🇦🇷 🇧🇷 GMT-3 2:00 to 5:00 pm | 🇪🇺 GMT+2/CET 7:00 to 10:00 pm
Hunting Sounds: Acoustic Ecology, Listening and Creating
This presentation will recount how a team of three broadcasters and one music educator in São Paulo, Brazil, worked together with a group of people interested in listening and learning about sounds. The focus on Listening was a result of the contact I have had with R. Murray Schafer, one of the pioneers on these studies, who has had a strong influence on my work, especially in the areas of Music Education and Acoustic Ecology. In 2020, already influenced by the uncertain times in which we are now, we offered a workshop named in Portuguese “Caçando sons – a janela indiscreta”: (Hunting Sounds – Rear Window), promoted by the Cultural Action in the Cultural Centre of São Paulo (CCSP), in two different versions, the first taking place in September/October and the second in November. The subtitle is a reference to the film Rear Window (1954) by Alfred Hitchcock, who tells the story of a photographer immobilized by a broken leg, leaving him days on end in a chair in front of his window. As he has nothing to do, he begins to watch the movements of the neighborhood and discovers many things about them, including clues that a murder had just occurred. Our proposal in this workshop was to stimulate the participants to hunt for interesting sounds they could hear from their own windows or from other places in their homes and to record them. That was the point of departure of our workshop. Just like the photographer in Hitchcock’s film, the participants observed what happened in the soundscape surrounding their homes. The sounds were collected and recorded. Everybody listened to them together and all had the opportunity to express their feelings about them, give feedback about our way of conducting the workshop and about possible doubts that arose in the process. They also expressed their personal preferences, feelings and impressions in relation to the sounds and suggested ways of using them in the final work. During the process, we discussed special aspects of our theme: the importance of listening, different ways of capturing sounds, the role of acoustic ecology in our work, etc. Finally, these sounds were the materia prima from which the broadcasters – Biancamaria Binazzi, Cecilia Migliorancia and Marta Fonterrada – created their own works. Some of these pieces will be presented during my talk.
Create without noise…
Towards what future are we committed by letting noise invade our lives?
One of our senses is in danger of disappearing…
What responsibilities do we have today with regard to the loss of listening or even of hearing, as it is now apparent in an ever-growing number of situations?
Music is manifold, its sources most diverse. However, what appears of it passes almost exclusively through a single medium: the high or the low speaker. These media reduce sound quality to a quasi-unique standard, trivializing music, whatever its origin, to a common standard.
From what this situation lets us foresee, does creating music still make sense? Doesn’t it, in the long run amount to participating, paradoxically, to the degradation of listening, or even of audition? This question is constantly found at the heart of the thinking and effort of a composer’s project which, through two paths running in parallel or concomitantly, leads to those works destined to the concert and those destined to the space/time of everyday life.
Music played in concert relies on a structured time, a formal dramatization of moments made of differences, of rebounds (ref. Karlheinz Stockhausen) or on the contrary, of absolute continuity (ref. Morton Feldmann), two works in appearance opposed in their conception. The auditor, in return, is asked for a sustained, permanent listening.
In the daily world, where people are simultaneously dedicated to multiple, diverse activities, I developed another form of music that does not require steady listening. Radio has been one of the media that promoted this form of listening thanks to the Atelier de France Culture of Radio France (1968 to 2003).
Since my first compositions, in 1962, I have worked on pieces whose structures and formal modes explore both types of broadcast/listening. Caractères (Characters), Circulaires (Bulletins), are two pieces that prefigure the work developed up until today with Corps de piano (Piano body) proposing two listening situations.
At first I have attempted to inscribe silence in my realizations as a constituent element of the musical work. As a result of this research, a series called Empreintes (Imprints) for different instrumental settings, are inscribed within the frame of others pieces or are independent works.
Silence, the hidden side of the sound world, is constitutive of some of my musical installations. La Grande Oreille (The Big Ear) Parcours de l’Écoute d’Isérables (Journeys of Isérable’s Listening), as well as other projects and realizations are part of this set. The issue of sound installation in public, urban, landscape places, led me to reflect about what justifies them. Doesn’t a sound installation just add noise to noise? Experience has shown the risk involved in seeing a sound installation rejected in the city. Entirely different is the approach consisting of taking into account the sound of a place, to inscribe a work as a component of a site, an approach which it seems to be necessary to comply with. To make sure that the work does not add noise to noise but participates in the project of an invitation to listen to the sound in which it is inscribed. My contribution will give an account of some of the works that I conducted in the search of processes and works inducing the listener to a critical engagement with her living space and daily sound-environment. I will attempt, in spite of the obstacles of the videoconference medium, to realize a listening piece with the participants.
Marisa Fonterrada (UNESP, Brasil)
Pierre Mariétan (RAME, Suisse)
Denise Garcia (UNICAMP, Brasil) - designated debater
Heloisa Valente (UNIP, Brasil) - designated debater
Tato Taborda (UFF, Brasil) - moderator
Andre Luiz Gonçalves de Oliveira (UNICAMP, Brasil)
Cristina Palmese (Paisajesensorial, Italia)
Damián Rodrigués Kees (UNL, Argentina)
Gustavo Basso (UNLP, Argentina)
Gabriel Gendín (UNN, Argentina)
Hildegard Westerkamp (Vancouver, Canada)
Janete El Haouli (UEL, Brasil)
José Augusto Mannis (UNICAMP, Brasil)
Jose Luis Carles (UAM, Espanha)
Makis Solomos (Paris8, France)
Nicolas Donin (IRCAM, France)
Paula Molinari (UFMA, Brasil)
Rodolfo Caesar (UFRJ, Brasil)
Stéphan Schaub (UNICAMP, Brasil)
Regina Porto (UNICAMP, Brasil)
Valéria Bonafé (USP, Brasil)