The theme of soundscapes is a very broad reaching topic that could really include anything in our sonic world. Despite this, the topics of my group actually fit quite well in relation to each other and collectively represent the evolution or change of soundscapes. My topic fits into this by examining a snippet of history where the soundscape would have changed dramatically in a relatively short amount of time, making it a sonically interesting time to study and ties in well through my group’s topic of changing and evolving soundscapes. Specifically, I plan to look at the change of the natural or “ecological soundscape” of the New England region in pre-Colonial times versus when European settlers came to the area. Under this topic, I have three main subtopics, which look at how land treatment practices, hunting techniques, and language changed the soundscape.
Exemplifying sounds that would occur in the soundscape I’m studying is difficult since there were no recording devices in the time period I’m examining, but I have two contrasting sound clips that offer contrasting snippets of sound the Native Americans versus the settlers would hear. The first is birdcalls: although the European settlers undoubtedly heard them too, many songbird species and specifically the passage pigeon were hunted close to extinction.
The second clip is the sound of chopping wood; a sound well known to the settlers as they clear cut much of the forested areas in the north east.
My animated picture: