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Theater Acoustic Ecology

Acoustic Ecology

A musician named R. Murray Schafer developed the concept of acoustic ecology. He proposed that we should attempt to hear the natural acoustics around us as a composition of music. It is a major concern that our acoustic ecology is deteriorating. Human created sounds are drowning out the sounds of nature and are affecting wildlife both on land and in the ocean. Whales are being displaced by the sounds of oil drilling, ship traffic is affecting fish, and off-road vehicles are changing the natural habits of many wildlife animals.

Acoustic Ecology Organizations


  • Bay Area Sound Ecology – A group in the San Francisco Bay area created to promote sound and environment awareness.
  • Nature Sounds – This is an organization dedicated to the preservation of natural sounds.
  • The American Society for Acoustic Ecology – An organization that looks at sound in nature and in human societies. This organization also works to promote public awareness for the restoration of natural sound environments.

Research Organizations for Acoustic Ecology


  • World Listening Project – An organization that uses listening and field recording to understand natural environments around the world.
  • Bioacoustics Research Program – Cornell University's webpage with information on projects and studies on acoustics and the effects on animals.

Informational Websites


  • Earth Ear – A website with information on audio productions that are recording of sounds in nature.
  • Bioacoustics – This has information on bioacoustics and acoustic ecology.
  • New Music Box – An article about sounds in nature as music, with information about Schafer's idea of acoustic ecology.

Issues Associated with Acoustic Ecology


  • Wildlands Issues – How the winter use of Yellowstone National Park is affecting the acoustic ecology.
  • Science Daily – FEMA for kids teaches kids about volcanoes and how to prepare a disaster supply kit.
  • Earth Island Journal – Information about how humans are interfering with the natural soundscape.
  • Nova – An article on how the sounds created by humans are affecting marine life.
  • Science Daily – An article about the endangered gray whale being displaced from their feeding grounds because of the acoustic noise used to detect oil and gas.
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