SONIC MEDITATIONS by Pauline Oliveros
152 x 229mm, 36 pages, Black & white printing, Perfect bound, Softcover, 2022
First published in 1971.
One of the most seminal works in late 20th century avant-garde musical thought, Sonic Meditations not only departs from standard musical notation, but with the entire conception of where music grows from, and how it can be realized. Her focus lies on the cognition of sound – largely through the practice of meditation, and group participation. Oliveros highlights the virtues of meditation for making sounds, imagining sounds, listening to, and remembering sounds, and sets into action twelve text scores to help practitioners realize these new relationships. Sonic Meditations is as much a workshop for use, as it is a series of pieces. The short volume is particularly important because of its focus on community, the social power of sound, an extended recognition of its sources, and its deconstruction of hierarchy. Though undoubtedly a new way of composing, it also proposed a new way of existing in the world, and interacting with others.