by Fernando Corbal
(From Brasilia Soundscape Compositions)
This composition was created in a workshop in Brasilia led by the sound artist and acoustic ecologist Hildegard Westerkamp. The local participants who created the soundscapes ran the gamut from those with musical, recording and composition experience, to those who had very little or no experience at all working with sound.
Fernando was a musician and performer. He composed this piece with the explicit purpose to preserve the realism of the soundscape. It is a short and effective journey through the day of a middle class person in Brasilia. Leaving the quiet of the home, through the sound of a metal gate, entering the car, the work world with all its hectic, intense rhythms, finding recreation and stimulation later on the playground and in the gym with children, and finally ending up in the calming soundscape of a natural environment.
The idea of transferring the country’s capital away from the coast has existed since the second half of the eighteenth century, as a way to populate, develop and secure Brazil’s vast interior (James Holston, p. 17). In the mid-fifties during the presidential campaign of Juscelino Kubitschek it was finally proposed as a concrete project and was realized shortly after, in the 60s, Brasilia is a very young city.
This city has exactly what other, not so consciously designed cities have – a lot of traffic noise. Meanwhile at the nearby lake one can find serene silence. It is obvious by now that Brasilia is a place of sharply contrasting soundscapes: traffic noise and natural sounds. There is very little in between. Human social contexts, like cafes or restaurants, appear in small isolated clusters, dotted all over the city, connectable only by car. That which defines a community acoustically is mostly lacking: the regular street, the small alleys, little squares, shady old trees, market places, neighbourhood cafes, those hidden corners that develop over time as a city becomes older. It is in those more intimate places where community develops, where culture first occurs, where people in their social interaction are protected from the larger noise of a city and can create small islands of undisturbed communication, a type of inner voice or village voice of urban culture and social life.
- from the website of Hildegard Westerkamp