Sound Heritage Sydney: Making Music in Historic Places

Sound Heritage Sydney: Making Music in Historic Places, Elizabeth Bay House, 7 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, NSW

A day of exploration of domestic musicking in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries:

'Have you ever wondered about how music was made in the Australian homes of the past? What music was popular, who played it and how was it played? Having pondered these questions for some time, Sydney Living Museums and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music have invited a range of experts from across Australia, the UK, and New Zealand to participate in a symposium at Elizabeth Bay House to explore the history of music making in the Australian home and its international contexts. Sound Heritage Sydney will bring together musicians, scholars and heritage practitioners to discuss what and how music was played in historic houses and at other historic sites. The forum is also interested in uncovering innovative ways music can be used to reveal new narratives in historic properties for contemporary visitors. Sydney Living Museums is the Australian partner of the British-based Sound Heritage network, co-founded by Professor Jeanice Brooks, University of Southampton, and Jonathan Wainwright, University of York, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). Launched in 2015, Sound Heritage is an international network that is seeking a richer understanding of how music functioned in the life of historic houses in the 18th and 19th centuries.  SLM is one of three international partners along with representatives from the US and Ireland who have participated with our British counterparts in a series of three study days in England. SLM was invited to join Sound Heritage in recognition of our contribution, led by the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, towards a better understanding of domestic music making in colonial NSW and further afield.'

  I'll be playing the Collard & Collard at Elizabeth Bay House in my karaoke work How many ships sail in the forest? Here's the programme note: For several decades the 1840s Broadwood at Lanyon Homestead had been going its own way: preparing a distinctive soundworld and nurturing a range of bell-like tones, creaks, rattles, and the kind of woody groan that puts you in mind of old sailing ships. Hence the title, lifted from a riddling English folk song.Before the piano was spruced up I recorded some of these sounds and improvised a few sonic gestures;  and in the first performances of this piece the rehabilitated piano had a chance to converse with its wayward former self.