Acoustic Communication

The first edition, copyright 1984 by Ablex Publishing Corporation

The 2nd edition of Acoustic Communication, 2001, is available from ABC-Clio (, and includes the CD-ROM version of the Handbook for Acoustic Ecology

I. Sound, Listening, and Soundscape
1. Acoustic Tradition and the Communicational Approach
  • The Energy Transfer Model
  • Signal Processing
  • A Communicational Approach

2. The Listener

  • Hearing and Listening
  • Listening to the Past
  • Listening-in-Search and Listening-in-Readiness
  • Background Listening and the Keynote Sound
  • Listener Preferences and Attitudes

3. Voice and Soundmaking

  • Voice and the Whole Person
  • Paralanguage
  • Soundmaking in Pairs and Groups

4. System of Acoustic Communication: Speech, Music, and Soundscape

  • The Continuum
  • The Model
  • The Brain

5. The Acoustic Community

  • Characteristics of the Acoustic Community
  • Variety, Complexity, and Balance
  • Some Case Studies

6. Noise and the Urban Soundscape

  • Noise and Acoustic Communication
  • Interlude: The "Deaf Spots" of Noise
  • The Path Toward Change

7. Acoustic Design

  • Variety and Coherence
  • Conclusion

II. Electroacoustics - The Impact of Technology on Acoustic Communication

8. Electroacoustic Communication: Breaking Constraints
  • The New Tools: Extensions or Transformations?
  • Space and Loudness
  • Time and Repetition
  • Objectification and Commodity
  • Schizophonia

9. Electrification: The New Soundscape

  • Redundancy and Uniformity
  • Dynamic Behavior
  • Response Characteristics
  • Analog and Digital

10. The Listener as Consumer

  • Extension and Simplification
  • Analytical and Distracted Listening
  • Consumerism

11. The Electroacoustic Media: Audio Mediation

  • Form and Content in Radio
  • Radio Structure
  • Characteristics of Radio Formats

12. The Acoustic Community as Market

  • Redefinition of the Acoustic Community
  • Electroacoustic Sound in the Community
  • The International Audio Industry

13. Regaining Control: Electroacoustic Alternatives

14. Electroacoustic Design

  • Principles of Electroacoustic Design
  • Design of the Compositional System



Subject Index

Reviewer's comments:

"Acoustic Communication is an invaluable text book for those involved in social science in general and communication studies in particular. ... [it] offers a radical way to approach sound that will promote a broader and deeper understanding of sound and the relationships between sound, the listener and the environment." Kendall Wrightson, Soundscape, The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, 2(2), December 2001. Full Review.

".. there are few authors who have taken on the daunting task of discussing the general role of sound in communication, without limiting the discussion to a particular area such as film sound, radio, sound art, or electroacoustic music. Truax' work aims to discuss acoustic communication beyond the disciplinary boundaries of such works. This approach, as well as the inclusion of the interactive CD-ROM in this publication, makes it a welcome addition to the communication literature." Andra McCartney, Canadian Journal of Communication, 26(3), 445-447.

ISBN 938-1-56750-536-8.

ISBN 938-1-56750-537-5 (pbk.)