What is a soundwalk?

by Jay Needham
A soundwalk is a walk taken with the sole purpose of focused listening. As Hildegard Westerkamp wrote in 1974,
Unless we listen with attention, there is a danger that some of the more delicate and quiet sounds may pass unnoticed by numbed ears and among the many mechanized voices of modern soundscapes and may eventually disappear entirely. Our first soundwalk is thus purposely exposing listeners to the total content of their environmental composition, and is therefore very analytical. It is meant to be an intense introduction into the experience of uncompromised listening.
Soundwalks are performed in silence, with several individuals or a small group progressing on a guided journey though any number of sonic territories. A soundwalk can be taken in an urban or  wilderness setting or any environments between. The intent is to encourage a more active sense of listening and to discover the rich complexities of the soundscapes around us.
For more information, or to register for a soundwalk on April 6 at Pomona Natural Bridge, visit imagining.siu.edu.
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