R. Murray Schafer 360°



R. Murray Schafer 360°

This course celebrates the life and work of R. Murray Schafer, encouraging students to engage with his work in creative and transformational ways. A composer, artist, writer, music educator, and environmentalist, Schafer is perhaps best known for his concern for acoustic ecology and his World Soundscape Project, a group that sought to bring awareness to the city’s rapidly changing soundscape (a term he coined) of Vancouver and other Canadian cities through location recordings and environmental advocacy. His acute awareness of the impact of technological sound on humans led to the publication of several booklets (The Book of Noise and The Music of the Environment) and his most important book, The Tuning of the World, which summarizes his theories and philosophies on acoustic ecology. The concept of soundscape has influenced every aspect of Schafer work, including his compositions and educational philosophy. His String Quartet No. 2, known as Waves, for example, was structured rhythmically around the intervals at which ocean waves crest. Other compositions, such as Music for Wilderness Lake (scored for 12 trombones around a small rural lake) or his 12-part operatic cycle Patria were designed for performance in the wilderness. Influenced by John Cage’s concept of creative hearing and sensory awareness, Schafer has sought to bring his philosophies on listening and sound-making into Canadian classrooms.


Research Team

Research Groups

The individual research groups will explore R. Murray Schafer’s life and work in the following areas: