Music and Ecology Student Projects

Apr 29th, 2022

This past term, students of the brand-new course MUS 4005/6905 Music and Ecology explored the complex relationships between sound, music, humans/nonhumans, and the environment. Taught by Dr. Meghan Forsyth, students examined how humans create, express, and sustain their relationships their surrounding environments through music through a series of global case studies and creative projects. Throughout the course, St. John’s-based composer and sound artist Benton Roark provided additional feedback on student projects.

The creative projects that culminated from this course combined ideas about music, ecology, and place to produce new works, including some mixed media works, recordings, podcasts, sound maps, sound walks, and creative writing.

Here are some examples of the Winter 2022 Music and Ecology student projects!


With Love and Malice: A Collection of Songs about Envionmental Awareness

Sarah Knight & Arlene Johnson (BMus) created beautifully illustrated graphic scores and recorded original compositions that incorporates performance (singing, spoken word, instruments) and other “found sounds.” Their goal was to create music that challenges the audience to listen intuitively with their sonic environment.

Listen to the first movement,“Water”, of their four movement piece entitled With Love and Malice, below. 









Island Waters: A Song Cycle for Piano, Voice, and Electronics

Abi Schwartz and Grace Nolan composed Island Waters, an ecological song cycle in 3 movements (Snow, Fog, and Rain) for voice, piano, and electronics for young musicians featuring natural sounds they recorded.

Listen to the third movement, “Rain”, below.   









Sail Away to the Sea: A Signal Hill Soundwalk

Cameron Bennett’s project for Music and Ecology is "Sail Away to the Sea": A Signal Hill Soundwalk. On this hour-long soundwalk, listeners are able to listen to a diverse list of music selections each relating to the ocean, and the relationship that Newfoundlanders have with it.

Explore Cameron’s Soundwalk here.

Sail Away to the Sea - A Signal Hill Soundwalk



Music and Place: A podcast interview with Deantha Edmunds

Leah Peddle and Anna Mercer’s creative project involved creating a new podcast series entitled Music and Place which will explore music’s connection to nature and ecology. For their first episode, they interviewed Inuk singer Deantha Edmunds about her connection to music and place.

Listen to the podcast below: 









That Song, That Place: A Collaborative Sound Map

Pam Brown created “That Song, That Place: A Collaborative Sound Map”, an interactive Google map that features submissions of place-based musical memories from 41 research participants.

That Song, That Place: A Collaborative Sound Map 


“Tundra” by Cait Nishimura - Performed by Hannah Sparkes

Hannah Sparkes’ project involved recording a piece for euphonium and piano called “Tundra” by Cait Nishimura, and layering it with archival recordings of tundra soundscapes. 

Check it out below:









Thanks to all the students for all their work in this course this semester!