The music of silence

Rediscovering the dimension of creative listening in present-day society

    School sections
    • Upper secondary school
    Educational subjects
    • Instrumental practice
    • Aural skills (Ear training)
    • Composition
    • soundscapes
    • Music and technologies

The music of silence

The project proposed was an experience aimed at the re-listening of sounds in nature and at their creative reformulation. The path led students to realize that there is a so-called Music of Silence, that is a natural background music with which it is important to enter into contact because it is overcome and often not known by the youngsters - and not only -, immersed as they are in a sonorous environment that is too full due to the intrusiveness of the mass media, technology and noisy urban places.

To investigate the dimension of silence means to put listening in the center, which implies paying attention to and receiving within us what is around us, be it human beings and/or natural elements.

These were the objectives of the activities carried out by a group of students attending the Musical and Multimedia Laboratory Disaccordi of the art-oriented upper secondary school G.C.Argan of Rome among the Monti Sabini in the Municipality of Contigliano (RI) and in the Regional Park of Appia Antica of Rome. The aim was to re-discover sounds such as the rustling of leaves, wind, the singing of birds, the creaking of branches, the flowing of water, as well as our natural sounds, the heartbeat, footsteps, breathing.

After a day of silence and sonorous and visual recording (Phase 1 - Impression), we passed on to recording the creative moments (Phase 2 - Expression) obtained with musical instruments played by the students on the basis of the feelings experienced. Such moments were characterized even by videos, photographs and writings. All the materials collected were then digitalized and processed for the realization of a multimedia product (Phase 3 - Processing).

The educational activity entailed an in-depth study and the development of several competences: the ability to communicate through sounds and listening activities, owing to the understanding of external and internal messages; the observation, description and analysis of natural phenomena; digital competences through the use of IT means for the creation of a multimedia product.

Work tools

With regard to the three phases of the project, the relevant needs are as follows:

Phase 1 - Impression
Instruments: mp3 recorders, video/photo cameras, smartphones, tablets, note pads, pieces of paper.
Spaces: external, natural landscape
Activities: sonorous and video recording, photographs of places and environments;
writing and/or graphic representation of impressions, considerations, notes.

Phase 2 - Expression
Instruments: mp3 recorders, musical instruments, video/photo cameras, smartphones, tablets, note pads, pieces of paper
Spaces: external, natural landscape
Activities: sonorous and musical recordings, videos, photographs, writings/graphs with a creative production of the materials

Phase 3 - Processing
Instruments: programs for audio-video editing, Logic Audio, Final Cut ProX or other software, Apps such as
Clips, iMove, WMM or Power Point, Book Creator, iBooks Author.
Spaces: classroom, IT Laboratory
Activities: acquisition of the files and materials produced, audio-video editing, definition and editing of the final multimedia product.

Educational purposes

The skills, goals and training objectives selected by the teacher for this experience are shown below.

    • Interpretation
    • Comprehension
    • Execution
    • Composition
    Reading and Writing
    • Use of unconventional analogic music notation
Educational targets

In accordance with the general guidelines on educational objectives for the upper secondary school, and with the overall objectives of the project concerning the dimension of silence as a modality to foster creative listening, the students learned how to:

- understand and recognize sounds deriving from listening to the natural landscape;
- evaluate the qualitative and quantitative consistency of sonorous stimuli with a proper perception of distant/near, forte/piano, high-pitch/low-pitch, timbre;
- become aware of internal/external sounds and their perceptive dynamics
- identify the main portable instruments useful to record and memorize sounds, fixed images and those in movement;
- use properly instruments and applications fit for audiovisual recording, in particular smartphones, tablets, IT posts, mp3/video recorders, photo cameras;
- identify programs and/or apps for the processing of audiovisual data;
- define paths aimed at structuring a multimedia product;
- carry out audio-visual operations, within the limits and diversifications of personal aptitudes and specific interests;
- develop competences in a digital environment
- use messages and musical, sonorous and multimedia materials
- identify possibilities to represent sounds through notation/definition programs within midi/audio scopes of action;
- identify/manage software for the reading, analysis, processing and reproduction of sounds.


Commenti inseriti
Slide "The music of silence"
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Link utili
Antonio Buldini (FB) Click here
Primavera al Parco dell’Appia Antica Click here
DISACCORDI Lab (FB) Click here
Laboratorio Disaccordi Click here