Soundscapes over time

As technology advances and there are more and more people in the world, their sounds begin to reach further into less touched areas of the planet. Schafer’s comments about the acoustic presence of humans in the global soundscape reminds me of animals that are negatively affected by the additional sounds created by humans in the Anthropocene. The first type of animal that comes to mind is a whale, a staple part of the oceanic soundscape, as their calls can communicate over many miles. The addition of things like cargo ships negatively affect the whale communication and may be harmful for them to be able to find both food and mates in order to reproduce. The second animal that comes to mind that is impacted by noisier soundscapes are owls who use their hearing as a large part of their hunting system to locate prey.

I also found that the association between soundscapes and history are largely overlooked. A soundscape or recording of an are could tell a historian about where that place is and how it functions. For example, a soundscape recorded in Deli, India, would be distinctly different from on filmed in St. Petersburg. Those two soundscapes would be distinctly different, allowing a historian to deconstruct the lives of people in different areas, giving better perceptions of how individuals live.

On page 10, Schafer comments that “In the West the ear gave way to the eye as the most important gatherer of information about the time of the Renaissance, with the development of the printing press and perspective painting.” That mostly speaks to the transition in the way the world consumed media, prior to that, literacy rates were much lower, meaning that people would have to hear things like news by ear. The change in soundscape between pre-renaissance and post-industrial revolution is therefore drastic in urban centers, not only because of advancement in manufacturing ability but the change of human habit. The transition between the time periods would be very clear if the two different soundscapes could have been recorded.

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