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Sounding Waters: Elements of Water, Ice, and Snow in Sound and Music

A sheet of Renaissance music
Sounding Waters: Elements of Water, Ice, and Snow in Sound and Music
March 1, 4-6 pm.
The Kinney Center
 
This is the inaugural event of Elements, the multi-year arts and humanities project exploring the four classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water through a variety of cultural lenses across disciplines and across time. Evan MacCarthy will offer a guided listening session of excerpts of works of music and sonic art of the last four centuries, which evoke the creative, destructive, and restorative forces of water. The program will highlight instruments fashioned from water or ice, the expressive, recorded sounds of flowing, dripping, and melting, as well as songs and instrumental works capturing images and echoes of seas, rivers, floods, glaciers, and storms. We will investigate how composers, musicians, and sound artists have found musical meaning in the watery depths, rising tides, and quickly changing states and qualities of water.
 

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Elements is a multi-year arts and humanities project, which explores the four classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water through a variety of cultural lenses across disciplines and across time. We seek to bring together scholars and practitioners as we trace the roles played by these material elements and their constant state of flux in shaping conceptions of the cosmos, framing notions of origin, myth, religion, balance, and natural philosophy, and capturing the poetic powers of the natural world. 

For calendar year 2024 (spring and fall terms), events will be oriented around water and its pre-modern, contemporary, and future imaginings. The changing, moving states and qualities of water — melting, freezing, drying, evaporating, flowing, soaking, dripping, rising, flooding, poisoning, disappearing, cleansing, nourishing, preserving — are central to our programming. From rivers, lakes, and oceans, to fog, snow, and glaciers, we will explore human and non-human contexts of myth, cosmology, creation, disaster, extraction, consumption, pollution, scarcity, health, hygiene, and renewal. Events include performances, readings, viewings/listening sessions, and conversations.

Director, Evan MacCarthy, Professor of Music and Dance, UMass Amherst