Start by listening to the sounds of your body while moving. They are closest to you and establish the first dialogue between you and the environment. If you can hear even the quietest of these sounds you are moving through an environment which is scaled on human proportions. In other words, with your voice or your footsteps for instance, you are „talking” to your environment which then in turn responds by giving your sounds a specific acoustic quality.
Try to move without making any sound.Is it possible?
Which isthe quietest sound of your body?
(If, however, you cannot hear the sounds you yourself produce, you experience a soundscape out of balance. Human proportions haveno meaning here. Not only are your voice and footsteps inaudible but alsoyour ear is dealing with an overload of sound).
Lead your ears away from your own sounds andlisten to the sounds nearby.
What do you hear? (Make a list)
What else do you hear?Other people, nature sounds, mechanical sounds
How many continuous sounds
Can you detect interesting rhythm, regular beats, the highest, the lowest pitch.
Do you hear any intermittent or discrete sounds, rustles, bangs, swishes thuds
What are the sources of the different sounds?
What else do you hear?
Lead your ears away from these sounds and listenbeyond—–into the distance.What is the quietest sound?What else do you hear?
So far you have isolated sounds from each other in your listening and gotten to know them as individual entities. But each one of them is part of a bigger environmental composition. Therefore reassemble them all and listen to them as if to a piece of music played by many different instruments. Do you like what you hear? Pick out the sounds you like the most and create the ideal soundscape in the context of your present surroundings. What would be its main characteristics? Is it just an idealistic dream or could it be made a reality?
from: „Soundwalking” Hildegard Westerkamp // originally published in Sound Heritage, Volume III Number 4, Victoria B.C., 1974. Revised 2001 published in: Autumn Leaves, Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practice, Ed. Angus Carlyle, Double Entendre, Paris, 2007, p. 49. http://www.sfu.ca/~westerka/writings%20page/articles%20pages/soundwalking.html