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Cambridge live

The Sounds of Science - An incredible journey through 10,000 years of human discovery...

Thursday 28 September 2017

Evelyn Glennie explains how Sounds of Science fits in with her lifelong ambition of teaching the world to listen…

Three years ago, world history author Christopher Lloyd came to visit me with a very interesting idea. He wanted to use the arts, specifically music, as a way of telling the most extraordinary story of all. The story he wanted to depict was how humans have shaped the world over the last 10,000 years through science and engineering. It was such a captivating concept that I immediately became immersed in how such an idea could be created. The concept sent my thoughts spiralling!

The idea soon caught the attention of others and the next step was to find a composer to come on board. It was agreed that the best person to ask would be Jill Jarman. Jill is an extremely creative composer with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on several projects and who is always up for a challenge!

After selecting all the iconic sounds from science we definitely wanted to include as many as possible to be represented in this 20 minute rhapsodic piece. Very soon the time came for me to get into my studio and start experimenting with sound. Sound creation has always been one of my great passions and the Sounds of Science project has allowed me to unleash all the playfulness and creativity I have in my body. I meticulously went through all my instruments and toys to discover new ways of reproducing the sounds of water being stroked by a paddle, horses galloping, the wind blowing and so on.

My passion for discovering sounds and weaving these through a live piece of music is one of the reasons I’m so excited about this project. As a result of our collaborations today we have an incredible piece of music which we have titled Sounds of Science. This piece of music is intended to be a feast to the aural senses; listening as you know is something I am always keen to promote. Sounds of Science is much more than a collection of significant sounds, it is a narrative about a journey that we learned about in school; a journey that brings us to our advanced technology through the notions and concepts of scientists, engineers and technicians.

Throughout the music the piece awakens us to sounds triggering memories we may have forgotten or thought ourselves to ignore in our every day’s cacophony of sounds. Sounds depicting every significant moment in history including the discovery of fire, carving the wheel, connecting us via telephone. Most discoveries will have had or continue to bring life changing experiences to our lives and through this piece of music we are reminded of them - the arts brings forth yet another magnificent experience for audiences.

From traditional percussive sounds of hammering and tool making to the gentle buzz of electricity the piece will delight the sound palette whilst tinkering with our memories. This project will have something for everyone and the ability to cross boundaries and transcend traditional school subjects. Sounds of Science is one single piece of music bringing together history, knowledge, science, technology and the arts. With this project I’ve learned once more that nothing works in isolation and everything is connected. This project brings about inclusion through a unique concept allowing reflection and excitement to be tantalised, teased and tested. Audiences will be encouraged to imagine, guess, remember and understand the narrative through the sounds.

I recommend letting the imagination fly, allowing it to ignite all sorts of extraordinary developments and connections within ourselves and with others.

Book your tickets for Sounds of Science HERE


(This article first appeared in the Sounds of Science Promo pack)