Music Cultures: Mediterranean Soundscapes

Discipline: Music
Instructor: Ciucci
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 10:50
End: 12:05
Field Work: Day 1 | Turkey

The term soundscape echoes the relationships between sound, space and social life. This approach to sound has inspired works from a variety of fields that call attention to multiple ways of listening and, subsequently, to an approach to landscapes in which the visual and the auditory are considered as mutually constitutive of each other. The course offers students the opportunity to study the sonic environments of the Mediterranean, and to contextualize them in a cultural area in which Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East are reclaiming their place. The students will explore the interaction between (1) sound and architecture-the construction of sacred spaces such as mosques, synagogues and churches; (2) sound and ecology-the auditory tracing of the rivers and the seaside; (3) sound and social life-the sensory world of the streets, cafes and the everyday open markets; and (4) sound and memory-the role of sound in the construction of a sense of place among migrants. Because films have greatly influenced ideologies of sound, the course will also examine soundtracks as a complex dialogue between images and sound that together affect the viewer’s experience.

Field Work

Country: Turkey
Day: 1

Istanbul sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, East and West, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and once was the center of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Istanbul may in fact be described as having a mix of cultures and a rich history, as an heterogeneous urban space, as a city whose people lie in multiple cultures and, thus, in multiple and migrating sounds that carry the historical memory of contacts within the Mediterranean. This field lab aims to investigate the soundscapes of two rather distinct districts: Sultanhamet-the center of the Old City that houses the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Blue Mosque, and so many other important buildings-and Istiklal Caddesi-in the neighborhood of Beyoglu which emerged as an enclave, a stronghold of "modernizing" tendencies. The investigation of these soundscapes-of the relationships between sound, space and social life-will allow students to reflect about the notion of Mediterranean as a complex cultural area in a more cosmopolite framework. The field lab will conclude by attending a Mevlevi mystical ceremony at an old historical Turkish bath that was recently converted into a cultural center.