Posted in Critique

Who’s afraid of R. Murray Schafer?

r-murray-schafer-marcia-adair Photograph by Miss Mussel

Who is, indeed? Both a fervid apology of and a furious pamphlet for Murray Schafer, written by James Wyness last year. Still groovy!

Fouter & Swick

frog

It has become fashionable in some sound and new music quarters to sneer and snipe at R. Murray Schafer and his ideas on the soundscape. In particular I’ve noticed that the ideas set forth in Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World come under attack for being nostalgic, romantic (without defining what this means), idealist, utopian – the list goes on. Of course the detractors rarely come up with any positive ideas themselves. And no I’m not going to name names – that’s for the reader to discover. The critics, if I may dignify them with such a title, range from academics seeking to distinguish their own second-hand ideas to the composer who seeks to validate his or her compositional aesthetic. Personally I doubt if many of the snipers have actually taken time to read the book from cover to cover. I confess openly that after years of taking for granted the…

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Posted in Report

R. Murray Schafer’s ear cleaning game at The Global Composition 2012

The Global Composition Header›Considering the world’s objects as instruments, its inhabitants as their players and all sounds on the globe taking place simultaneously, leads to the imagination of a global composition. Any audible phenomenon is part of this huge ongoing concert which includes all living beings and unites them in – mostly unintentional and uncoordinated – collaboration.‹ (The Global Composition)

With ›The Soundscape‹, published in 1977, R. Murray Schafer inspired this idea of a global composition. At the correspondent Conference on Sound, Media and the Environment in Darmstadt-Dieburg in July this year, Schafer opened the meeting with an introductory lecture, including a sample of his so-called ear cleaning games.

R. Murray Schafer at Darmstadt-Dieburg, 2012R. Murray Schafer at The Global Composition 2012

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