Editor’s Note: I’m delighted to present the first of a two-part series of essays penned for Landscape Music by guest author, composer Christina Rusnak.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Lias, 2012.
If you research “Music” and “Advocacy” together, invariably your search will bring up articles, scholarly and otherwise, about Music Education Advocacy: why to, if to, when to, and how to advocate for music in the schools. Add to the search “Landscape”, and up pops essays on ethnomusicology. While I certainly agree that landscape shapes culture, I contend that our environment—the physical landscape—undoubtedly has influenced musical creation for eons.
“Sound is one of the original elements of the Earth’s ecosystem.” Like us, sound and music require air. “Music breathes; giving it breath and beauty is what we call music making.” Music is what composers create to reflect our human experience.
Music is, has been, and always will be transitory! Whether we are hiking, biking, riding a horse or driving, the nature of experiencing the landscape is also transitory.
Research is mounting that getting outside and experiencing nature is essential for our health. I myself am a product of the transformative power of wilderness. A field botany class in college, during which we hiked over 60 miles in Big Bend National Park, literally changed my life.
There are those who consider composing new music about place, whether urban or wilderness, problematic—“primarily because of its transitory nature.” Really? Music is, has been and always will be transitory! Whether we are hiking, biking, riding a horse or driving, the nature of experiencing the landscape is also transitory. Continue reading