Object structure


Collecting Sounds. Online Sharing of Field Recordings as Cultural Practice


Ethnologia Polona 39 2018 (2019)


Stanisz, Agata


Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences

Place of publishing:


Date issued/created:



24 cm

Type of object:


Subject and Keywords:

field recording ; audioanthropology ; sound technology ; digital anthropology ; cultural pratice


Field reconrding is a sound practice that gains increasingly more popularity nowadays. We can observe effects of this practice in two contexts: 1. On the websites dedicated to digital sound production; 2. During the activities accompanying various artistic, cultural and educational events. I consider the first context in which I participate as a fieldrecordist, who uses sound recording as a non-visual method of (audio) anthropology. The goal of this article is to look into the field recording as a category of socio-cultural practice related to the technological development and growing significance of sound production, and more generally, to the global process of sounding the western, mainly urban, culture. ; Websites dedicated to audio recordings are used to publish and share sounds collected by tourists and other travellers, who catch sounds in the same way as they take photographs. These recordings are brought from exotic vacations, business trips, sightseeing tours, or sentimental journeys. Analysis of field recording practices encourages a broader reflection on the status of sounds, why some of them are audible and others are not, how new technologies influence the processes of democratisation of senses and raise public awareness of the importance of acoustic space. Moreover, tourist field recording enable us to take a closer look at the stereotypical hearing and listening processes, as well as the cultural mechanisms of exoticising non-European/non-urban soundscapes.


Ballard T. 2018. Listening to the ‘music of the future’ in the future, http://www.documentjournal.com/2018/03/listening-to-irv-teibels-environments-in-the-future/ (accessed 01.05.2018).
Bijsterveld K. and van Dijck J. (eds.). 2009. Sound Souvenirs Audio Technologies, Memory and Cultural Practices. Amsterdam.
Brady E. 1999. A Spiral Way: How the Phonograph Changed Ethnography. Jackson.
Caughie P. L. 2010. Audible Identities: Passing and Sound Technologies. Humanities Research 16, 91–109.
Choe S. H. and Ko Y. M. 2015. Collective Archiving of Soundscapes in Socio-Cultural Context.iConference, https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/73464 (accessed 02.08.2018).
Classen C. 1993. Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and Across Cultures. New York.
Cusack P. 2012. Field Recording as Sonic Journalism, http://sounds-from-dangerous-places.org/sonic_journalism.html (accessed 02.08.2018).
Edmondson R. 2016. Audiovisual Philosophy and Principles. Paris.
Feld S. 1990. Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression. Philadelphia.
Fitzgerald B. (ed.). 2007. Open Content Licensing: Cultivating the Creative Commons. Sydney.
Kang J. 2006. Urban sound environment. London.
Keeling R. 1991. A Guide to Early Field Recordings (1900–1949) at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology. Berkeley-Los Angeles-Oxford.
Lessig L. 2004. Free culture. How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity, http://www.free-culture.cc/index.html (accessed 10.07.2017).
Lin W. 2015. The hearing, the mapping, and the Web: Investigating emerging online sound mapping practices. Landscape and Urban Planning 142, 187–197.
Moore T. 1992. Care of the Soul. New York.
O’Reilly T. 2005. What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html (accessed 02.08.2018).
Pijanowski B. C. et al. 2011. What is soundscape ecology? An introduction and overview of an emerging new science. Landscape Ecology 26(9), 1213–1232.
Porterfield N. 1996. Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 1867–1948. Urbana and Chicago.
Raimbault M. and Dubois D. 2005. Urban Soundscapes: Experiences and Knowledge. Cities 22(5), 339–350.
Schafer R.M. 1977. The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Rochester.
Seremetakis N. (ed.). 1994. The Senses Still: Memory and Perception as Material Culture in Modernity. Chicago 1994.
Smith M. 2016. Field recording: The practice and its possibilities, https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/2709, (accessed 02.08.2018).
Stanisz A. 2012. Akustemologia współczesności. Refleksja nad potencjałem antropologii dźwięków, http://www.cyfrowaetnografia.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=4734 (accessed 02.08.2018).
Stanisz A. 2012. Audiografia i dewizualizacja antropologii w badaniu miejskiej audiosfery świecie. In R. Losiak and R. Tańczuk (eds.) Audiosfera miasta. Prace Kulturoznawcze XIII. Wrocław, 99–111.
Stanisz A. 2014. Audio-antropologia: praktykowanie dyscypliny poprzez dźwięk. Prace Etnograficzne 42 (4), 305–318.
Stanisz A. 2017, Field recording jako metoda etnografii poprzez dźwięk. Przegląd Kulturoznawczy 31(1), 1–19.
Sterne J. 2003. The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction. Durham.
Stoller P. 1989. The Taste of Ethnographic Things. The Senses in Anthropology. Philadelphia.
Synnott A., Classen C. and Howes D. 1994. Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell. London–New York
Truax B. 1996. Soundscape, Acoustic Communication & Environmental Sound Composition. Contemporary Music Review 15(1), 49–65.
Truaux B. 2008. Soundscape Composition as Global Music: Electroacoustic Music as Soundscape. Organised Sound 13(2), 103–109.
Truaux B. 2012. Sound, Listening and Place: The Aesthetic Dilemma. Organised Sound 17(3), 1–9.
Uimonen H. and Kytö M. 2008. Soundscape and Emplaced Pasts – Analyzing One Hundred Finnish Soundscapes. Dźwięk w Krajobrazie jako Przedmiot Badań Interdyscyplinarnych. Prace Komisji Krajobrazu Kulturowego 11, 15–21.
Westerkamp H. 1974. Soundwalking. Sound Heritage 3(4), 18–27.
Westerkamp H. 2000. Exploring Balance & Focus in Acoustic Ecology. Soundscape 11(1), 7–13.
Wyness J.A. 2008. Soundscape as discursive practice, http://soundartarchive.net/articles/Wyness-2008.pdf (accessed 01.04.2011).
Yung B. and Rees B. (eds.). 1999. Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in American Musicology. Urbana and Chicago.


Ethnologia Polona



Start page:


End page:


Resource type:


Detailed Resource Type:




Resource Identifier:

0137-4079 ; doi:10.23858/EthP39.2018.008


IAiE PAN, call no. P 366 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 367 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 368 ; click here to follow the link




Creative Commons Attribution BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

Terms of use:

Copyright-protected material. [CC BY-NC-ND 4.0] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY-NC-ND 4.0 license, full text available at: ; -

Digitizing institution:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences





Citation style: