World Soundscape Project

WSP Team (1973): R.Murray Schafer, Bruce Davis, Peter Huse, Barry Truax, Howard Broomfield

Acoustic Crew (2010): Nathan Clarkson, Jennifer Schine, Vincent Andrisani, Milena Droumeva, David Murphy

Sonic Studio (2015): Barry Truax, David Murphy, Paul Bennett, Milena Droumeva

The World Soundscape Project (WSP) was established as an educational and research group by R. Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It grew out of Schafer's initial attempt to draw attention to the sonic environment through a course in noise pollution, as well as from his personal distaste for the more raucous aspects of Vancouver's rapidly changing soundscape. Schafer's call for the establishment of the WSP was answered by a group of highly motivated young composers, activists and students: Hildegard Westerkamp, Barry Truax, Howard Broomfield, Peter Huse and Bruce Davis. Supported by The Donner Canadian Foundation, the group embarked first on a detailed study of the immediate locale - the City of Vancouver - published as The Vancouver Soundscape in 1973. In 1975, Schafer led a larger group on a European tour that included lectures and workshops in several major cities, and a research project that made detailed investigations of the soundscape of five villages, one in each of Sweden, Germany, Italy, France and Scotland, resulting in the publication of Five Village Soundscapes.  Also in 1973, Bruce Davis and Peter Huse embarked on a cross-Canada recording tour, the recordings from which formed the basis of the CBC Ideas radio series Soundscapes of Canada. The tour completed the WSP's analogue tape library which includes more than 300 tapes recorded in Canada and Europe with a stereo Nagra portable recorder. The work also produced two publications, a narrative account of the trip called European Sound Diary and a detailed soundscape analysis manuscript called Five Village Soundscapes. Schafer's definitive soundscape text, The Tuning of the World published in 1977, and Barry Truax's reference work for acoustic and soundscape terminology, the Handbook for Acoustic Ecology published in 1978, completed the publication phase of the original project. The Vancouver Soundscape Project was extended in 1993 by re-recording soundscapes in many of the same locations originally visited by the WSP team. A Vancouver Soundscape double CD with soundscape compositions based on those recording was released in 1996 by Cambridge Street Records. In 2009 professor Jan Marontate, in collaboration with Barry Truax at the School for Communication, funded a third iteration of the Vancouver Soundscape project, which involved re-recording most of the original locations in the city and producing video interviews with many of the original WSP members. In 2009 the Five Village Soundscapes was reprinted (with 2 CDs) along with the results of the Finnish study (Acoustic Environments in Change) that re-visited those sites. For additional context and information, see Barry Truax's website here.

Access to portions of the world Soundscape Project (VSP + European Collection) in sfu's RADAR

For Full WSP Database Access Contact Barry Truax