Journal article Open Access

Composing with environmental sounds: A project in secondary education.

Theodoros Lotis

In recent years, is establishing a cooperation between secondary schools and universities for the development of methodologies that encourage pupils to comprehend their acoustic environment and incorporate it in creative projects. These methodologies are often based mainly or partly on two pillars: the theory of Pierre Schaeffer on the sound objects and the seven criteria for describing them, and the practical approach of Murray Schafer regarding the observations on the acoustic ecology and the soundscapes. These two pillars provide a set of basic criteria with which the pupils can comprehend and describe their surrounding sonic environment, using them, at the same time, in group improvisation and music composition. The seven criteria elucidated by soundscape paradigms can be a helpful tool in our effort to develop the pupils’ power of observation through empiricism. Within this context, a research team from the Department of Music Studies of the Ionian University collaborates with teachers and pupils from a secondary school in North Corfu, Greece, applying similar methodologies during the school year 2013-2014. Groups of pupils and their teachers investigate their surrounding sonic environments, discuss them and recognize their literal and allegorical meanings. They record selected sounds or soundscapes, observe their spectral appearance in their computers and analyse their spectromorphological and spatiomorphological evolution over time. They use simple processing techniques, such as pitch shifting and time stretching in order to transform the recorded sounds and change their meanings and connotations. Eventually, the pupils use this material to compose short pieces. It is import- ant to mention that all sounds are selected, recorded, analysed, categorized and processed by the pupils themselves.


Revue d'esthétique musicale : L'enseignement des musiques électroacoustiques.
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