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Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?: Experiencing Aural Architecture Paperback – September 18, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0262513173 ISBN-10: 026251317X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (September 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026251317X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262513173
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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



" 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



"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.



Outstanding Academic Title, 2007. Choice



"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*

About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Richard D. Pierce on June 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A very engaging, wide-ranging look at the aural environment from many perspectives: cultural, historical, architectural, physical, sociological, political and more. The authors explore many of the deep and often times not-so-obvious connections and influences in an unusual, informative and refreshingly multi-disciplinary approach. Even though covered topics are broad in scope and complexity, the book is written in an easy and engaging conversational style that is neither academically stodgy nor technically overwhelming. But neither does it attempt to simplify the subject into shallow triviality.

Unlike many modern-day science popularizations, this book is not a simple distillation of some lofty academic field. Rather it is at once the introductory text, the major body of research and a pointer to even wider exploration of the a heretofore under-explored and under-appreciated topic. There's plenty of new and useful material here for the professional practitioner in a number of disciplines. At the same time, the entire book is accessible to the casual reader, the neophyte. No chapter or paragraph need be avoided by any reader: all are carried along with the narrative: none are left behind.

Personally, I have read book in out-of-order pieces as my busy schedule allows, without the feeling that I really should have read it in a more disciplined fashion. Rather than having to read other sections out of sheer necessity, I've gone back to fill in the holes more out of curiosity and interest.

If you want to understand the intimate connection between humans and the aural space they live in, there is no better place to find it than this book. If you're looking for a new model of understanding of a complex topic through an truly broad, interdisciplinary approach, this book is the best model I know of.

It's difficult to recommend it to highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachel E Alden on April 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting book that opens your mind to a different way of perceiving your surroundings and the way we look at architecture and spaces.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AcuVox on September 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I first heard Stevie Winwood sing about his choice between deafness and blindness, I have known that my ears where primary. This book is the authoritative confirmation.

Barry Blesser defines a "New Science" in this book, which mirrors his leading-edge career. This is a shining example of Nexialism (the Science of Everything) because it integrates conventional divisions of science and painstakingly assembled factoids into a raft of fresh multi-disciplinary theses. It represents a decades-long study utilizing creative insights, and flows with well written, compelling examples without sacrificing rigor.

I met Barry at the 1978 Convention of the Audio Engineering Society, where he was demonstrating the first professional digital reverberation generator. This mathematical room simulator was the starting point for elucidating how our ears provide us with more and better information about our environment than our eyes.

Aural acuity and aurally generated mental maps have been largely lost in our visual culture, starting with Guttenberg's enabling of widespread education through reading alone and continuing to television and Internet where LCD monitors have replaced most direct human contact. This has been exacerbated by the Industrial Age which has filled the aural environment with the noise of motors, controlled explosions and collisions. Further insult and injury to our hearing sense comes from audio production by alarms and annuciators and sound reproduction by increasingly cheaper transducers. Modern architecture has produced terrible acoustic environments, some masquerading as suitable concert and conference venues as well as residence and office.

"Spaces Speak" is a clarion call to re-gain this lost ground.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Hall on February 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am acquainted with the author, who has an unmatched background to write on this topic. Barry Blesser was instrumental in and contributed to the development of one of the world's very first digital audio delay lines (the Gotham Audio Delta-T 101), as well as the very first commercial digital reverberator (The EMT 250).

By a long shaggy-dog story, he was also responsible for the coming-into-existence of Lexicon Inc., where I worked for several years in late 70s and 1980s). That led to the development (by Dr. David Griesinger and Lexicon's team of hardware engineers) and perfection (through Dr. Griesinger's insatiable thirst for the perfect reverb algorithm) of the Lexicon 224 and (later) 480L which dominated professional digital reverberation in the 80s, 90s, and beyond. In those years, I had the honor to work directly with Dr. Griesinger (a true genius) and to witness the birth of classic hardware and software for sound artists. Dr. Blesser I knew more distantly, but have the highest regard for.

I am just now beginning, but avidly anticipate the enjoyment of, reading Dr. Blesser's ground-breaking work on the subject of human perception of acoustic spaces. I'll report again when I finish. Thank you, Barry Blesser!
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By a4j on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting and new thinking about that sound around. Recommend for sound engineers, acoustic design architects, musicians and people who love music and/or are interested in the aural spaces abounding. Do you like John Cage, Terry Riley, ee cummings? Can you sing the sound of one _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _?
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