Steps in the street, birds, a door knocking, wind blowing in the trees, voices in the distance, a bell ringing, running water, animal sounds... The sounds of everyday life are the essence for this workshop. Soundscape is the name given by composer, educator and environmentalist Murray Schafer to the totality of sounds of the environment. Schafer understands the soundscape as a musical composition that is in permanent performance, thus, an idea that recognizes everyone to be a musician contributing to that ongoing musical composition. Furthermore, the idea of everyone being a “soundscape musician” implies that we all have a responsibility on how it sounds, how it metamorphoses in time, what is maintained and what is forgotten.
This workshop aims to raise awareness within youngsters about the importance of the soundscape in our daily life by exploring its intrinsic musical qualities. To do so, we propose a set of principles based on four active practices:
1- listening carefully to the environment and/or particular sounds
2- recording sounds (addressing as well fundamental topics of digital sound)
3 - drawing sound maps
4- composing and performing music in group.
Based on the software POLISphone (filipelopes.net/Software/polisphone.html), a free and open-source digital application, each participant builds a unique and personal sound map (i.e. his/her polisphone). Each polisphone consists of a set of recorded sounds and an original map (i.e. a digital image) imagined and conceived by each person (i.e. teacher, student, class). The final stage consists on devising together in group the musical composition, discussing as well matters about composing music with non-instrumental sounds, and finally performing the composition.