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Sacred sounds, sacred spaces: the Occidental Mediterranean

Reconstruct the past auditory experience and the acoustics phenomena of sacred performance spaces of the Iberian Peninsula & learn to appreciate its ancient and contemporary soundscapes

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • BA
  • MA
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Art, Design and Media
  • Computer Science and IT
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
Course dates
13 June - 14 July 2023

This Blended Intensive Programme is the continuation of the one made last year entitled "Sacred sounds, sacred spaces", a highly innovative educational module that explores the interplay between music, sound, and space in relation to the experience of sacredness in historical and synchronic perspective.

The objective of this year's course is to continue working on the concept of sacredness, especially in our contemporary society, and to imagine the future, overcoming the traditional idea that sacredness exclusively relates to the religious space, researching what sacred space and sacred sound mean today and in a perspective of the future. This module draws its core methods and analytical concepts from the fields of music (ancient and contemporary), sound studies, soundscapes, and urban study. They will be applied in historical research and creative reconstruction of auditory perception of indoor and outdoor spaces.

This module covers different aspects from archaeology and philology in Antiquity to nowadays technologies and creative and scientific tendencies. Several sacred spaces will be selected through the sound dimension, proposing a current idea of the sacredness involved in modernity, exploring liturgical spaces and the music and sound practices hosted throughout the Mediterranean. On the preparatory stage, students will familiarize themselves with the key themes and methods of the field through 3 three-hour intensive online lectures held by different CIVIS partners, that lead to a full-week meeting in Spain (Madrid, and sites near Madrid), structured around lectures and diverse in situ educational (sound ethnography, field recordings) and creative activities (sound design, soundwalks).

The aim of this summer school is to provide the continuation of last year's interdisciplinary course, as started in Athens, so that students will:

  • Develop a critical view on the concepts of sound ecology, soundscapes, acoustemology, acoustics of sacred spaces, virtual acoustics, sound ethnography, archaeomusicology, and Iberian musical cultures
  • Techniques of analysing historical and contemporary perception space via sound
  • Techniques of synthesis and reconstruction of sound experience

The Blended Intensive Programme Sacred sounds, sacred spaces is taught by a highly motivated team of experts from the fields of Music Studies, Urban Studies and Philology, and it is offered to students on Degree/Masters/PhD level from equivalent fields. Overall, the course is based on blended mobility of academics and students. This design has a sustainable form, and it can be repeated in the following two years among the same partners.

Main topics addressed

  • Archaeomusicology
  • Soundscapes
  • Music Technology
  • Audiovisual Spaces
  • Sound Art
  • Soundwalking

Learning outcomes

Different goals will be achieved by the addition of skills of the universities involved in the project:

  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid: transdisciplinary approach to examine Iberian sources and modern musicological techniques of natural environment reconstruction and architectural acoustics to recreate the alleged sounds of the past
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens: music theory in mathematics, acoustics and technology, to use special computer software. Tools from experimental archaeomusicology will be used to create acoustic spaces, new compositions and measure soundscapes
  • University of Tübingen: Digital Humanities to understand and explore the relationship between sacred song and architecture in the Middle Ages
  • University of Glasgow: Field Recording, Sound and Place, as a creative, compositional activity, considering issues of soundscape, acoustic ecology, environmental aesthetics, and everyday sonic experience
  • Université Hassan II Casablanca: analysis of magreb music in sacred spaces, and its influence in Al-Andalus throughout history. Analysis of the religious, oration and ceremonial spaces of the sufi jewish and musulman music

In consequence, the learning outcomes will be:

  • Education activity that stimulates research collaboration
  • Transdisciplinary challenge-based activity
  • Initiative that stems from the field of social sciences and/or addresses corresponding focus areas
  • Initiative with a long-term perspective for the development of allied teaching projects/programmes
  • Activity that includes student mobility
  • Involvement of European partners and others
  • Societal outreach/connection to CIVIS Open Labs
Dates: 13 June - 14 July 2023 Total workload: 90 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 3*
Location: Madrid, Spain Language: English (B2) 
Contact: joseluis.carles@uam.es  

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

The physical mobility part will be running from 10 to 14 July 2023.

This is the programmed schedule for the working week in Madrid, with the description of the activities of each day:

DAY 1

  • According to last edition of Sacred Sounds, Sacred Spaces (Greece, July 2022), this time pre-Roman and Roman music in actual Spain will be researched and recorded in different archaeological venues. Therefore, lectures and practices will be held on Celtic and Iberian, as well as Roman, iconographic representations and literature on music and dance, during a span of time that lasts from aproximatedly VI BCE to the IV/V CE.

DAY 2

  • Tübingen will carry on developing in major detail different aspects of some of the questions treated in his virtual session. A historical space will be selected in Madrid to work in and present the above-mentioned repertoire, as well as recorded by the students, assisted by the teaching staff, with auralisation techniques in order to prepare a measurement of this church and subsequent virtual acoustic reconstruction. Analysis of the singing voice related to historical spaces

DAY 3

  • Glasgow will offer seminars exploring in further depth topics including:
    • Acoustic ecology and ecological aesthetics: human and natural soundscapes as compositional context
    • Music as a spatial practice
    • Soundwalking - sonic experience and personal listening
    • Living the acousmatic: immersive sound in performance
    • Media archaeological approaches to soundscape
    • Improvisation, body, voice and space
    • Virtual audiovisual spaces - transperceptual perspectives
    • Theories of listening and immersive media reception

DAY 4

  • On-site studies. Soundwalk “The case of the Paisaje de la Luz. Prado-Retiro area” (World Heritage Site by UNESCO). Workshop by Cristina Palmese and Ricardo Atienza. Presentation of works on the reconstruction of historical soundscapes of Madrid and acoustic modelling studies “The case of the Jerónimos Cloister” and “Prado Museum: soundscapes in time. Relationship between painting and soundscape”. How sound changes the experience of looking at a painting in the Museum.

DAY 5

  • Students, assisted by the teaching staff, will create their artistic and scientific projects from the data collected during the week, and will defend them in public.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 13 to 27 June 2023.

DESCRIPTION

Students will learn to understand the acoustic phenomena in performance spaces, and learn to appreciate the acoustics in sacred places. Students will have the opportunity to conduct acoustic data collection (recordings and acoustic measurements) of the natural acoustics of places of significance. Students will listen, record and work with sounds in the natural landscapes. They will also explore the roots of Mediterranean music history by connecting sounds of all times to actual technologies of sound treatment and design.

SCHEDULE

WEEK 1: Madrid-Tübingen (13 June)

  • Pre-Roman and Roman archaeomusicology in the Iberian Peninsula: vocal and local environments, according to archaeological, iconographical and textual sources
  • Medieval liturgical repertoires in the Peninsula, such as: Codex Calixtinus, Codex Las Huelgas, Sacred Marian Chants of the Cantigas de Santa Maria

WEEK 2: Athens-Glasgow (20 June)

  • The science of the singing voice in sacred spaces. Byzantine singing in sacred medieval spaces. Augmented choir in historical spaces. Modelling singing voice, virtual acoustics and the sound of cicadas
  • Relationships between music and soundscape, sound mapping, planning, conservation and reconstruction. Recording, editing and spacialization of sound

WEEK 3: Madrid-Casablanca (27 June)

  • Music and soundscape, acoustic ecology, ecological aesthetics, everyday sonic experience and cultural heritage issues around architecture, soundscape reconstruction, simulation and modelling
  • Incorporate the sacred spaces of Magreb through sound and music, as well as the cultural interconnections between both shores of the Mediterranean through ancient and traditional music and soundscapes. Analysis of the religious oration and ceremonial spaces of the sufi jewish and musulman music

Requirements

This course is open to Bachelors', Masters' and PhD students at CIVIS member universities with a background in Sound Art, Classical and Medieval Studies, Archaeology, Musicology, Architecture, or History. 

However, this course is also open to students from different disciplines such as Music, Musicology, Archaeology, Philology, Architecture, Urban Studies, Scenic Arts, Audiovisual, Arabic Studies, etc., treated from an interdisciplinary approach, combining science, arts and technology

English language (B2/C1 expected). 

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Check link for the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 28 February 2022. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the relevance of the CV and of the Motivational letter.

Apply now

Assessment

Students will have to prepare a memory of the activities held during the virtual and Summer School lessons, and they will also have to develop a creative project (audiovisual, multimedia, sound piece...), designed with all the tools used during their tuition. The memory should be presented as a dossier, including theoretical aspects, methods and a registration on different aspects of the techonological resources and devices used during the course. Furthermore, students must fulfill a survey including personal valoration on different aspects that should be changed in next editions of this same course (virtual lessons, mobility program, organization...).

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

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Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

  • Dr. José Luis Carles (Interfacultative Music Department): Composer and ecologist. Doctor in Biological Sciences (UAM). Director/presenter with Cristina Palmese of the program “La casa del sonido” (2002-, Classical Radio-RTVE). Author of soundtracks for cinema, Director of the International Congress on Sound and Audiovisual Spaces (6 ed.), Director of the Ibero-American Meetings on Soundscapes (4 ed.). Awards such as Research Grant (César Manrique Foundation), Bancaixa Foundation Award, Avanca Cinema-Portugal, First Prize at the 33rd International Electroacoustic Music Competition of Bourges 2006 Quadrivium Section...
  • Dr. Luis Calero Lecturer in Greek Philology (Department of Classics): PhD in Studies of the Ancient World by UAM and UCM, Bachelor of Classics by UAM, and Bachelor or Arts (Singing and Piano, Royal Conservatoire of Music of Madrid). His main research areas are (1) Music and Scenic Arts in Ancient Mediterranean and (2) Paths of Musical and Literary transmission between the Ancient Asian Reigns and the Archaic Greece. He also researches on ancient music in the Iberian Peninsula
  • PDIF Alejandro Rodríguez Antolín (Interfacultative Music Department): Extraordinary Prize of the Degree in History and Science of Music and Music Technology (UAM). Master and PhD in Artistic, Literary and Cultural Studies, specializing in Music and Performing Arts. FPU contract (University Teacher Training), working in the Interfaculty Department of Music at the UAM. Specialized in music, technologies and Digital Humanities, interested in interdisciplinary and multimedia creation in relation to electroacoustic music and sound art, as well as computer music.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

  • Professor Anastasia Georgaki (Music Technology): Professor in Music Technology and Head of the Music Department, head of the Laboratory of Music Acoustics and Technology of the NKUA, PhD in Music and Musicology of the XXth century ( emphasis on music technology), Bachelor of Physics, and diplomas in music (Accordeon and Piano, Hellenic Conservatory of Athens).
  • Assistant Professor Areti Andreopoulou (Music Technology): Assistant Professor in Music Technology (NKUA). Bachelor’s degree in Music Studies from the Department of Studies, NKUA (2005) and a Master’s (2008) and a PhD degree (2014) in Music Technology from New York University. She conducts research as a member of the Laboratory of Music Acoustics and Technology (LabMAT) NKUA. Her fields of interest include but are not limited to 3D and spatial audio, the design and evaluation of immersive auditory environments, auditory displays, multimodal interactions, data sonification, acoustics, and audio signal processing

University of Tübingen

  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Morent, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Musicology: Studied musicology and computer science in Tübingen, recorder and historical performance practice in Trossingen, music of the Middle Ages with Andrea von Ramm and Sterling Jones. He received his PhD with "Studies on the Influence of Instrumental on Vocal Music in the Middle Ages" and his Habilitation with "The Middle Ages in the 19th Century. A Contribution to the History of Composing in France" in Tübingen. He is project leader of a research project on medieval music fragments from Württemberg monasteries funded by the German Research Foundation and speaker of the Exploration Full Fund "Sacred Sound".

University of Glasgow

  • Prof. Nick Fells: Professor of Sonic Practice at the University of Glasgow, composer, performer and sound artist. His research centres on creative and experimental approaches to sound, particularly the use of computer-mediated sound in performance and in electronic and audiovisual art-works. His work combines field and source recording, improvisation and other forms of live performance, computer-based sound processing and sound spatialisation. He has been a very active artist and performer all over the world.
  • Dr Iain Findlay-Walsh, Lecturer in Music: Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, an experimental music producer, composer and researcher whose work combines field recording and studio production with autoethnographic methods to research personal listening. His practice research explores aural and spatial perception, music reception, virtuality and selfhood. Outputs include sound installations, multichannel audio works, text scores, and spatial audio pieces for stereo headphones. Scholarly research engages with auditory reception and perception, first-person field recording, spatiality and virtuality in record production, sonic and textual autoethnography, and sound-based research methodologies.

Université Hassan II Casablanca

  • Leila Maziane, Head of Department of Histoire et Civilisations: Professor of modern history at the Hassan II University of Casablanca. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Mediterranean Historians and of the International Network on "The Governance of Atlantic Ports (14th to 20th centuries)". In addition to maritime and port history and heritage, his research topics are mobility. He has participated in numerous publications and projects of different sizes, all of them related to mobility and socio-cultural issues.

Other

  • Cristina Palmese, Paisaje sensorial Office Lab: Architect from the University of Naples. Specialist in Urban and Architectural design. PhD in Architecture from ETSAM, researcher, audiovisual artist. Lecture in Universidad Europea de Madrid . Director of the studio Paisaje Sensorial Office-lab. Her activity is developed in interdisciplinary fields interweaving theoretical, applied and creative research work. She is currently working on Project Soundscape of Paisaje de la Luz Madrid . She has participated in international research projects such as Metabody, Playing the space and ResonArt. Curator of the Semana del Sonido Madrid and of programme La Casa del Sonido, Radio Clásica RTVE
  • Ricardo Atienza, Konstfack, University of Arts, Crafts and Design of Stockholm: Researcher, Sound Artist, PhD Architect. Senior lecturer in Sound Art at Konstfack (Stockholm, Sweden). Research leader for the Art Department. A focus on the situated experience of place, on the multiple embodied, social, sensorial and sensible interactions established with and within our daily environments. Sound, as a qualified experience of place becomes here a main explorative tool and material for approaching the complexity of our everyday spaces and situations.
  • Hassab Sanaa, Musée Universitaire de Ben M'sik, Casablanca: Specialist in urban studies and the relation between the north of Morocco and the south of Spain (Late-Roman period)