- Objets trouvés ou matériel artistique
A flexible process that can take one workshop, or many.
- Associations communautaires
Sound Waves : An Approach to Layered Soundscape-Making
Sound Waves shares an approach to layered soundscape-making that responds to research themes through multiple art forms, in order to create inclusive and accessible soundscapes, for groups of intergenerational mixed-ability singers, that can be layered into musical compositions. These soundscapes can be precise, improvisational and infused with participant perspectives and experiences.
This interdisciplinary workshop demonstrates an approach to community-engaged music making that comes out of practices and approached developed by Ruth Howard and Jumblies Theatre + Arts.
The process was developed by Shifra Cooper, through compositions by Binaeshee-Quae Nabigon Couchie, informed by practices developed by Ruth Howard and Jumblies Theatre + Arts. It is part of the production of What Was My Backyard ? a musial show co-produced by Jumblies, The Community Arts Guild and Theatre Direct. including over 100 singers through The Gather Round Singers and UTSC Concert Choir, and key contributions from associate artists Tijana Spasic, Natalie Fasheh and Patrick Murray.
We invite you to follow, enjoy and adapt these steps for soundscape-creation, to suit your own interests and contexts. If you are interested in the themes or production of What Was My Backyard ?, please don’t hesitate to be in touch for information about licensing the music or show.
Sound Waves : An Approach to Layered Sound Making
1. Build Relationships and Do Research
This flexible sound-creation process can be as brief as one workshop, or take many sessions, enriched by deeper explorations and growing relationships. Our collaborative workshops grew out of many rich, long-term factors, including :
Learning from expert, interdisciplinary community-engaged artists at Jumblies Theatre + Arts
Collaborations with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists through the What Was My Backyard ? Project
And investing in The Gather Round Singers Choir as an inclusive, welcoming, all ages choral space for singers of all experience levels.
2. Share Research
In our case, this was a presentation by Composer Binaeshee-Quae to the choir about the role and importance of Water within the musical piece
But this could be any source content shared by an expert of any kind !
3. Choose an Image
Choose an image from what was shared. Our image was a wave, but you could choose any image that connects to your context. Examples could include : leaves, music notes, footprints, fish etc). Create enough copies so that each singer can have one ; cardboard and pastels are recommend. (See project score or video for examples).
4. Generate Text
Come up with simple questions that will invite community responses to the research shared. Use these to generate text and write them on your cardboard images. our questions were :
Think of an outdoor space that you spend time in, either currently, or in your own memory/personal history.
What is something you know or wonder about the Indigenous and ancient history of this place ?
5. Play with Movement and Sound
Lead participants through improvisations to respond to key images and ideas. Our improvisations started with movement, led by Tijana Spasic, slowly adding community-generated movements and sounds to activate our waves.
6. Select a Sound Vocabulary
Out of your improvisations and explorations, decide on a sound vocabulary of 2–4 distinct prompts. Our sound prompts for moving water were developed by Composer Binaeshee-Quae out of community explorations : Drip, Swish, Ahh. Take time to build soundscapes using this vocabulary and build familiarity with the improvisational form.
7. Infuse the Sound Vocabulary with Text
Invite community singers to choose one word they have written down. For example, if someone wrote : “I know this was once full of grass,” they might choose the word grass.
Practice performing this word in a variety of ways (ex : whisper, sing, stretch) to build confidence and familiarity with it.
Then, map this word against the sound vocabulary to build a new soundscape, infused with participant stories/perspectives. For example, in our soundscape, this would mean performing the word grass in the style of a Drip, Swish, and Ahh.
See project video for an example of this in action !
8. Layer in Other Music/Movement
Once your soundscape is established, you can layer in other forms, including the movement generated in earlier steps.
Your soundscape may accompany a movement piece, or another melody. In our case, the water soundscape accompanied a solo melody as part of the What Was My Backyard ? performance. See our project video to experience these layers coming together.
For more information about The Gather Round Singers or What Was My Backyard ? visit
For more information about Binaeshee-Quae’s music, visit www.binaeshee-quae.com
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