EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Really hearing the thing: an investigation of the creative possibilities of trompe l’oreille and the fabrication of aural landscapes

Peter Batchelor

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK


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This article considers the fabrication of aural landscapes and in particular the notion of trompe l’oreille —fabricated landscapes that are indistinguishable from reality. It involves the comparison of a number of sonic illusion types which clarify the latter concept and discusses technical and logistical issues relevant to its successful implementation before exploring the creative/compositional possibilities that it affords and its relevance within existing acousmatic theory and practice. I am especially interested in its possibilities as a means of subtly directing the reality into which it is incorporated and encouraging deeper environmental listening by the casual observer, which has obvious ramifications in terms of acoustic ecology. As such it is perhaps worth considering as a means of allying soundscape and acousmatic approaches to sound and sound design. These issues will be discussed with reference to examples from my own and others’ work, and in particular with an emphasis on multichannel presentation environments which accommodate this practice.