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Soundwalking and improvisation


Soundwalking and improvisation

McCartney, Andra (2010) Soundwalking and improvisation. Improvisation, Community and Social Practice . (In Press)

Audio (Applr blossom soundwalk - Dr. Andra McCartney) (audio/mpeg)
Apple_blossom.mp3 - Other

Audio (RW Apple blossom kalimba mix - Rainer Wiens) (audio/mpeg)
RW_Apple.mp3 - Other
[thumbnail of Soundwalking and improvisation - Dr. Andra McCartney]
Text (Soundwalking and improvisation - Dr. Andra McCartney) (application/pdf)
soundwalking_improvisation.pdf - Submitted Version

Official URL: http://www.improvcommunity.ca/


Proponents of soundwalks have sometimes referred to the improvisational listening that is required in order to work with differing weather patterns, seasonal and other changes in the soundscape, as well as to shape the path of the soundwalker through the soundscape based on responses to auditory clues (see for instance McCartney 2005; Westerkamp
2006). However, public soundwalks are frequently conceptualized and planned in advance, with routes and activities laid out and adhered to by participants as a kind of score, circumscribing direct listening engagement with the soundscape. Similarly, audio walks, prepared headphone soundwalks and listening guides provide pre-conceived experiences for the audience. While listeners have been asked by soundscape researchers to think of the soundscape as a musical composition, what happens if we think of listening to the sound environment as an improvisational activity rather than as a
composition? Does this not make more sense since the sound environment is never a fixed entity, never completely scoreable? Listening improvisationally makes particular
sense for the mobile context of soundwalks, in which the motions of the soundwalkers create possibilities for changes of perspective through the space. In this article I wish to consider the various ways that soundwalking can benefit from improvisational thinking and practices during listening, framing of soundwalks, field recording, playing with recordings excerpted from soundwalks, playing with elements of soundwalks in improvisational movement, and inviting improvising musicians to create soundwalks.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Article
Authors:McCartney, Andra
Journal or Publication:Improvisation, Community and Social Practice
Date:September 2010
  • Soundwalking Interactions
  • Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture
ID Code:6655
Deposited On:04 Jun 2010 19:37
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:29
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