soundscape

Ep. 29: R. Murray Schafer (1933-2021) Pt.1

R. Murray Schafer recently passed away on August 14th 2021. If you’re someone who works with sound or enjoys sound art or experimental music–or you’ve just thrown around the word “soundscape”–you’ve probably engaged with his intellectual legacy. Schafer was one of Canada’s most influential avant-garde composers. He was also the creator of acoustic ecology, the founder of the World Soundscape Project, and the author of the classic book The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. He brought a musician’s ear to the field of ecology and he brought an ecological perspective to music. And he bequeathed us a generative vocabulary for talking about and thinking about sound.

This is the first of a two-part series on R. Murray Schafer. Next month, we speak with two of Schafer’s critics–Mitchell Akiyama and Jonathan Sterne. But today, we speak with three of Schafer’s associates to understand the person, his creative works, and his lasting impact on the study of sound:

Creative works heard on today’s show:

Special thanks to Elisabeth Hodges for translation assistance, Alex Blue V for our outtro music, and Craig Eley for his dramatic turn as R. Murray Schafer.

Today’s show was produced and edited by Mack Hagood with additional editing by Ravi Krishnaswami.