module specification

AR7061 - The Soundscape of Modernity (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title The Soundscape of Modernity
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 200
 
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seminar 30%   Seminar Presentation
Coursework 70%   Essay 4000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City - Morning

Module summary

AR061 The Soundscape of Modernity.

The module offers an interdisciplinary study of music and architecture in a historical context, with a focus on the theory of the soundscape of modernity in relation to architecture and urban design, and the practical application of sonic studies in the built environment.

Prior learning requirements

None

Module aims

This module aims to introduce a culture of listening in architecture and urban design. It explores the rich opportunities that lie in an interdisciplinary study of music and architecture and aims to introduce a new body of research and writing to architectural history and theory.

Syllabus

Starting from more traditional studies of music and architecture in the context of harmony and proportion, this module locates the question of sound and architecture in a widening field of enquiry that emerged with modern art, composition and modernist writings on music as well as the rise of field recording, sonic studies and sound art in the early 20th century. It investigates music as a social and anthropological phenomenon that shares a common history with architecture and examines how critical cultural transformations are expressed in both disciplines.

 

In doing so, it follows the model of other academic disciplines, such as geography, anthropology, psychology or engineering, which all have formed separate sonic enquiries. It responds to a marked increase in awareness of the role of sound in the built environment and how sonic enquiries not only affect creative processes in architecture but also legislation and government policies.

 

The module allows students to explore these topics through a number of readings, film and audio-screenings and practical exercises such as sound surveys of sites, sound-mapping and sound-walks. It follows the model of ‘action research’, which aims to re-evaluate traditional and consolidated processes in architectural design through the practical application of new theories and ways of thinking.

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy is to employ theoretical understanding to help motivate a considered but imaginative response to the task of writing about architecture. The module comprises a mixture of seminars that include introductory talks, close readings and discussion of set texts, alongside workshops that discuss a looser range of ideas and consider examples of writing, including student writing.

As this module explores an emerging area of research, it allows students to actively shape the learning outcome and the opportunity to take ownership of how the module fits in with their personal development.

 

The module uses WebLearn as the central resource where readings and other module information is made available to students online.

 

The teaching and learning strategy is to employ theoretical understanding to help motivate a considered but imaginative response to the task of writing about architecture. The module comprises a mixture of seminars that include introductory talks, close readings and discussion of set texts, alongside workshops that discuss a looser range of ideas and consider examples of writing, including student writing.

 

A number of short writing exercises encourage students to explore the module’s topic independently early on and form preliminary ideas for their final written essay. Exploratory seminars (sound walks, visits to museums, galleries, archives) complement the close study of theoretical writing.

 

Opportunities for pdp are available through the portfolio of work developed for the assessment, supported by individual tutorials.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the student should be able to:

 

1. engage with the culture of sound and listening in order to inform creative processes in architecture and urban design;
2. apply this knowledge in a practical environment with skill and confidence;
3. demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and cultural relationship between music and architecture.

Assessment strategy

The assessment will comprise of a media based/written project equivalent to an essay of 4000 words (70%), class presentations on a text and/or a sound-based exploration of architecture and the city (30%).

Bibliography

1. Rasmusssen, Steen Eiler, Experiencing Architecture(Cambridge, Mass:MIT Press, 1989)
2. Lucier, Alvin, Reflections: interviews, scores, writings (MusikTexte, 1995)
3. Crow, Frances, ‘Noise Mapping: Tracing Sound’, in Earshot, 5 (2008)
4. Blesser, Barry and Linda-RuthSalter, Spaces Speak, are you Listening?Experiencing aural architecture(Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 2007)
5. Top, David, Ocean of Sound: aether talk, ambient sound and imaginary worlds (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1995)
6. Labelle, Brandon, Acoustic Territories: sound culture and everyday life (London: Continuum, 2010)
7. Schafer, R. Murray, The Tuning of the World(New York: Knopf, 1977.
8. Attali, Jacques, Noise: the political economy of music (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985)
9. Adorno, Theodor, Essays on Music (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002)
10. Thompson, Emily, The Soundscape of Modernity: architectural acoustics and the culture of listening in America, 1900–1933 (Cambridge, Mass:MIT Press, 2002)
11. Ripley, Colin, In the Place of Sound: architecture, music, acoustics (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007)
12. Avidar, Ganchrow&Kursell, eds, ‘Immersed: sound and architecture’ in Oase, 78 (Utrecht: NAi Publishers, 2009)