Study days on music and ecology

Thurdays, October 7 to November 4, 2021

Organized under the aegis of UNICAMP’s Instituto de Estudos Avançados (IdEA) by member of its research group GESom and in collaboration with partners in Brazil, Argentina and France, the Study days on music and ecology will meet on every Thursday from October 7 to November 4 this year offering presentations and discussions by prominent guest speakers and debaters from around the world brought together by their common interest in the emergent, multifaceted and ever more urgent area of music and ecology.

While examples of compositions making references to the sounds of nature and the environment can be found throughout the history of western music, it is really only in the late 1960’s that the connections between music and ecology took a radically new form. Inspired by experimental music, inheriting techniques from radio and sound recording technology, artists started to explore the idea of having the act of listening become the primary resource of the music making process. From them on music and ecology started to take the shape of soundscapes, sound-walks, sound installations... promoting, at each step, a new awareness of sound as the voice and pulse of our surrounding environments - whether natural or urban, public or private. In some more recent developments, the notion of “ecology" has been expanded to include social and mental dimensions, thus widening the artistic and scientific ramifications of the field. In other ones, musicians who had remained faithful to more traditional, written means of expression, started to integrate ecological concerns into their ways of thinking about art, music and the world.

The Study days on music and ecology do not pretend to offer any complete or systematized overview of the area. Rather, acknowledging the diversity of contexts and approaches, they hope to stimulate the exchange of ideas between participant researchers / artists and to reflect on possible future developments of this ever more important and urgent area of scientific and artistic inquiry.

At each meeting we will have the opportunity to hear two different presentations delivered by prominent guests active in the field, followed by a round of discussions between them and the participants at the round table. Each meeting will have its own overall “dynamic”. The perspectives and topics developed on some days will be clearly complementary. On others, they will be more divergent, leaving open how they will enter into dialogue, if at all.

The Study days on music and ecology can be followed in two different ways. You can tune in through our streaming channels on this website with no further engagement on your part. If you are a collective of researchers / students in art or musicology, you can also follow us as a “satellite discussion group” and participate in a more interactive form. For more information go to the “Take part” section of this website.

During the preparation for these Study days on music and ecology we heard the sad news of the passing of R. Murray Schafer, one of the most influential figures in the field. We would like to dedicate, humbly and affectionately, these meetings to his memory.