Silence as listening opportunity: a communicative approach in soundscape composition




Research on anthropic silence in the soundscapes of Abruzzo is proposed, in particular in the mountains of Gran Sasso National Park and Regional Natural Park of Sirente Velino. The “anthropic silence” is defined as a situation of absence of human sounds(noises) for time spans of at least five uninterrupted minutes [G. Hempton]. The composition of a piece entitled Studio II: sui silenzi sonori d'Abruzzo is combined with the research. The title (“on Abruzzo's sounding silences”) of the piece represents an oxymoron: according to what we can ascertain, silence as the absence of sounds does not exist, in no absolute sense. There is, however, silence as the absence of sound with respect to audibility, measurability, or - as in our case - with respect to a predetermined threshold. This means that silence can exist if understood as silence (noiselessness) in a particular communicative area or portion of the soundscape and is always permeated by sound and thus experienced through listening. Therefore, the centrality of silence within certain sound environments helps us to understand which sounds are found in its definition, which varies depending on the context. Silence is a sound because it is accessed through listening. This brings up important issues, even with respect to a sound ecology and “soundscape composition” approach in relation to the context. Under this premise, the ecological approach to creativity proposed here raises a question of broader interest such as determining a relationship between the external soundscape shifted in a different context and the soundscape composed of the listening space itself, emotionally involving the listener. Executive space in soundscape is considered as an integral element of the musical and compositional experience in which the existential experience of listeners must be central. Sound must be considered not as something that is transmitted from the environment to the listener but as mediation or creation of relationships between listener and environment. Spatialization techniques implement a process of decontextualization. There is no objectivity in electroacoustic transduction equipment. The concept of fidelity highlights the "quality" of the signal and its faithful reproduction, yet it overlooks a possibly true relationship to the context, between the original sound and reproduced sound: through a communicative approach, "fidelity" to the inseparability of sound from its context may make the sound more true to the current conditions of actual space (place). Here we will try to illustrate the way in which this issue has been addressed in the realization of Studio II through an approach in which, rather than considering sound as coming from the environment to the listener, it is considered as mediation or creation of relationships between the listener and the environment through the research and the use of silence.




I began my musical studies at the Conservatory of L'Aquila at the age of eleven. During the first years of high school, I decided to abandon classical education to dedicate myself to the world of electronic music and turntablism. I achieved my high school diploma from scientific high school and then my electronic studies oriented in composition started at the Conservatory. I collaborated several times with the "Collettivo Giallo" of the Academy of arts of L' Aquila offering sound installations and live performances. In 2014 I realized an audiovisual presentation entitled 3:32 and dedicated to the soundscape after the earthquake which hit L'Aquila in 2009. The work was presented during the exhibition Atto Nullo. In 2018 I was a finalist at the XIV Prize of the Arts (Sect. Electronic Music and N.T), category A - original acousmatic works with the piece Reconstruction of environmental sounds and granular processing. Since 2018 I have dedicated myself to the research and census of the places of silence in Abruzzo and I realized the piece Studio I: on the soundscapes of Abruzzo, dedicated to the acoustic pollution present in the National Park of Abruzzo. In 2019 I graduated in Electronic Music under the guidance of M° Agostino Di Scipio with the thesis entitled Studio II: on Abruzzo's sounding silences. In 2019 I participated at the Festival of Arts, a tribute to Beverly Pepper with the installation Embrace the Silence, installed on the work of Land Art Embrace by B. Pepper.