“The Soundscape” questions the sounds around us, how these compositions came to be, and why it is important to think of the composition of musicalities as both an art form and a highly applicable industrial technology with unforeseen benefits.
In the article, author Schafer R. Murray gives an outline of the book that follows this title to introduce the reader to the concept of the consideration of music more broadly than just an art form, especially with the rather fluid definition of music we’ve come to use today, which can be boiled down to collection of sounds. Originally, music came from a field of origin based in either the Apollonian idea of reason and harmony, or the Dionysian concept of eudaemonia, which resulted in more arrhythmic or chaotic pieces. these restrictions on sound became too limiting for composers, so many of them began to find the musicality of the natural world, i.e. the sounds of nature, and birds, and cities.
While it is great that composers are taking a step to expanding the artistic expression of sound, “The Soundscape” brings out the idea of sound design. Just as there may be architects and stylists there can be creators of soundscapes. Murray talks about how, as an assumption, the sounds that surround people are often indicative of the state of the society that those sounds dominate. Where western culture has held aesthetics in terms of sight far above sound, many other cultures consider sound much more important. A study of the effects of sound on societies, insofar as a comprehensive human condition is concerned, is more than necessary. It may be the case that the creation of design relating to the sounds that exist around us may be a key insight to develop the understanding of human psychology and potentially the negative effects that otherwise unsung problems may have upon us and how to change them.
As far as life today is concerned, our auditory perception is highly saturated. It is not unreasonable to assume that this excess noise, or noise pollution, is impacting our health in one way or another. Furthermore, any effects on ourselves may be extendable to the animal kingdom around us. What can be inferred is that the understanding of the impacts of sound within modern society are barely impressionable, if not for the reasons stated in the article by Murray, then purely to better our understanding of the world around us we must study the effects of sound on humans.