Institut für Musikwissenschaft

Sound, Density, and the Environment

Dissertationsprojekt von Andrin Uetz

Soundscape of Density: Architecture, Motion and Sound in Sai Ying Pun

Focusing on Hong Kong as a case study this PhD project wants to examine the impact of vertical expansion to the listening experience of citizens. About 90,000 people are living in the one square kilometre small quarter of Sai Ying Pun. What does this dense and overcrowded place sound like? Can differences in sound quality and volume be heard from varying perspectives? How is the architecture of buildings influencing the hearing experience? What are typical Sai Ying Pun sounds? Are there any sound marks or sounds that have a specific meaning in the aural community of Sai Ying Pun?


To answer these questions, the study will proceed from an emic case study including binaural sound recordings, a field journal, observations, sound transcriptions, spectrogram analysis, and qualitative interviews. The gathered materials will secondly be discussed with reference to Hong Kong’s history and culture, concepts of city planning and urbanisation, different aspects of soundscape studies, or broader approaches from philosophical aesthetics to psychologies of perception. A triangulation of methods helps to examine city sounds without simplification of the complexity that is inherent to this phenomena. The reduction of the study material to a manageable amount of field recordings will allow manifold perspectives on the subject. This will help to comprehend the soundscape of Hong Kong.


The dissertation is part of the Project “Sound, Density and the Environment”.