For Shepard and others classical music in western industrial society is the ultimate revealing of cultural assumptions: of power, progress, and objectification. Of musical material being resources to be manipulated. Taking Paul Shepard to heart, is classical music is perhaps not the best way to reconnect with nature.
But then what is? Pikas are a strong indicator species of climate change. In their mountainous habitat, gathering food in caches to sustain them through the long sub-arctic winter is the key to survival. They are vulnerable to changing weather. Pikas die if there is not enough snow to provide insulation; a late spring growth of vegetation means not enough gathering time and starvation. High in the mountains, Pika are on the ecological edge of survival; there is nowhere else to go.
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The marginalization of living composers, especially in America, is astounding. Whether supported by the insular and competitive world of academia or a competitive commercial industry, their music and ideas have become ghosts in mainstream culture, Kudos to the average American that can think of three living American composers off the top of their head.
Perhaps, composers are also an indicator species of the spiritual and ecological health of a society. Composers gather much in the form of social data, holing up in studio dens to sculpt food for the soul. Composers are vulnerable to changing cultural weather; starvation can be a real concern. In a society that seems built on its ability to take , compromising the integrity of human and non-human communities alike, composers consistently give, strengthening our resolve against destruction through elemental creativity. Like the Pika, many of us also feel pushed to the margins.
Living in the most materialistic culture ever to exist, we are often lone voices in a wilderness. Composers, like many artists, think in terms of the big picture, which gets you into trouble in a society often in complete denial of the big picture or not aware of one at all. And as social and environmental collapse loom everywhere; this condition is, more than ever, profoundly associated and dependent upon our relationship with the natural world.
In many ways I believe art originated in the mythic realm of understanding our relationship with nature. Researchers have determined that the famous cave paintings of 30, years ago were acoustically rich places; paintings are placed carefully in reverberant chambers, and on walls that produce otherworldly vocal effects. Implying the oldest documented art and sound design was deeply connected to sentiments of the animate natural world. And I believe it is time for art, and especially music to remind of this participation and relationship again to a civilization on the brink.
And when thinking of his concerns, I realize they make sense. Inspiring composers through nature in order to inspire others toward nature is a dynamic idea. Especially when it works. He designed a small room with surround speakers and walls white as snow. He systematically assigned electronic tones to real-time seismological data transmitted from several active meteorological stations in central Alaska. When the sun is out one can hear what sounds like soprano and bell-like timbres chorusing at high frequency with lights in the room shifting, corresponding to the aural colors.
A low mellow tone is assigned to the moon and over the course of the day one can hear its slow rise into the evening. The sound world enraptures you, taking hold not just of your senses but your being —as if you were dreaming. Whether one is among the rainforest choruses of Mbuti pygmies or the Rain Dances of the North American plains these traditions inhabit environments of space and sound—many essentially see human and non-human cultures as one.
Indigenous music traditions are symbiotically linked to the natural pathways of life—often adhering to non-human cycles of change and non-human powers. Adams strongly believes in recreating these myths to serve a changing cultural and physical climate. Perhaps culture on an industrial scale is no longer truly possible in world increasingly fragmented by its very site-specific political and ecological concerns.
Included in this participation are clear boundaries of respect within a broader universe. In this way music is like myth—ubiquitous stories we shape to help us shape and continue crucial understandings of our place in the cosmos. Yet, classical music is akin with indigenous music more than one would suspect.
It is in the timelessness of classical music where we find true ritual and tradition in contemporary society. Where people still take time to dress and act a certain way to communally participate in something that cannot be spoken, only felt. It was environmentalism that first brought John Luther Adams to Alaska—it was the classical tradition of composing that brought Adams to us. The awe and mystery we activate in music—so essential to our health—is analogous to our experience in nature.
The ubiquity of music across all human communities suggests it is fundamental as well to human relationships with the world—something essentially spiritual and timeless. It is not, by any means, the only music capable of this, but it is consistently demanding enough to keep alive the practice of listening —both literally and figuratively essential in reaching a cultural symbiosis with our communities and environments. If understanding deep ecology presupposes this symbiosis, the act of deep listening may be one of the most easily reached and powerful of tools, providing templates for new cultural expression.
As Adams posits, where do we go to listen? Classical music is not inaccessible but rather like our condition, multi-faceted, amorphous. Why could it not heal the dissociated state of our personal lives? Why not compose a new indigenous music out of traditions from sacred, ancient understandings, not on an industrial scale but a human scale? Every one of these meetings was engaging, extremely personal and revolutionary.
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Of course, there were common differences of approach and opinion but we all felt a sense of purpose and deep curiosity missing from our normal academic, personal and even professional lives; this purpose was also more about others and otherness —in this case nature—than it was about personal expression or fulfillment. Composing for us was not just the production of beautiful or expressive objects, but a process of discovery in which we explore our inner and outer environments.
Wolves of Timbre II: Stranger Sisters
A process as easily tapped in a city park as in a national one. The sense that we were affected by place and able to influence each other as a result of place was extraordinary. It really seemed that for those brief days and nights, composing late in the midnight sun of Alaska, we had created an entirely different world— shedding light on the future. I came away feeling that classical music has a real chance to revitalize and meaningfully cultivate an ecologically centered cultural identity: a new indigenous music to articulate and sustain new myths of our place in a twenty-first century wilderness.
Wolves of Timbre II: Stranger Sisters by Plato Kasserman - Read Online
The Rosales organ is an amazing, awe inspiring feat of engineering, vision, and the mysticism of sound. Among them was the accomplished composer Dr.
Cyril Deaconoff, organist and music director of the First Church of Oakland. Kismet gazed up at the large window. She could see nothing but a swirling storm of drowned ghosts clamoring for her attention. You grew up in Timbre, Kismet. You should be used to the rain by now. Boon held out a handwritten hall pass.
List of baritones in non-classical music
She lowered her head and took it from his hand. Jonny, the boy with the white streak in his black hair, whispered, Sorry! The teacher resumed his lesson about Milton and his dead friend. The ghosts swooped down on her as soon as she stepped outside. No matter how many she released, it never seemed that there were any fewer.
She covered her ears and squinted down at her feet. That did little to silence them, however, for ghosts speak directly to the mind. They begged her for orders, but Free us! The Genius Charm had made them all her slaves. This was not the first time she had been sent to Mrs. Orris had sent her here. Even back then, the sailor ghosts had been getting out of hand. She had needed a break from their chatter just to hear whatever Mrs. She was glad to know that the barrier was still there. Inside the office, it was strangely quiet and empty.
At least she knew the barrier was working. The school secretary looked up from his computer and asked, Did your teacher send you here? Kismet nodded and handed him the hall pass. He looked it over and pointed her to the back room. A woman with curly white hair opened the door and looked down her nose at Kismet. Oh no. The spare desk in Mrs.
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