Soundstreams showcases the work of Canadian and international composers through innovative musical experiences.


So You Think You Can Listen?

Deep Listening is a practice that is intended to heighten and expand consciousness of sound in as many dimensions of awareness and attentional dynamics as humanly possible.

Pauline Oliveros from Deep Listening: A Composers’ Sound Practice

Pauline Oliveros’ career spans 50 years of boundary-dissolving music making. In the '50s she was part of a circle of iconoclastic composers, artists, poets living in San Francisco. The focus of Pauline’s life as a composer, performer and humanitarian has always been about opening her own and others' sensibilities to the universe and facets of sounds. Since the ‘60s, she has influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual.

Oliveros founded Deep Listening as a response to her childhood fascination with sounds and work in concert music with composition, improvisation and electro-acoustics. She describes Deep Listening as listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing. Such intense listening includes the sounds of daily life, of nature, of one's own thoughts as well as musical sounds. Oliveros is also an accomplished accordionist and improviser. Listen here to her recording entitled Deep Listening. This piece was recorded in an abandoned cistern on a military base outside of Seattle. There is no electronic processing, just the natural reverberation of the cistern.


At our salon on July 19, Toronto-based artist Anne Bourne will lead the audience through a series of Deep Listening exercises that open one to this new way of listening. This practice allows one to focus their listening on multiple levels through guided listening, singing and movement. You don’t need to be a musician to take part; the exercises are created for everyone. The practice is not about technique but about participation.

Example of what you may sing during the Salon: 

Deep Listening proposes more questions than it answers. Here is a list of questions and concepts that might get you in a Deep Listening mindset:

-What is sound?
-What is listening?
-Listen to any sound as if it had never been heard before
-Where does sound come from?
-If you are feeling sound where does it center or circulate in your body—psyche?
-What is the longest sound you heard today?
-Where have you heard the most sounds? The most variety? The most diverse?
-What sound reminds you of home?
-Do you listen for sound in your dreams? What do you hear? How does it affect you?
-What sound fascinates you?
-How many sounds can you hear all at once?
-Can you hear more sounds if you are quiet? How many more?
-Try not to listen to anything. What happens?
-What sound gives you chills?
-What sound ruffles your scalp?
-What sound would you like whispered in your ear?

As you can see this Salon will be unlike any other. We hope you can join us to discover a different way of listening and thinking about sound. Register for our next Salon 21 for free on the event page.

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