Handbook for acoustic ecology

Truax ( Barry Truax )
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It is a great pleasure, after 25 years from its first inception and over 20 years from its first publication, to bring out a new edition of this reference work which has been used by so many people over the years - and to bring it out in a new digital format that enhances its usefulness.

In a sense, the book has been waiting for this new format all of its life. The original cross-referencing scheme, which was expressed by capitalizing the terms involved, was inspired by the original design of what was called "hypertext" in the 1970s, that is, a way of linking related terms and those which might bear comparison. These cross-references are now active links which when clicked will take you the appropriate term.

Over the years of using this book in my teaching, I developed an alternative "search engine" to the usual alphabetical one, which grouped terms by theme according to cross-disciplinary uses of related concepts. This scheme was an outgrowth of the interdisciplinary comparison chart on pages xii and xiii of the first edition. It quickly became apparent that no chart could systematically include all of the terms in the book, hence the need for such a thematic search engine. This scheme, based on the themes of Vibration, Magnitude, Sound-Medium Interface, Sound-Environment Propagation, Sound-Sound Interaction, and certain specialized areas of terminology, now benefits from the links made possible in this format. To further enhance the sense of cross-disciplinary travel, a differently coloured background texture has been given to terms in each area, with a rectangular area at the top of each entry identifying those terms which belong to more than discipline.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, sound examples are (finally!) included in the document which, after all, is about sound. These sound examples are accessed by clicking on the Sound Example link and may be played again in the audio playback window which appears.

All of the environmental sound examples are drawn from the tape library of the World Soundscape Project, and its catalogues of soundscapes from Vancouver, across Canada, and Europe, as recorded by Bruce Davis, Peter Huse and Robert MacNevin. The synthesized sound examples were produced with my PODX computer music software. Thanks also should go to others who contributed or assisted with the sound examples, namely Sylvia Murphy, Sue Round (cello examples), the SFU Gamelan, Arne Eigenfeldt, Randy Raine-Reusch and Dave Murphy. And finally, many thanks to Harold DeLong who spent long hours digitizing and editing the original text, as well as installing the many links.

Barry Truax, Professor
School of Communication,
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. 
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