Soundscapes of Canada

10 one-hour radio programs based on the sounds of Canadian acoustic environment

first presented on CBC-FM "Ideas", October 21 to November 1, 1974

prepared by the World Soundscape Project, Sonic Research Studio, Department of Communication Studies, Simon Fraser University

R. Murray Schafer, director and host

with Howard Broomfield, Bruce Davis, Peter Huse (assistant director), Barry Truax, Adam Woog


In the fall of 1973, researchers of the
World Soundscape Project undertook an extended field recording tour of Canada. Material collected during that tour forms the basis of this series of radio compositions, each of which treats the Canadian sound environment uniquely. Every programme is a special listening experience in itself, and as such often explores new dimensions of the radio medium. The idea of the "soundscape" is new; it concerns aspects of the environment not generally recognized or valued, and has considerable implications for the problem of noise pollution in Canada. These programmes are designed to stimulate listeners' awareness of sound and its perception, in the hope that they might take positive and constructive interest in their own sound environment.

Program I: Six Themes of the Soundscape, by Barry Truax and R. Murray Schafer. An introduction to the soundscape via the themes: Rhythm & Tempo; Ambience and Acoustic Space; Language; Gestures & Textures; The Changing Soundscape; Silence.

Program II: Part One: Listening, ear-cleaning activity with R. Murray Schafer. Part Two: Games, playing environments as soundscapes, by Bruce Davis.

Program III: Signals, Keynotes, and Soundmarks, an illustrated discussion of prominent sounds across Canada: foghorns, whistles, and sirens, by Bruce Davis and R. Murray Schafer.


St. Peter's Anglican church, Twillingate, NF


Chebucto Head Light Station and foghorn, NS

Program IV: Soundmarks of Canada, a composition recreating the acoustic profile of community sounds unique to Canadian locales, coast to coast, by Peter Huse.

Program V: Summer Solstice, excerpts from a 24-hour field recording documenting the daily cycles of the natural soundscape.

WSP recording setup at Westminster Abbey, Mission, BC,
June 1974, on the summer solstice

Bruce Davis recording with the stereo Nagra machine, June 1974

Program VI: Directions, a cross-Canada polyphonic composition of dialects and accents, by Peter Huse.

Program VII: Part One: Dawn Chorus, an early-morning recital of birds on the summer solstice. Part Two: Work, a composition by Bruce Davis.

Program VIII: Part One: A Maritime Diary, a composition by Barry Truax. Part Two: Soundscape Design, an illustrated talk by R. Murray Schafer about the design of the acoustic environment.

Program IX: A Radio Programme About Radio, an ethnophonic composition of the stuff of radio, by Howard Broomfield.

Program X: Part One: Soundscape Study, a composition of rhythms in space and time by Barry Truax. Part Two: Bells of Percé, a composition by Bruce Davis based on the sounds of the bells in Percé, Québec.


Church at Percé, Québec


Father Jean Racine, Percé, Québec


NOTE: Custom CD copies of these programs are available for Can$70. plus postage for the set of 10, Can$10. plus postage for individual programs. For details regarding precise costs and payment, contact Barry Truax (truax@sfu.ca).


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