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Hardcover | ISBN: 9780262026055 | 456 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 20 illus.| October 2006
Paperback | $24.95 Trade | £17.95 | ISBN: 9780262513173 | 456 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 20 illus.| September 2009
Ebook | $17.95 Trade | ISBN: 9780262254748 | 456 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 20 illus.| September 2009
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Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?

Experiencing Aural Architecture


We experience spaces not only by seeing but also by listening. We can navigate a room in the dark, and "hear" the emptiness of a house without furniture. Our experience of music in a concert hall depends on whether we sit in the front row or under the balcony. The unique acoustics of religious spaces acquire symbolic meaning. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness: experiencing space by attentive listening. Every environment has an aural architecture.The audible attributes of physical space have always contributed to the fabric of human culture, as demonstrated by prehistoric multimedia cave paintings, classical Greek open-air theaters, Gothic cathedrals, acoustic geography of French villages, modern music reproduction, and virtual spaces in home theaters. Auditory spatial awareness is a prism that reveals a culture's attitudes toward hearing and space. Some listeners can learn to "see" objects with their ears, but even without training, we can all hear spatial geometry such as an open door or low ceiling.Integrating contributions from a wide range of disciplines--including architecture, music, acoustics, evolution, anthropology, cognitive psychology, audio engineering, and many others--Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? establishes the concepts and language of aural architecture. These concepts provide an interdisciplinary guide for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how space enhances our well-being. Aural architecture is not the exclusive domain of specialists. Accidentally or intentionally, we all function as aural architects.

About the Authors

As a former Professor at MIT and a founder of digital audio, Barry Blesser has spent the last 40 years working at the junction of audio, acoustics, perception, and cognitive psychology.

Linda-Ruth Salter, Ph.D., is an independent scholar who has spent the last 25 years focusing on the interdisciplinary relationship of art, space, culture, and technology.


"Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? is book that would round out the collection of musician, engineer, architect, musical historian, or philosopher." Colin Novak International Journal of Acoustics and Vibration"—

"Outstanding Academic Title, 2007. Choice"—


“At last, a book that reveals that spaces are meaningful beyond their acoustics! I was captivated by this impressively well-documented book, and recommend it to anyone with an interest in acoustics or architecture.”--Jean-Dominique Polack, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris"—

"The 'final frontier' of computer music is undoubtedly microsound--the quantum level of acoustics--and Curtis Roads boldly leads us into this new domain, which will become increasingly important in the 21st century. In providing the history, theory, and compositional practice of the micro scale of sound design, Roads clearly lays out the roadmap to this exciting and challenging area of digital research. The book is destined to become the standard reference in the field for years to come."--Barry Truax, Professor and Composer, Simon Fraser UniversityPlease note: Endorser gives permission to excerpt from quote."—

"Kristen Haring has constructed an engaging account of ham radio culture in mid-twentieth-century America. In so doing, she illuminates how people assign meaning to--and identify with--technologies of all kinds, thus her book will be of value to all students of technological culture."--Emily Thompson, Professor of History, Princeton University, and author of *The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933*"—