Acoustic Ecology

La Cosa Preziosa has posted an article on her website highlighting the effects of inorganic man-made sounds. It does point out interesting differences to sounds we take for granted, especially those of us who live busy city lives.

I find the work and passion of Canadian sound artist and researcher R. Murray Schaferincredibly powerful and inspiring.  When he was writing back in the 70s it was already obvious that the noise of machines was becoming an uncomfortable and dangerous side effect to human development. In his seminal text ‘The Tuning of the World’ (1977), Schafer writes: ‘We may speak of natural sounds as having biological existences.  They are born, they flourish, and they die.  But the generator or the air-conditioner do not die; they receive transplants and live forever.’  This statement is as true as it is terrifying, as it hints at all the possible dangers of inorganic manmade sounds.  Today many scientific sources including the World Health Organisation have proved significant links between long term noise pollution and physical and mental dysfunctions (such as hypertension, sleep loss, aggressive behaviour and even premature mortality).  I feel it is essential that city planning,  industry and transport start becoming aware of acoustic pollution as a real issue, and not dismiss it simply because it is not visible.  Acoustic ecology is something I am very aware of as I physically divide my time between a busy European capital city and its opposite: a tiny hilltop village in Italy’s largest national park. The contrasts between these two sonic environments couldn’t be greater, and speaks to me about what feeds our soul as human beings and what doesn’t.

On this page I am collecting some reflections and listening exercises with the hope to stimulate thoughts and dialogue on this issue.  Like Murray Schafer, I believe that it is perhaps time for what he beautifully defines as a ‘sonic counter-revolution: an attempt to wrest Sacred Noise from industry as a prelude to the discovery of a more trustworthy proprietor to whom this power may be bequeathed.‘

Continue reading and listening here.

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