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Ethnomusicology and Visual Ethnography

December 15, 2020

As part of the “Sguardi Sonori” Series, organized by Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Nicola Scaldaferri will take part to a workshop on ethnomusicology and visual ethnography. The event will start at 4pm, and will be web-streamed on FB and YT pages of Università di Cagliari.

Series Poster

The First Sound Heard

July 18, 2020

On the occasion of World Listening Day 2020, we would like to honour R. Murray Schafer’s birthday listening anew to his seminal words about the roots of human listening. Giovanni Cestino, editor of the new Italian edition of Il paesaggio sonoro [The Soundscape] (Ricordi-LIM, forthcoming), reads here the opening of the text in his revised translation. “What was the first sound heard? It was the caress of the waters”…

Giovanni Cestino reads the opening of his revised translation of Schafer’s Il paesaggio sonoro [The Soundscape].

Listening and Recording Vienna “Super Librum”

October 17, 2019

As part of the II Historical Soundscapes Meeting – Évora 2019, Giovanni Cestino (LEAV) will present a paper on his Evening in the Old Town (2019), an audiovisual soundwalk of the Vienna city center based on European Sound Diary (1977). The presentation will take place at Auditório of Colégio Mateus de Aranda of the University of Évora, at 3:20pm.


In 1975, Raymond Murray Schafer and his research group, the World Soundscape Project, toured in Northern Europe to study different rural and city soundscapes. A narrative account of the trip entitled European Sound Diary was among the results of that trip. The book combined excerpts from diaries by Schafer’s collaborators with city soundwalks to be performed by future readers. The soundwalk is an «excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment» (Westerkamp), «a form of active participation in the soundscape» (Truax) introduced by the World Soundscape Project to promote critical listening. A soundwalk often comes, in its written form, as a map with verbal instructions, and may also prescribe soundmaking practice.
Nearly 45 years after the World Soundscape Project trip, I performed the Vienna soundwalk again, documenting my experience in a 17’ video realized with the support of the LEAV (Ethnomusicology and Visual Anthropology Lab, University of Milan). To enhance a first-person perspective, I shot a video with an action camera fastened on my head, and also wore DSM microphones as earphones. Subtitles, elicited from the original soundwalk, have been added in post-production as a step-by-step commentary, and serve as a touchstone of how the Vienna soundscape transformed through time. The result is an audiovisual product which works on multiple levels: while the audiovisual level mediates the researcher’s experience, subtitles stimulate the audience’s response to what they see/hear and what they read.
In this paper I will illustrate the case study, touching on the technical choices and narrative strategies I adopted. Particularly, I will dwell on how certain concrete problems – which arose in the making of – prompted a reflection on some theoretical concerns. This audiovisual soundwalk, based on a previous experience, revealed how the 1977 text can not only work as a prescriptive device, but also as an historical source and a script. Moreover, this multimedia product might provide an additional educational practice in acoustic ecology which joins Schafer’s historical ones. Lastly, this case study contributes to the discussion on the authenticity of documentary practice, and links with the actual debate on the concept of soundscape.

Gianni Siviero

October 10, 2019

The double CD is a musical tribute to the singer and songwriter Gianni Siviero, by his friends and colleagues, with graphics by Marco Nereo Rotelli. It is published by Edizioni Squilibri, and supported by the Club Tenco.

The presentation will be chaired by Sergio Secondiano Sacchi and Antonio Silva, and introduced by Maurizio Corbella and Nicola Scaldaferri.

The event will take place in the Sala Napoleonica of the University of Milan (via S. Antonio 12), at 5pm.


Brera Design Days 2019

October 7, 2019

The event is organized by the Brera Design Disctrict, and incude a talk and the screenig of the documentary Vjesh/Singing, by Rossella Schillaci. The film tells the passage between different generation of women of the repertoire of polyphonic song in the arbëresh villages of S. Costantino and S. Paolo, in Basilicata; beside the presence of the singers, there is the presence of historical recording and old amateur videos embedded in the plot of the story, that focus on daily life, including rituals and religious festivals, a wedding, and accounts of emigrants story.

After the screening, a conversation between the filmmaker and Nicola Scaldaferri, who collaborated for the musical and ethnographic research.




Lines of Sounding Bodies

September 1, 2019

#URLA. Sonic Meta Parade took place on September 1st in Matera, as the closing event of the Open Sound Festival. More than 250 performers, who followed a “geographical score” by composer Yuval Avital, engaged the audience in a two-hour procession through the Sassi district where traditional performers, folkloric masks and modern instruments blended in an engaging sonic dialogue. (More here)

To capture his firsthand experience of the event, Giovanni Cestino realized an immersive audiovisual recording, wearing an action camera on his head, and DSM microphones as earphones. (The same gear has already been used in another recent documentary, Evening in the Old Town.)

He thus captured a protean performance from different points of observation – sometimes admiring it from afar, sometimes merging with it. The result will be a highly-subjective audiovisual product which aims to highlight both the sonic complexity and the incredible visual and cultural variety of that artistic project.



Official program notes

A5_#URLA_screen (2)_compressed


Photographs by Monkeys VideoLab, Alida Guatri, and Giovanni Cestino.