Elder Oliveira, Filipe Lopes, Sara Carvalho


This paper presents the methodology employed to create the sound installation Saving Shapes (2016-2018). Based on that, we will present some remarks about composing music for sound installations at outdoor places on exhibition for prolonged periods of time, particularly strategies to avoid audio loops. Our approach is based on three phases: (1) gather a wide range of phenomenological “information” from the place, mostly by performing soundwalks, taking notes and doing sound recordings (2) analyzing that “information” and composing music to be performed and installed at that specific place (3) periodically recreate the composition/installation using new “information” retrieved by repeating step number 1.

Our research is mostly based and inspired on ideas from soundscape studies and artistic practices of well-known authors such as Murray Schafer (1977), Hildegard Westerkamp (1974), Barry Truax (2001), David Abram (1996) and Bernie Krause (2013). For our specific work and research, Westerkamp and Krause are two key figures. On the one hand, Westerkamp (1974) addresses the surrounding environment as a performing place to be experienced while one performs a soundwalk. She believes that such a “performance” (i.e. soundwalking) within complex soundscapes (e.g. outdoor locations) is a rich sonic experience, thus, we believe, interesting to create (and recreate) music compositions. Soundwalking became the central aspect of our creative and analytical methodology, understood here as a multifaceted activity to listen, record and devise music compositions; on the other hand, Krause defined biophony, geophony and antrophony as complementary spheres of the soundscape, thus, defining a clear theoretical and practical reference about the acoustic elements of a given place. Krause’s spheres of the soundscape, together with Westerkamp’s soundwalk, are essential to our methodology and they form the theoretical and practical basis of our proposed creative process. Saving Shapes (2016-2018) was composed for an outdoor space. We believe that outdoor spaces, as opposed to indoor spaces, are best suited for our proposed creative methodology. Outdoor spaces offer an infinitude of complexities that (might) transform and dialog with instrumental and electroacoustic sounds.

Lastly, we will discuss the benefits of revisiting the same place to experience its particularities and meanings as a methodology, as opposed to using a computer to retrieve data in real time during the period of the installation. A lot of objects and narratives were constantly explored during a long period of time to instigate new (or old) connections between environmental sounds and the creative process. It materializes the multiple roles of soundwalking and the idiosyncrasy of the “human factor” to rebuild perspectives and transforming pre-existing compositions for a specific place.


INET-md, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Is Bachelor’s degree from the Universidade Federal de Pelotas (UFPel) and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), both in Brazil. Throughout his career, he had studied musical composition with Arthur Kampela (BR-USA), Luigi Abbate (ITA), Iancu Dumitrescu (ROM), Ana-Maria Avram (ROM), Beat Furrer (CHE), Sara Carvalho (PT) and Filipe Lopes (PT), meeting different composing techniques of instrumental and electroacous- tic music, for concert halls or outdoor spaces. Nowadays, Elder Oliveira is a Ph.D. student at University of Aveiro. His studies are inspired on soundscape studies and artistic practices of Murray Schafer, Hildegard Westerkamp, Bernie Krause and David Abram, exploring performances of soundwalking as methodological view to compose music according with environmental characteristics.

ESMAD, Porto Polytechnic Institute, Portugal

Is a composer with strong affinities with electroacoustic music and new technologies. In 2016, he earned his PhD in Digital Media at the Universidade of Porto. He has developed work in electroacoustic music composition and multimedia installation, as well as in cinema and theater. In 2006 he won the Best Experimental Audio Award at the Black & White Festival, hosted by Universidade Catol!ica of Porto and in 2012 he was one of the winners of the Cri.D.A. competition organized by Guimara”es-European Capital of Culture. In 2013 he won the European Prize ECPNM for works of electronic music performed in real time. Between September 2010 and August 2012 he led the project Digito!pia at Casa da Mu!sica. Currently he is Adjunct Professor at the Escola Superior de Media Artes and Design, a researcher at CIPEM / INET-Md and uniMAD.

INET-md, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Is a lecturer at Aveiro University, Portugal, and a fellow researcher of INETMD. She is a composer interested in the interaction of different performing arts as an extension and transformation of musical thinking, and also gesture, musical narrative and performer-composer collaboration. Her folio has over 50. Several of her pieces are available on CD, and in 2012 Numérica edited her first monographic CD “7 pomegranate seeds”. Several scores are published by the Portuguese Music Information & Investigation Centre (MIC.PT). Her research work is presented at national and international conferences, and is published in different journals and book chapters, such as ASHGATE/SEMPRE Studies in The Psychology of Music Series and London: Imperial College Press. Since 2005 she is an Independent Expert for the “Culture” and “Creative” Programmes (EU).