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Icelandic Choral Music: Ecomusicology and Environmental Stewardship

Icelandic Choral Music: Ecomusicology and Environmental Stewardship.  This field study of Icelandic choral music involves a comprehensive exploration through interviews and expeditions of three branches: music, language, and landscape. 
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In a time of ever-increasing technological influence set against stark environmental shifts, this is a critical moment to pursue innovative approaches toward stewardship of the natural world.  Environmental education seeks to develop personal connections to nature that lead to positive action and change, fostered by a powerful sense of wonder for the earth.  Music carries a similar capacity for wonder and awe; songs that are rooted in landscape could be a powerful tool for encouraging environmental stewardship among music creators and listeners alike.

Iceland holds a unique position at this curious intersection of fields.  The country’s choral music is known for a characteristic Icelandic sound, attributed in large part to the culture’s deep ties to its distinctive and dominating landscape.  Glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, and seas, combined with long winter nights and summer days, inform a local musical voice.  It is also a practice steeped in tradition and honor of old sagas.  These songs provide an excellent framework for exploring the progressive potential for music making in environmental education.

This rich trove of music is however largely unknown outside Iceland.  I am exploring in-depth both the musical and environmental qualities of Icelandic choral music, and then hope to share it with singing and outdoor communities in North America and beyond. 

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