a deeper insight into his scientific ideas. He already had presented his artistic work at the Hybrid Event “From the Unseen World” on December 17, 2015. Maybe it was this wonderful concert that convinced so many people to attend these Hybrid Talks – every chair, table and everything else you can sit on was occupied. In his presentation “The Soundscape Concept and the Acoustic Community”, Traux gave a brief overview of the soundscape concept and its background, textually and historically.

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp is head of the Psychoacoustics, Noise Perception and Noise Effects Group at the TU Berlin. Her contribution focused on recent psycho-acoustical aspects of soundscapes in electric vehicles. Under the title “Perception as the Constituent in Sound Design – the Soundscape of a Car” she presented a pilot study, in which drivers described their qualitative perception of an electric car’s driving sound.

In the last presentation of the evening, Prof. Dr. Stefan Weinzierl talked about “Auralization as Acoustic Re-enactment of Historical Environments”. He explained how soundscapes that seem lost and forgotten by history can be digitally simulated and thus virtually brought back into life. This process of “auralization” was impressively demonstrated with sound pieces by two projects of the TU Berlin’s Audio Communication Group – we listened to the sound of different historical concert halls in Leipzig and the Forum Romanum 200 BC!

The lectures were followed by lively discussions and networking, accompanied by snacks and drinks. With the end of the 19th Hybrid Talks a short but intensive series of events on the topic of “soundscape” concluded. We thank our guests for their intriguing contributions and the audience for their interest and hope the coming year will continue to be this inspiring.

– Marten