Acoustic Ecology and Sonic Art (Music-203)

Acoustic Ecology and Sonic Art (Music-203)

Instructor: Thomas Ciufo

The field of Acoustic Ecology is particularly concerned with how we create, interpret and interact with the sounds around us and how changes in the soundscape may affect human health and the natural world. Through reading, discussion, listening sessions, independent research, and hands-on projects, we will examine the broad interdisciplinary fields of Acoustic Ecology and Sonic Art. We will engage historical, conceptual, and aesthetic aspects of sound as a cultural, environmental, and artistic medium, with an emphasis on listening, psychoacoustics, soundscape studies, field recording and soundscape composition. We will question predominant ideas regarding the relationships between location, environment, sound, silence, music, and noise, and test these ideas through individual and group research as well as hands-on sonic art projects.

*No prerequisites - just an interest in the topics described above and a willingness to explore a unique interdisciplinary field of study. Meets Humanities requirement


  • provide an in-depth investigation of acoustic ecology and sonic art history, research and practice 
  • synthesize and integrate various overlapping fields of research and creative practice
  • explore historical precedents, influential concepts, and emerging trends
  • develop technical knowledge and basic skills with a range of audio hardware and software
  • engage conceptual and aesthetic issues through critical reading, writing, and creative projects

Design / Structure

This course will combine historical context and primary sources with additional critical / theoretical readings, seminar discussions, independent research, listening sessions, technical labs, and hands-on creative projects. Ongoing dialog and exchange will be extended through a class blog. There will be in-class tech labs that will contribute to the development of core technical skills, as well as prepare students for individual or collaborative creative and research projects.

*For more info or for instructor consent to enroll: please contact Thomas Ciufo.