Urban Soundscape: Music centre in Langa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This dissertation is borne out of an interest I have in music as an expression of culture and being, its influence on social spaces and its effectiveness as a tool that transcends across cultures. The dissertation explores the nexus of sound and space, body and space and their present experiential co-existence. It seeks to explore different possibilities that would bring about a sensory and cohesive spatial phenomenon that starts to cross genres of music and performance spaces, ultimately crossing and merging cultures. When one describes music, it is within broader cultural contexts. The project makes references to both music and culture, not as separate entities, but as a unified symbiotic relationship existing between the two together with their existence and interactivity with architecture. Music, being an art form whose medium is sound, and culture, being the totality of socially transmitted behaviour patterns, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Music has formed an important part of our cultures throughout history and is still to this day, part of the centre of our societies. Studying the concept of sound and space, one begins to deduct the notion that; sound and space mutually reinforce one another in our perception, in that the qualities of a space affect how we perceive a sound and those of a sound affect how we perceive space. Thus, one can safely imagine sound and space to be inextricably linked in our experience of what it is to exist in the world. The structured order of the built environment has imposed upon us ways of thinking and doing which reinforce existing patterns of our social and cultural lives. The project explores and unmasks layers that make-up these patterns by looking at music as another form of cultural expression, in a spatially conscious sphere. Essentially the paper takes on an explorative journey in unpacking relationships inherent in sound and body, body and space, space and form, form and material, and the functioning of the system as a whole.