Group creates music based on natural sounds in Alaska

June 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, June 30 (UPI) -- A group of avant-garde musicians performed songs created from sounds found in the Alaskan wilderness Sunday at Alaska Pacific University.

Matthew Burtner, a native Alaskan who is a music professor at the University of Virginia, started the EcoSono project four years ago, in which students gather in his native land to record natural sounds, the Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.

The group records the sounds of glaciers moving, the sounds of feeding humpback whales and the rush of surging waters.

"Some people have very specific ideas about the way music should be and it doesn't always include ravens and water and ice sounds," Burtner said.

One student, Aaron Minnick, 26, of Missoula, Mont., created a 12-minute-long piece that represented the melt of Exit Glacier over the course of 200 years.

"Depending on the rate of decay, the music will be more or less intense," he said. "The times when it was melting very fast the piece will be more intense and involve more water sounds, calving, things that suggest the loss of the glacier. During more stable times, it will be more peaceful or crystalline, kind of like the state of the ice."

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