Listen – A Portrait Of R. Murray Shafer

This is a profile of R. Murray Shafer, a Canadian composer and music and audio theorist known for popularizing the concept of soundscapes and for promoting ‘acoustic ecology’.

The video features an interesting summation of his views:

“The world is a huge composition that’s going on all the time, without a beginning and, presumably, without an ending. We are the composers of this huge, miraculous composition that’s going on around us, and we can improve it or we can destroy it. We can add more noises or we can add more beautiful sounds – it’s all up to us.

David New’s portrait of the composer was produced for the 2009 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.

via NFB, usoproject

5 thoughts on “Listen – A Portrait Of R. Murray Shafer

  1. Short, but great documentary! Schafer's book "The Soundscape" was an important source for my own bachelor thesis. I totally agree that we have much to gain if we defy the attitude of taking everyday sounds as something unimportant and uninteresting. A complex world of sound is around us all the time, we just have to listen to it. One more reason to always carry a mobile recorder ^^

  2. One of my hopes for the next ten years is that low-grade electronic prompts become softer and more beguiling. Take, for example, all the racket that currently accompanies an elevator ride: a nasty 'ding-dong'; a nasty voice intoning 'second floor' etc. This – of course – just an example of the aural pollution caused by possibilities outreaching taste…

  3. world listening day has recently [couple years now] been dubbed in murrays [birthday] honor…
    there's plenty we can do to soften the sound around us, our trite nostalgia for noise, at it's worst
    is grey matter cell phones, before we open them from the box they've already caused african kids death from mining for crystals that are used in the screens, at it's strangest, multi channel surround sound destroying our senses with hyper real orgiastic ensemble cast spewing out one liners to accompany over emotional orchestral overtones with BS effects blasting our ears off, to the saddest sound our psychic warfare of WILL bestows upon any remaining semblance of mother nature around us… i daresay 'tis time overdue for an anarchistic attack of silence on all fronts, shut up, this, our only chance, a final utterance of nothingness= turn off, tune out & listen [with]in, amen

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