The term soundscape has a very specific meaning. It was first utilizedby the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer to apply to any acoustic field of study. Schafer was the head of a group of composers at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, who pioneered the study of environmental sounds by recording the soundscape of their city. A Soundscape Composition is further defined by composer Barry Truax, as follows:

The essential difference between an electroacoustic composition that uses prerecorded environmental sounds as its source material, and a work that can be called a soundscape composition, is that in the former, the sounds loses all or most of its environmental context...In the soundscape composition, on the other hand, it is precisely the environmental context that is preserved, enhanced, and exploited by the composer. - Acoustic Communication (2001)