Blue symphony by sagara wijesinghe
|Typical instruments||Field Recordings|
|Derivative forms||Protest music, environmental activism,|
|Ethnomusicology, Sociomusicology, Musicology, Anthropology Ecology Environmental Studies|
Ecomusicology is an area of study that explores the relationships between music or sound, and the natural environment.It is a study which encompasses a variety of academic disciplines including Musicology, Biology, Ecology and Anthropology. Ecomusicology combines these disciplines to explore how sound is produced by natural environments and, more broadly how cultural values and concerns about nature are expressed through sonic mediums. Ecomusicology explores the ways that music is composed to replicate natural imagery, as well as how sounds produced within the natural environment are used within musical composition. Ecological studies of sounds produced by animals within their habitat are also considered to be part of the field of Ecomusicology. In the 21st century, studies within the field the Ecomusicology have also become increasingly interested in the sustainability of music production and performance.
Ecomusicology is concerned with the study of music, culture, and nature, and considers musical and sonic issues, both textual and performative, related to ecology and the natural environment. It is in essence a mixture of ecocriticism and musicology (rather than "ecology" and "musicology"), in Charles Seeger's holistic definition.Ecomusicology is regarded as a field of research rather than a specific academic discipline. Because Ecomusicology focuses on a vast variety of disciplines as well as areas of research, it can be imagined as a space in which studies of sound in relation with the environment are conducted.
Ecomusicology's relevance to such a wide range of other research areas is exactly what makes it somewhat ambiguous to define.On one hand, Ecomusicology is a unique field of research which helps to make connections between a variety of music-related and environmental studies. Yet, by functioning as a collective term, it is often difficult to frame Ecomusicology within a static set of descriptive definitions. Musicologist Aaron S. Allen, the author of multiple published works on Ecomusicology, defines Ecomusicology as “the study of music, culture, and nature in all the complexities of those terms. Ecomusicology considers musical and sonic issues, both textual and performative, related to ecology and the natural environment.”
Ecomusicology as a field of study is often traced back to musical composer and environmentalist R. Murray Schafer who used the term to explain the sonic nature of particular physical environments or Soundscapes.The idea of sound or music as something which creates or captures a particular atmosphere, was initially professed by Murray R. Schafer through his development of the concept of Soundscape ecology in the late 1970s. Schafer used this term to encompass the vast acoustic environment which constitutes all the varied sounds, audible to the human ear. A soundscape might entail for example, the all audible sounds heard within a specific area of land, such as a mountain range, a forest or field.
From the 1970s, there has been an increase in interest in the term ecomusicology, which was established as a term in the early 21st century in North American and Scandinavian circles.As a field, ecomusicology was created out of a common area of interest between the fields of ecocriticism and musicology, expressed by a range of scholars and artists such as composers, acoustic ecologists, ethnomusicologists, biomusicologists, and others.
Ecomusicology embraces what is today considered the field of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and related interdisciplinary fields, which while at the same time may enable specialists within each of these fields to interact with academics in the other fields in their approach, it also provides individuals with flexibility to approach an ecocritical study of music through a variety of disciplines and fields.
In October 2012, the first international Ecomusicology-conference took place in New Orleans.
See also Sociomusicology
Ecomusicology considers aspects of environmental sustainability within music production and performance. For example, the relationship between a demand for a certain musical instrument as well as the costs and impacts of its production, has been an area of interest for Ecomusicologists investigating the sustainability of the consumption and production of music or musical instruments.This includes the impact which the demand for musical instruments, merchandise or live experiences such as concerts has on the natural environment. Music-Journalist and Anthropologist Mark Pedelty, has written on the Ecomusicological relationship between human musical activities and the health of the environment. Having written about the pollutive impacts that international music touring often has on the environment, Pedelty explores Ecomusicological concerns of ethicality regarding the production of carbon emissions created by vehicles used to a move band members, instruments and/or any extensive staging or crew.
Part of Ecomusicology's investigation of environmental ethics, are the ways in which discussions around projects of sustainability are positioned within popular music and media.In 2010, music magazine Rolling Stone compiled a list of “The 15 Most Eco-Friendly Rockers”, selecting artists based on various criteria regarding their support or consideration for the environment within their musical practice. This included assessments of the amount of money donated to environmentally sustainable causes, or an artist's effort to perform and act in carbon-neutral ways. Some of the artists included Green Day for their work with the Natural Resources Defence Council, as well as Hip-Hop group The Roots for hosting multiple music events aimed at promoting social and environmental awareness.
See also Ecocriticism
A key area of focus for studies within Ecomusicology are the ways in which sound and music is used to create or express concerns about the environment.Jeff Todd Titon has described Ecomusicology which focuses more on conceptual aspects of Ecocriticism as “the study of music, culture, sound and nature in a period of environmental crisis.” The occurrence of live music events aimed at promoting awareness about environmental destruction and climate change is one area in which Ecomusicology continues to be engaged.
Numerous music events including Live Earth (2007 concert) and, more recently, [[Make It Rain (Australia, 2020)among others, have either been involved in promoting climate-change awareness, or to raising funds for the alleviation of the effects of climate change on humans and animals. The investigation of eco-friendly organisations such as Reverb is also relevant to Ecomusicological inquiry. These organisations are often aimed at working with artists to reduce or offset the carbon footprint of their performance and touring emissions, as well as engaging audiences in environmental activism by reducing waste production at music events.
Ecomusicology also considers the relationships between music or sound, and the promotion of ideas surrounding Environmental activism environmental activism. Ecomusicologists may for example examine the conceptual basis of songs written specifically about environmental degradation or, consider how and to what effect the use of simple short, repetitive vocal chants may assist in voicing the environmental concerns central to projects of climate activism.The ways in which music has been used to prompt social and political action to protect the environment is of notable relevance to the focuses of Ecomusicology at large.
See also Ecopoetry
Ecomusicology investigates the creation of music which attempts to reflect or capture feelings or experiences provoked by the Natural environment.Experiences of nature which are often expressed through poetry or art, are frequently analysed within Ecomusicology to identify the cognitive and emotional impacts which specific sounds might have on humans.
Ecomusicology is often closely paired with the study of Ecology, assisting in the analysis of the behavioural patterns of animals and ecosystems through the investigation of sound data. Ecological studies of Bird and the characteristics of their song, have revealed ways in which sounds and spaces in their natural environment have shaped certain behaviours.Here, Ecomusicology applies concepts related to sound and Music theory with research regarding animal behaviours to reveal information about how sound is manipulated by animals in relation to their environment.
By measuring musicological qualities such as volume, pitch and Frequency within a particular bird’s song, Ecologists have discovered that certain birds will sing louder in noisier, built-environments compared to birds of the same species found in rural environments.Similarly, some birds may pitch their song differently in order to be heard across greater distances or more densely vegetative, and therefore more sound-absorbent environments. Other ecological studies on non-human animals include research on Whale vocalization as well as the acoustics of bat (Echolocation (animal)) and insect communication otherwise known as Biophonics.
Ecomusicology utilises both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, however, the type of data as well as methods of data collection vary depending on what the subject of study may be.Ecomusicological research aimed at understanding aspects of social engagement with Ecocritism might for example primarily involve the use of qualitative data collected through interviews and field research of particular social events. Conversely, research regarding the communicative behaviours of certain animal species would likely be pursued through a comparison of quantitative data collected through audio recordings of a specific environment.
Ecomusicological field research of animal behaviours within a particular environment often includes methods of passive recording/listening. This is usually undertaken with the use of multi-directional Microphone which are often hidden and left within a species’ habitat to record the array of sounds created in its environment.Hydrophones (microphones that can be submerged beneath water) may also be used to collect sound data from marine environments. By replaying passive (data collected without being present at the source) recordings, Ecologists are able to study the amount, frequency and variation of a particular sound within that environment to reveal insights about the population or behaviours of a particular animal species.
See also Ethnomusicology
Human-focused studies in Ecomusicology are often conducted using similar Field research methods to that of Anthropology or Sociology. This includes conducting interviews, collecting various numerical data, surveys as well as on-site observation.These varied methods of data collection are used to make a qualitative analysis of the ways in which sound and music may influence behaviours as well as systems of value and meaning within a particular social context.
Ecomusicology considers the ways in which Musical instruments and other forms of sound manipulation are used to recreate or represent features of specific environments or Soundscapes. Music produced within the conceptual spectrum of Ecomusicology often tries to replicate sounds found in the Natural environment.This can include the use of orchestral instruments or vocal sounds to mimic sounds produced within the natural environment, such as the melodic chirp of a bird’s song, or the rhythmic gushing of stream. Sound effects are also used in a variety of ways to recreate sound textures produced within particular environments. An example might be the application of echo or reverb effects to an instrument to reproduce the distant echoing of sound as it rebounds off hard surfaces across a canyon or valley.
The work of composer and sound-artist Maggi Payne often features the creation and combination of different sounds to convey natural processes or reflect elements of the natural environment.In her sound work ‘Distant Thunder', Payne uses a combination of different sound sources including “boiling water, a resonant floor furnace, and unrolling adhesive tape” to recreate the distinctive soundscape of desert storm.
A common feature of musical compositions related to Ecomusicology, is the use of field recordings that capture the ambient sound produced within a specific environment. Field recordings can originate from urban settings to rural or natural environments, or anywhere else where an audio recording device may be used to record the sounds produced within a particular location.The creation and use of field recordings form part of Ecomusicology’s analysis of soundscapes and the ways in which different environments may be experienced through their distinctive aural features.
Also of interest to studies within Ecomusicology, are the ways in which sound is processed and manipulated through technological software to compose new soundscapes or sound environments. Musical Composition methods which involve music production software has allowed for music’s relationship with nature to be imagined in new ways, many of which are useful and relevant to Ecomusicological analysis.
Since its increased presence within academic discourse in the 21st Century, a number of teaching methods have been devised to integrate the study of Ecomusicology into school learning environments. Daniel J. Shevock, an academic of musicology whom has written extensively on Ecomusicological theory,has designed and taught a variety of lessons concerning ideas and practices of Ecomusicology which can be applied to primary/highschool learning environments.
Shevock has outlined a series of possible practice-based learning activities focused on informing students about environmental concerns central to the study of Ecomusicology. This includes tasks which involve the creation of songs or poems inspired by the natural environment or other social concerns about sustainability and the health of ecologies.Shevock has also devised a range of theoretical tasks which include listening to and discussing the conceptual and structural elements of nature-focused music.
As a field of study which encompasses more than one area of interest, both Allen and Shevock have discussed the potential advantages that studies of Ecomusicology might have in extending an understanding of other subject areas taught within schools.For example, the teaching of some of Ecomusicology’s research methods and findings within the study of ecologies, may be useful in expanding students’ comprehension of some ideas taught within the subject of Biology.
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Cultural ecology is the study of human adaptations to social and physical environments. Human adaptation refers to both biological and cultural processes that enable a population to survive and reproduce within a given or changing environment. This may be carried out diachronically, or synchronically. The central argument is that the natural environment, in small scale or subsistence societies dependent in part upon it, is a major contributor to social organization and other human institutions. In the academic realm, when combined with study of political economy, the study of economies as polities, it becomes political ecology, another academic subfield. It also helps interrogate historical events like the Easter Island Syndrome.
A soundscape is the acoustic environment as perceived by humans, in context. The term was originally coined by Michael Southworth, and popularised by R. Murray Schafer. There is a varied history of the use of soundscape depending on discipline, ranging from urban design to wildlife ecology to computer science. An important distinction is to separate soundscape from the broader acoustic environment. The acoustic environment is the combination of all the acoustic resources, natural and artificial, within a given area as modified by the environment. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardized these definitions in 2014.(ISO 12913-1:2014)
Natural sounds are any sounds produced by non-human organisms as well as those generated by natural, non-biological sources within their normal soundscapes. It is a category whose definition is open for discussion. Natural sounds create an acoustic space.
Ecocriticism is the study of literature and the environment from an interdisciplinary point of view, where literature scholars analyze texts that illustrate environmental concerns and examine the various ways literature treats the subject of nature. It takes an interdisciplinary point of view by analyzing the works of authors, researchers and poets in the context of environmental issues and nature. Some ecocritics brainstorm possible solutions for the correction of the contemporary environmental situation, though not all ecocritics agree on the purpose, methodology, or scope of ecocriticism.
The environmental humanities is an interdisciplinary area of research, drawing on the many environmental sub-disciplines that have emerged in the humanities over the past several decades, in particular environmental literature, environmental philosophy, environmental history, feminist/queer/indigenous science and technology studies, and environmental anthropology. Environmental humanities employs humanistic questions about meaning, culture, values, ethics, and responsibilities to address pressing environmental problems. The environmental humanities aim to help bridge traditional divides between the sciences and the humanities, as well as between Western, Eastern, and Indigenous ways of relating to the natural world and the place of humans within it. The field also resists the traditional divide between "nature" and "culture," showing how many "environmental" issues have always-already been entangled in human questions of justice, labor, and politics. Environmental humanities is also a way of synthesizing methods from different fields to create new ways of thinking through environmental problems.
Sound studies is an interdisciplinary field that to date has focused largely on the emergence of the concept of "sound" in Western modernity, with an emphasis on the development of sound reproduction technologies. The field first emerged in venues like the journal Social Studies of Science by scholars working in science and technology studies and communication studies; it has however greatly expanded and now includes a broad array of scholars working in music, anthropology, sound art, deaf studies, architecture, and many other fields besides. Important studies have focused on the idea of a "soundscape", architectural acoustics, nature sounds, the history of aurality in Western philosophy and nineteenth-century Colombia, Islamic approaches to listening, the voice, studies of deafness, loudness, and related topics. A foundational text is Jonathan Sterne's 2003 book "The Audible Past", though the field has retroactively taken as foundational two texts, Jacques Attali's "Noise" (1985) and R. Murray Schafer's "The Soundscape" (1994).
Ecolinguistics, or ecological linguistics, emerged in the 1990s as a new paradigm of linguistic research, widening sociolinguistics to take into account not only the social context in which language is embedded, but also the environment.
Feminist political ecology is a feminist perspective on political ecology, drawing on theories from post-structuralism, feminist geography, and cultural ecology. Feminist political ecology examines the place of gender in the political ecological landscape, exploring gender as a factor in ecological and political relations. Specific areas in which feminist political ecology is focused are development, landscape, resource use, agrarian reconstruction and rural-urban transformation. Feminist political ecologists suggest gender is a crucial variable – in relation to class, race and other relevant dimensions of political ecological life – in constituting access to, control over, and knowledge of natural resources.
The ecopedagogy movement is an outgrowth of the theory and practice of critical pedagogy, a body of educational praxis influenced by the philosopher and educator Paulo Freire. Ecopedagogy's mission is to develop a robust appreciation for the collective potentials of humanity and to foster social justice throughout the world. It does so as part of a future-oriented, ecological and political vision that radically opposes the globalization of ideologies such as neoliberalism and imperialism, while also attempting to foment forms of critical ecoliteracy. Recently, there have been attempts to integrate critical eco-pedagogy, as defined by Greg Misiaszek with Modern Stoic philosophy to create Stoic eco-pedagogy.
Greta Jo Gaard is an ecofeminist writer, scholar, activist, and documentary filmmaker. Gaard's academic work in the realms of ecocriticism and ecocomposition is widely cited by scholars in the disciplines of composition and literary criticism. Her theoretical work extending ecofeminist thought into queer theory, queer ecology, vegetarianism, and animal liberation has been influential within women's studies. A cofounder of the Minnesota Green Party, Gaard documented the transition of the U.S. Green movement into the Green Party of the United States in her book, Ecological Politics. She is currently a professor of English at University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a community faculty member in Women's Studies at Metropolitan State University, Twin Cities.
Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy promoting the inherent worth of living beings regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, plus a restructuring of modern human societies in accordance with such ideas.
Alexander Rehding is Fanny Peabody Professor of Music at Harvard University. Rehding is a music theorist and musicologist with a focus on intellectual history and media theory, known for innovative interdisciplinary work. His publications explore music in a wide range of contexts from Ancient Greek music to the Eurovision Song Contest—and even in outer space. His research has contributed to Riemannian theory, the history of music theory, sound studies, and media archaeology, reaching into the digital humanities and ecomusicology.
Ecological art is an art genre and artistic practice that seeks to preserve, remediate and/or vitalize the life forms, resources and ecology of Earth, by applying the principles of ecosystems to living species and their habitats throughout the lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, including wilderness, rural, suburban and urban locations. It is a distinct genre from Environmental art in that it involves functional ecological systems-restoration, as well as socially engaged, activist, community-based interventions. Ecological art also addresses politics, culture, economics, ethics and aesthetics as they impact the conditions of ecosystems. Ecological art practitioners include artists, scientists, philosophers and activists who often collaborate on restoration, remediation and public awareness projects.
Soundscape ecology is the study of the acoustic relationships between living organisms, human and other, and their environment, whether the organisms are marine or terrestrial. First appearing in the Handbook for Acoustic Ecology edited by Barry Truax, in 1978, the term has occasionally been used, sometimes interchangeably, with the term acoustic ecology. Soundscape ecologists also study the relationships between the three basic sources of sound that comprise the soundscape: those generated by organisms are referred to as the biophony; those from non-biological natural categories are classified as the geophony, and those produced by humans, the anthropophony.
Ecosemiotics is a branch of semiotics in its intersection with human ecology, ecological anthropology and ecocriticism. It studies sign processes in culture, which relate to other living beings, communities, and landscapes. Ecosemiotics also deals with sign-mediated aspects of ecosystems.
Ecofeminism is a branch of feminism that sees environmentalism, and the relationship between women and the earth, as foundational to its analysis and practice. Ecofeminist thinkers draw on the concept of gender to analyse the relationships between humans and the natural world. The term was coined by the French writer Françoise d'Eaubonne in her book Le Féminisme ou la Mort (1974). Ecofeminist theory asserts that a feminist perspective of ecology does not place women in the dominant position of power, but rather calls for an egalitarian, collaborative society in which there is no one dominant group. Today, there are several branches of ecofeminism, with varying approaches and analyses, including liberal ecofeminism, spiritual/cultural ecofeminism, and social/socialist ecofeminism. Interpretations of ecofeminism and how it might be applied to social thought include ecofeminist art, social justice and political philosophy, religion, contemporary feminism, and poetry.
David Monacchi is an Italian sound artist, researcher and eco-acoustic composer, best known for his multidisciplinary project Fragments of Extinction, patented periphonic device, the Eco-Acoustic Theatre, and award-winning music and sound-art installations.
Anthony James Carrigan was a British academic noted for his pioneering work in combining the theoretical paradigms of postcolonialism and environmental studies.
Ecofiction is the branch of literature that encompasses nature-oriented (non-human) or environment-oriented works of fiction. While this super genre's roots are seen in classic, pastoral, magical realism, animal metamorphoses, science fiction, and other genres, the term ecofiction did not become popular until the 1970s when various movements created the platform for an explosion of environmental and nature literature, which also inspired ecocriticism. Ecocriticism is the study of literature and the environment from an interdisciplinary point of view, where literature scholars analyze texts that illustrate environmental concerns and examine the various ways literature treats the subject of nature. Environmentalists have claimed that the human relationship with the ecosystem often went unremarked in earlier literature.
Joni Adamson is an American literary and cultural theorist. She is considered one of the main proponents of environmental justice and environmental literary criticism, or Ecocriticism. She is a professor of the environmental humanities and senior sustainability scholar at Arizona State University in Arizona. In 2012–13, she served as President of the Association for the Study Literature and Environment (ASLE), the primary professional organization for environmental literary critics. From 1999 to 2010, she founded and led the Environment and Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association (ASA-ECC).