Progress in soundscape studies from the perspective of cultural geography
LIU Aili, LIU Fucheng, DENG Zhiyong, LIU Min, YAO Changhong
PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY
2014, 33 (11):
With the development of cultural geography, sensory geography represented by soundscape and auditory geography has become an important subfield of cultural geography. However, reviews of related research show that sound phenomenon and soundscape have not been paid enough attention by cultural geographers. Out of the need of research of cultural geography on sound phenomenon and soundscape, this article introduces the concept and related framework of "soundscape" to expand the perspective of cultural geography. The article first elaborates on the significance of studying sound phenomenon and soundscape by reviewing the previous research of cultural geography both within China and abroad. Three temporal and spatial characteristics of sound phenomenon are identified: (1) Sound is produced in certain place and on certain time spot; (2) Sound is broadcast and distributed from one space to another, therefore, spatiality is one of sound's inherent attributes; (3) Sound together with the environment in which it exists forms a certain cultural symbiosis phenomenon, which means sound could reflect the social and cultural meanings of local communities and regions. Second, related literature of soundscape studies is reviewed from the perspective of cultural geography in six aspects. Third, distinctive differences are identified in sound research between Chinese and Western scholars. Chinese scholars mainly use music geography as a theoretical basis to conduct studies on sound phenomenon, while Western scholars borrow the concept of soundscape to analyze relationships among sound, listeners, and the native environment that produces sound. Bearing these differences in mind, this article makes a systematic review of literature on soundscape, with the hope of providing detailed and effective guidance on future Chinese study on sound phenomenon under the framework of soundscape. The conclusions of this article include two parts: (1) Sensory geography including hearing, smell, touch, memory, and so on will become an important subfields of cultural geography. The innovation of research subjects, perspectives, and methodologies of sensory geography will ultimately facilitate the enrichment of cultural geography's theoretical framework. Cultural geographers in China have not paid much attention to the study of sound phenomenon, even on music geography. The system and framework of music geography still need consistent research by cultural geographers to reach its maturity. Apart from music geography, Western scholars have conducted research on sound systematically from the perspective of soundscape. Through introducing the concept of soundscape and methodology of soundscape study in the West, the emergence and development of soundscape research in China will benefit studies of cultural geography on sound phenomenon. (2) The review on the progress in soundscape research, that is, the temporal and spatial characteristics of soundscape, the relationship between soundscape and sense of space, the relationship between soundscape and well-being, the socio-cultural implications of soundscape, the application of soundscape in geography practice, and music geography, provides detailed information about how to use soundscape to study sound phenomenon, especially in the fields of recreation management and landscape planning. This will be instrumental to the study of soundscape by cultural geography in China.
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