Climate change music employs changing environmental conditions as instruments and procedures for music composition and performance. Using a combination of musical analysis and field journals to reveal methods of active listening and composing with climate change, this article shows how music is well suited to depict the multiply directed nature of environmental change. Further, it describes how musical harmony and orchestration can address the interacting weather conditions that form climate. Syntax of Snow and Six Ecoacoustic Quintets No. 1: Water (Ice), original compositions by the author, are discussed as examples of climate change music. Through a philosophical framework of environmental aesthetics, as articulated by Emily Brady, the article describes the emergence of a new musical tonality based on specific ecoacoustic musical techniques. It argues that this tonality arises from widely shared experiences of natural systems, the global impact of climate change, and the acute emotional response people feel to the loss or change of ecosystems.
Skip Nav Destination
Matthew Burtner; Climate Change Music: From Environmental Aesthetics to Ecoacoustics. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2017; 116 (1): 145–161. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3749392
Download citation file: