Ideas to ponder Sounds for inside or out

Space and Sound

This keynote was delivered as part of the Surrounding Sound Symposium during the 2012 edition of Electric Fields. It explores the many facets of Linda Ruth Slater and Barry Blesser’s research from their book “Spaces Speak, Are you listening?” You can read more about the relationships between space and sound through our web publication Surrounding Sound at

“The audible attributes of physical space have always contributed to the fabric of human culture, as demonstrated by prehistoric multimedia cave paintings, classical Greek open-air theaters, Gothic cathedrals, acoustic geography of French villages, modern music reproduction, and virtual spaces in home theaters. Auditory spatial awareness is a prism that reveals a culture’s attitudes toward hearing and space.”

Dr. Barry Blesser is considered one of the grandfathers of the digital audio revolution. He invented and developed the first commercial digital reverberation system, the EMT-250 in 1976, helped start Lexicon in 1971, published the landmark paper, “Digital Processing of Audio Signals” in 1978, co-chaired the 1st International Conference on Digital Audio in 1980, and was an adviser to the US Justice Department on the Watergate Tapes in 1974. Most recently, MIT Press published his first book with his wife Linda-Ruth Salter: Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, which has provoked a latent interest in sound and acoustics worldwide. Dr. Blesser is a passionate advocate of the social consequences of corrosive acoustics and will present the foundation of his ideas for the concept of aural architecture.

Dr. Linda-Ruth Salter was a pioneer in crossing discipline boundaries when she obtained a Ph.D. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boston University in 1984. Her doctoral dissertation examined the nature of sacred space in secular societies. Additional research showed the significance of place and spatial memory in maintaining group identity. Dr. Salter has consulted in the area of research and planning for a successful built environment in public housing, educational and business spaces, and has taught urban studies at Boston University. Presently she is Asst. Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences at New England Institute of Technology, where she contributes to the fine and performing arts curriculum in a technology context. Fusing and integrating the fine arts, technology, and social science is her specialty.