Sunday, July 17, 2011

World Listening Day is July 18th

Monday is the birthday of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, a founding figure in the discipline of sound ecology. In honor of Schafer, numerous organizations and individuals with an interest in sound ecology are observing World Listening Day by organizing soundwalks and other activities designed to heighten awareness of the audible world. Here is a randomly generated quote from Schafer's classic work The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, in which Schafer responds to Bishop Berkeley's familiar question about the sound of trees falling in forests:

"... as a matter of fact, when a tree crashes in a forest and knows that it is alone, it sounds like anything it wishes-- a hurricane, a cuckoo, a wolf, the voice of Immanuel Kant or Charles Kingsley, the overture to Don Giovanni or a Maori nose-flute. Anything it wishes, from past or distant future. It is even free to produce those secret sounds which man will never hear because they belong to other worlds..."

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