Tucson :The Sonorous Desert City Project: Suite I​-​III

by glenn weyant

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Bonus material includes: still/moving images and the "soundwalk scores" used to create each suite.

      $3 USD  or more





Tucson is a sonically resonate city surrounded by the Sonoran Desert --- a sonorous desert ---- with a unique and often under-appreciated sound ecology.

Tucson’s overall tone or audible fingerprint is directly attributable to its unique blend of wildlife, architecture, culture, commerce and geographic location.

The Sonorous Desert City Project: Suite I-III seeks to reacquaint Tucson (and newly acquaint the rest of the world) with our shared aural landscape through a series of listening performances and a limited edition recording.

In this age of rapid information distribution, virtual everything and earbuds, The Sonorous Desert City Project will promote taking time to simply unplug and listen to the world around us, to reconnect and explore our roles in this radiant soundscape, hearing the sacred in the mundane and the profound in the prosaic, all of which is not only healthy for our minds and spirits but also fosters a sense of place and connection.

Tucson is going through a period of rapid change. With new buildings, demographics and modes of transportation come new sounds. What did Tucson sound like 50 years ago?

At this crossroads in our sonic history, The Sonorous Desert City Project will also serve as a historical “sound postcard” of Tucson during a six-month period in 2013.

Here is how The Sonorous Desert City Project timeline unfolded :

July 1 through December 31, 2013:

The Sonorous Desert City Project began with a series of “soundings” made over a six month period in three primary Tucson locations: Downtown Tucson, Reid Park and The University of Arizona campus.

These soundings or field recordings, were be mapped with location, date and other information. Some were straight recordings of sound which is audible without amplification and others were an exploration of the hidden sounds revealed by utilizing custom-made microphones and other equipment.

The map was updated on a regular basis with 2-3 minute sound samples from various locations as the project unfolded and can be found here: www.sonicanta.com/sonorous_map/

January through March 2014:

The full collected soundings served as “instrumental performances” and then were “composed” into a single audio-work, approximately one hour in length, which will organically bring the listener through the city via a three part suite sonic narrative.

Unlike works where found sounds are transposed into traditional musical notation, or adulterated with beats and manipulation, The Sonorous Desert City Project is a uniquely innovative and pioneering composition featuring Tucson as both the performer and the instrument.

The “score” for this work was organized as a chronological timeline allowing the listener to access information about what it is they are hearing and permitting recreation of the work --- as much as possible --- if they so choose via soundwalks.

April 2014:

The Sonorous Desert City Project recording, along with detailed liner notes about the process, the score, photos and a map was finalized and packaged as a limited edition cd.

May-June 2014:

Following the completion of the recording, three 45 minute soundwalks were held at different city locations recreating each part of the suite.

As envisioned for this project, a soundwalk is a predetermined guided route through sonically interesting locations where participants will “conduct” Tucson and determine their personal listening experience through such variables as location, position and awareness.

The events began with a discussion about The Sonorous Desert City Project sound and listening. All who participate in these free events received a cd and complimentary literature.

The Sonorous Desert City Project was a direct evolutionary link tying together many of sonicanta's previous ideas, projects, recordings and events into a singular whole.

It is important to remember, sound is a neuropsychological interpretation of vibration.

Because sound is vibration interpreted by the listener, cultural and personal biases often ghettoize the vast majority of sounds in our world as “noise” or “nonmusical.”

Also, music does not exist.

Rather there are fundamental building blocks such as loudness, pitch, etc. which when organized are considered to be “music” by the individual.

This is why one person’s “music” is another persons “noise” and vice-versa.

The Sonorous Desert City Project will explore the potential to hear beyond the boundaries of culture and training, challenging negative perceptions and fostering new understanding.

By housing Tucson’s soundscape within the parameters of a “soundwalk” rather than a musical performance, it is hoped participants will be open to investigating and appreciating the musical possibilities of what they might otherwise deem as noise or inconsequential.

Ideally they may also discover they are active participants in this “Tucson orchestra” as “musicians,” “composers,” and “conductors.”

A little more listening can never hurt, and perhaps when The Sonorous Desert City Project is completed people will find a bit more beauty in Tucson than they knew was there before and perhaps they will discover how important their part is in this orchestra of sound.

To learn more about this project, explore an interactive sound map of Tucson, or download the musical score, visit:


released April 1, 2014



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