The Father of Acoustic Ecology
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You’ve staged many of your compositions in the natural world. Why?
In a simple environment—one that is not urban—you hear sounds from far away. In nature, you can use sound coming from the distance.
We perform a piece called Princess of the Stars at five o’clock in the morning, around and on a wilderness lake. The musicians are all around the lake; they could be half a mile from each other, and it’s all done by ear. When I hear you play that note, then I play this note, and so forth. It’s a very beautiful sound, and it blends with and stimulates the natural sounds. You hear the birds, and then I add flutes and clarinets playing to the birds; as any ornithologist will tell you, if you play or sing to the birds, they’ll sing back. The flutes play bird calls, and the birds wake up fast when they hear their own calls. Some of the singers may be almost a mile away; the voices come across the lake, and it’s so beautiful at a distance like that.
TELL ME MORE
World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE)
Founded in 1993, WFAE is an international group of individuals and organizations who study soundscapes around the world.
Acoustic Ecology Institute
The Web site of this New Mexico-based nonprofit offers a comprehensive look at the latest news and research from the world of acoustic ecology (including an updated list of Web sites that use sounds in interesting ways).
Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology
The professional journal of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Soundscape offers thoughtful, intellectual takes on everything from ocean acoustics to audio technology to the importance of silence. http://interact.uoregon.edu/medialit/wfae/journal/
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