The Role of Improvisation in Auraldiverse Soundwalking

Drever, John L.. 2018. 'The Role of Improvisation in Auraldiverse Soundwalking'. In: Space, Sound and the Improvisatory: Methods, Technologies and Theories for Improvising with Natural and Built Environments. Onassis Stegi, Athens, Greece. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Surely Heraclitus was referring to the everyday soundscape when he pronounced: “You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.” The everyday urban soundscape is a work in continual progress, encountered in the spatio-temporal present; it is not fixed and closed, but generative, open to infinite micro-variation and the unforeseen, yet every aspect of the soundscape is contextually contingent. Intrinsically bound to the soundscape is our hearing, yet our hearing is not a given, idealised set of defined auditory parameters, it is unreliable and individual, our hearing shifts on the spectrum of “auraldiversity” (Drever, 2017). Antonyms of “improvisatory” include: premediated, deliberate, planned, prepared, rehearsed; an assemblage of behaviours that do not necessarily equip thelistener/hearer with the prerequisite deftness for walking the everyday urban, pedestrian soundscape. In soundwalking practice, we learn to practise, discover and manage the fluctuating soundscape in a heuristic fashion, where the instantaneous, provisional and make-shift are fostered, reflected on and cherished, and empathy for the other’s hearing and auditory needs is nurtured. This presentation will discuss the crucial place for improvisatory methods in soundwalking as we begin to encompass the concept of auraltypical and auraldiverse hearing (Drever, 2017), and the role it plays in the more general discourse on walkability.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)


Soundwalking, Improvisation, Auraldiverse, Aural Diversity, Auraltypical

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Unit for Sound Practice Research


21 October 2018Accepted
21 October 2018Published

Event Location:

Onassis Stegi, Athens, Greece

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2018 15:43

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2020 09:56


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