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  • Writer's picturePeter Rogers

Evelyn Glennie

"Evelyn Glennie played the first percussion concerto in the history of The Proms at the Albert Hall in 1992, which paved the way for orchestras around the world to feature percussion concerti. She also played a leading role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Profoundly deaf since childhood, she set out to use her body as a resonating chamber, 'hearing' partly through her bare feet on the floor. As part of the Celtic Connections Festival she is playing a new piece marking the 70th anniversary of the partition of India alongside fellow percussionist Trilok Gurtu. The Rhythm in Me premieres at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall". 

Taken from BBC Radio 4 schedule this week, the remarkable way Evelyn Glennie uses her body to 'hear', highlights the issue that noise and sound affect all of us not only through our ears but through our other senses.  Soundscapes can affect our whole being and this evidence gives rise to questions surrounding urbanisation and the need for good acoustic design to produce positive soundscapes within our environment, whether we have good hearing or not.

When talking about 'noise' Evelyn suggests that when you open your body up as resonating chamber, you are much more accepting to 'sound' rather than a noise, especially when you "attach a noise to a musical sentence".  Evelyn feels that when she has less sound coming through her ears, she is able to concentrate more on what is coming through her body and thereby distribute the sound more evenly.  She likens this to 'digesting sound' - how much sound do we put through our system?  What frequencies?  To read more, you can download the full Broadcast from Libby Purvis' Midweek programme here.

During a presentation at the IoA in May 2015, Ben Fenech of Public Health England, recognised sound to be a nutrient which can be positive, and used evidence taken from Duffus and Worth, 1995 to support this.

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