HKU Music

A SOUNDSCAPE is the totality of sounds that emerge from a particular natural or artificial environment. Soundscape studies focus on the way a particular soundscape is perceived and understood by individuals or groups.

This soundscape study focused on the documentation of sounds that emerged from the Cheung Chau Bun Festival between April 30 and May 3, 2009. The Festival presented unique sound environments that resulted from the many public and private rituals, the entertainments and spectacles, and the crowd behaviour that took place on Cheung Chau island at this time. Many of the sounds that emerged during the period of the Festival are normally not heard during the rest of the year.

The main aim of this soundscape study was to provide a permanent record of the soundscape of this important social and cultural event for the people of Cheung Chau, and Hong Kong more generally. It also aimed to provide a sound databank of the Bun Festival for research and teaching in Hong Kong schools and universities and, by extension, make students more aware of their unique urban soundscape.

The research project was made possible through the support of the Kwan Fong Endowment Fund. The initial documentation and research of the Festival consisted of a team lead by Manolete Mora (ethnomusicologist, University of Hong Kong) and included postgraduate students from the Department of Music, namely, Daniel Kam, Law Ho Chak, Michael Leung, David Leung, Mui Yee Man, Ng King Pan, Juliette Simms, Wang Shuang, and Austin Yip.

Following the initial documentation and research, Steven Feld (anthropologist, linguist, musician, documentary sound artist, and MacArthur Fellow) directed workshops on the techniques and methods of documentary sound art. The results of these workshops are a forthcoming compact disc for educational and public distribution.