Study Day videos available on the MSSC YouTube Channel
In the 1960s, Canadian composer, educator, and writer R. Murray Schafer (1933-2021) developed his theory of sound and ecology, founding the World Soundscape Project at Simon Fraser University which generated the international field of acoustic ecology and impacted the fields of acoustic design, architecture, urban planning, music, and sound art.
His magisterial 12-part series of environmental music dramas, Patria (1965-2017) put his ecological insights into action in diverse settings — a city park, a wilderness lake, planting and harvesting a community garden. And his radical approach to experiential and environmental music education similarly informed his work in composition and acoustic ecology. Schafer was a prolific and polemical commentator on music in Canada and on Canadian identity; his views were often controversial, and his ideas have been subject to critique.
Through a resource bibliography, online study day, and concert we examined Schafer’s legacy from diverse perspectives, considering both the undoubted originality, importance, and ongoing influence of his ideas, and the many ways in which they have been engaged, taken in new directions, or rejected. We considered Schafer’s legacy in the context of burgeoning theories of sound, music, and ecology, their intersections with critical theories of race, Indigeneity, colonization, and immigration, and of artistic responses to ecological crisis.
The study day (on Zoom, September 30, 2022) featured 20 presenters including leading scholars and artists–those who worked directly with/on Schafer, those who have written across the grain of his ideas, and those who don’t connect their work with Schafer but who are innovating in areas of education, acoustic ecology, and environmental performance.
The concert, Music and Myth: Remembering R. Murray Schafer, took place at CDCC on September 24, 2022 and featured harpist Michelle Gott, the Molinari String Quartet, flutist Laura Deutsch, and singer Brooke Dufton.
The concert was co-produced by the MSSC and Ottawa Chamberfest with support from the School for Studies in Art and Culture, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University. Please click here to view the concert program.
This is a selective bibliography of works on acoustic ecology, music education, and environmental music. Our aim is both to reference Schafer’s own work, and to offer a wide variety of perspectives from scholars in music and sound studies. Where extensive bibliographic resources already exist (such as the library of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology), we have chosen to provide a link rather than to replicate that resource.
The bibliography is presented in two complementary formats: the Excel spreadsheet functions as a quick visualization and categorization of sources while the PDF document lists complete bibliographic citations alphabetically.
In the Excel document, the three categories can be visualized through colours: red for acoustic ecology, blue for music education, and green for environmental music and sound art. Where there is significant overlap between categories, we have expressed this with two colours. A few of the sources either escape these broad categories or cover them all, and in this case, they are left uncoloured. In addition, we have added a column comprising tags that are helpful to search materials by their study discipline (sound studies, anthropology, philosophy, biology, physics, urbanism, and architecture) and their format (book, book chapter, academic article, journalistic article, and dissertation).
We encourage users to regard this selective bibliography as a living document; additions and editing recommendations are welcome. If you have suggestions, please contact Ellen Waterman at email@example.com.
We hope that you find this list helpful and easy to navigate.
Sergio Parra Aguilera, Valentina Bertolani, and Ellen Waterman, July 1, 2022
- Ellen Waterman (project coordinator)
- Valentina Bertolani
- Sergio Parra Aguilera (graduate research assistant)
- Paul Théberge