Accepted Paper:

Acoustic communities articulated: sound preferences in village of Dollar, Scotland  


Heikki Uimonen (University of Tampere)

Paper short abstract:

The paper introduces Sound Preference Tests carried out during fieldwork in Scottish Village of Dollar in years 1975, 2000 & 2011. The method enables a comparison of the liked and disliked sounds of three different generations and thus helps the study of soundscapes in change, acoustic communication and acoustic communities of a given place.

Paper long abstract:

The ubiquitous but often unnoticed sounds make the research of everyday sonic environment somewhat challenging for anthropologists, ethnomusicologists or anyone studying soundscapes in urban and rural environments. One method to overcome this obstacle is Sound Preference Test invented by World Soundscape Project (1975) and further developed by Acoustic Environments in Change (2000) and Soundscapes and Sustainabilty (2011) projects carried out in various European villages, including Scottish village of Dollar.

Theoretically, the paper draws on concept of acoustic community. By Barry Truax's definition it is 'any soundscape in which acoustic information plays a pervasive role in the lives of the inhabitants (no matter how the commonality of such people is understood)'. The paper seeks to answer how the acoustic community of Dollar, and more specifically the ones consisting of the local Strathdevon Primary School pupils, have changed over the last quarter of the century.

The empirical part of the paper introduces the recent Sound Preference Test carried out with pupils of Strathdevon Primary School paying special attention on how their acoustic communities were articulated. The results are then compared to ones of the previous studies. In addition to that, a method called Recorded Listening Walk will be briefly presented.

Panel W088
Sound environments: forms, perception, and meanings