VOLUME 7 (2019)


A New or Another Sound Map: Annea Lockwood and Mark Sciuchetti Listen to the Hudson River, by Denise Von Glahn and Mark Sciuchetti

This article is the result of a collaborative project between Denise Von Glahn, Professor of Musicology at Florida State University (FSU), and Mark Sciuchetti, newly appointed Assistant Professor of Geography at Jacksonville State University. They met at FSU while Sciuchetti was pursuing degrees in musicology and cultural geography. The article started with both authors independently studying Annea Lockwood’s 1982 piece A Sound Map of the Hudson River. Intrigued by how the river might sound today, Sciuchetti proposed his own mapping project of the river, but rather than recording along its shore, as Lockwood had done, he and a crew journeyed on the water.

Water Sounds: Four Essays, by Marcus Zagorski

These four essays follow the course of water and its sounds: beginning from snow, moving through seasonal streams, to rivers, and ending in oceans. My hearings of place—in, respectively, the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia, the hills above Portola Valley in California, the Danube river near Bratislava, and the Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of Ireland—inspired me to think about the relation of sound, nature, and being human. Water speaks, in all of its forms. These essays try to capture some of what it spoke to me.

Birdsong and its Socio-Cultural and Environmental Implications Among the Yoruba People of Nigeria, by Olusegun Stephen Titus

Like many genres of song, nature songs contain philosophical principles which can be derived for human learning. This paper examines natural elements as socio-cultural signifiers in a selected song by Christopher Omotoso. One of his songs contains bird metaphors that re-enact the socio-cultural philosophies of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. This paper therefore examines how one of his musical pieces, “Eye Orofo” (a type of parrot), is enriched by natural phenomena and how he mobilizes and explores these elements. Data were collected through interviews, cultural history, and participant observation during the performance of the song. The song was analyzed using insights from ecomusicological theory. This paper suggests that songs reflect larger environmental tensions within Yoruba culture. It suggests that the musical representation and signification of nature in “Eye Orofo” reflects on the socio-cultural, signifying cautions, moderations, abilities, inadequacies, and the need for good interpersonal relations within the Yoruba worldview.

Eco-Music Theory, by Edwin K. C. Li

In this article, I suggest that music theory, currently not being on the radar of ecomusicology, can offer ecomusicology a critical awareness of and sensibility to our relationship with nature itself that is neither apocalyptic nor nostalgic (Rehding 2011), but conceptual. Rather than merely asking questions about how we, as music scholars, respond to natural crises and how music relates to nature (Allen 2011, 392), we might also benefit from an eco–music theoretical viewpoint to fundamentally question what nature and music theory do and mean: Is nature the problem in, or the solution to, music theory? Why is musical logic always grounded in nature, when logic itself ought to be self-grounding? In music theory, what can nature be and why is it significant? In this article, I attempt to answer these questions by discussing the dialectic of nature in Hugo Riemann’s (1849–1919) and Heinrich Schenker’s (1868–1935) music theories. I argue that nature can be the reason of and the solution to their political crisis, that is, to monumentalize their theories in history, and to enable history to progress in modernity. I conclude by suggesting that this case study reminds us that human domination over nature has long operated on a conceptual plane, and that ecomusicology can respond to this conceptual Anthropocene by embracing the multiplicities of meaning of nature.