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Ecomusicologies 2012

Ecomusicologies 2012

Ecomusicologies 2012 at Tulane University in New Orleans brought together scholars working across the fields of ethnomusicology, musicology and music theory, in a vibrant working environment. Some participants were precluded from attending because of Hurricane Sandy, still tracking the northeast US as the meeting took place. Virtual presentations were included in the program to open up participation to people who were not able to come or did not want to make the trip for environmental reasons. Papers included work on sustainability of instrument materials;  inspiration from the environment in musics of Japan, Mongolia, Brazil, Canada and the United States; orchestrating nature in film; and environmental themes in the compositions of John Luther Adams, Maggi Payne, Laurie Spiegel, Luc Ferrari, David Tudor, Carl Ruggles, and Hildegard Westerkamp. A soundwalk of the immediate surroundings of the meeting was presented by Tyler Kinnear. “Birding,” an eco-improvisational performance by ~spin~ — James Harley (University of Guelph), computer, and Ellen Waterman (Memorial University of Newfoundland), amplified flutes, ended the meeting. Sessions devoted to ecomusicology also took place at the Society for Ethnomusicology international meeting which immediately followed Ecomusicologies 2012, including an innovative panel in which there were no formal papers but instead seven short sound pieces, each accompanied by a still image, each exploring a different aspect of ecomusicology. There was a still field recording, a soundwalk, a performance of a Bach violin partita, musical pieces that incorporated field recordings with various amounts of processing, and a song about an environmental issue. After each piece was played, the audience engaged in open discussion for seven minutes followed by prompted discussion for another seven. This format encouraged discussion about how we were listening to these pieces, in that particular room with its difficult acoustics, along with images that set up associations with other senses, and with various memories and feelings, and in relation to our existing knowledge and experience with music and sound. The Ecomusicologies interest group of the Society for Ethnomusicology created a thought-provoking series of events that brought together new work across disciplines to pay attention to environmental questions.

Categories: Listening, walking
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  1. November 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

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