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World Listening Day

by Nadene Thériault-Copeland

(published in the monthly column We Have Art in Our Nature for the Nipissing Reader, Volume 13 (06) 2017)

July 18 is World Listening Day, an annual global event first initiated in 2010 by the World Listening Project to commemorate the birthday of R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer, music educator and writer who is known for his influential book “The Tuning of the World” and his role in the World Soundscape Project. Schafer first coined the term soundscape, referring to the soundscape as an acoustic environment consisting of events heard, rather than objects seen.

World Listening Day 2017 is an opportunity to consider and engage one another with an ear to our environment, to understand our shared role in making and listening across generations, disciplines and communities, and to reflect and honor the life and legacy of Pauline Oliveros, an influential pioneer of electronic music composition and improvisation, and a founder of the practice Deep Listening.

This year’s theme is “Listening to the Ground”

“Sometimes we walk on the ground, sometimes on sidewalks or asphalt, or other surfaces. Can we find ground to walk on and can we listen for the sound or sounds of ground? Are we losing ground? Can we find new ground by listening for it?”—Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016)

New Adventures in Sound Art’s World Listening Day events are on July 15 with composer and sound healer Wendalyn Bartley (workshop and performance at NAISA North Media Arts Centre in South River).

Take a 1/2 hour out of your day on July 18th and go on a soundwalk.

What is a soundwalk? In a soundwalk, we listen to the environment around us by (re)focusing our ears so that we can listen without relying on visual input.  During a SOUNDwalk, we can focus on many aspects of the acoustic environment by: listening as if it were a musical composition, in which all of the parts are creating a piece for us; listening socially for sounds that effect and interact with each other, as in ‘call and response,’ or a conversation: listening for special resonances where a footstep might echo or bounce off structures in interesting ways.


World Listening Project

Aracana Editions carries all of R. Murray Schafer’s educational books

World Forum for Acoustic Ecology

New Adventures in Sound Art


Nadene Thériault-Copeland is the Executive Director of New Adventures in Sound Art and co-owner of Warbler’s Roost in South River. She studied composition with James Tenney at York University where she received her B.A. Spec. Hons. Music in 1991. naisa@naisa.ca

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