Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?: Experiencing Aural Architecture

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-10-30
  • Publisher: Mit Pr
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Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2007. We experience spaces not only by seeing but also by listening. We can navigate a room in the dark, and "hear" the emptiness of a house without furniture. Our experience of music in a concert hall depends on whether we sit in the front row or under the balcony. The unique acoustics of religious spaces acquire symbolic meaning. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness: experiencing space by attentive listening. Every environment has an aural architecture. The audible attributes of physical space have always contributed to the fabric of human culture, as demonstrated by prehistoric multimedia cave paintings, classical Greek open-air theaters, Gothic cathedrals, acoustic geography of French villages, modern music reproduction, and virtual spaces in home theaters. Auditory spatial awareness is a prism that reveals a culture's attitudes toward hearing and space. Some listeners can learn to "see" objects with their ears, but even without training, we can all hear spatial geometry such as an open door or low ceiling. Integrating contributions from a wide range of disciplines-including architecture, music, acoustics, evolution, anthropology, cognitive psychology, audio engineering, and many others-Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?establishes the concepts and language of aural architecture. These concepts provide an interdisciplinary guide for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how space enhances our well-being. Aural architecture is not the exclusive domain of specialists. Accidentally or intentionally, we all function as aural architects.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
A Personal Perspectivep. ix
Introduction to Aural Architecturep. 1
Auditory Spatial Awarenessp. 11
Introduction to Hearing Spacep. 12
The Social Components of Aural Architecturep. 20
Navigating Space by Listeningp. 35
Aural Enrichments in Architecturep. 51
Application of Spatiality Principlesp. 64
Aural Space from Prehistory to Presentp. 67
The Aural Experience of Space as a Cultural Filterp. 68
Auditory Awareness as an Extension of Religionp. 82
Social Forces Influence Aural Spacesp. 93
Industrialization Creates New Aural Attitudesp. 103
Aural Arts and Musical Spacesp. 127
Musical Space as an Artistic Abstractionp. 129
Enclosures Produce Temporal and Spatial Spreadingp. 133
Abstract Dimensions and Artistic Conceptsp. 149
Inventing Virtual Spaces for Musicp. 163
Artistic Dimensions of Space and Locationp. 166
Artistic Implications of Technical Issuesp. 183
Art and Engineering Converge in Enveloping Soundp. 203
Scientific Perspectives on Spatial Acousticsp. 215
Evaluating the Aural Experience of Concert Hallsp. 217
Scientific Models of Enclosed Spacesp. 235
Visiting the Inside of Reverberatorsp. 260
Spatial Innovators and Their Private Agendasp. 275
Social Values: Goals, Rewards, and Careersp. 278
Intellectual Frameworks: Assumptions and Paradigmsp. 297
Auditory Spatial Awareness as Evolutionary Artifactp. 317
Evolutionary By-Products Define Modern Humansp. 319
Hearing as a Means for Navigating and Communicatingp. 335
Interdependence of Biology, Nature, and Culturep. 347
Concluding Commentsp. 361
Notesp. 365
Referencesp. 369
Indexp. 405
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