« In February 2020, I had the honour to lecture within the program of the official collateral events of Sanremo Italian Song Festival invited by Dr. Margherita Beruto, former Director of the Regional Institute for Floriculture (IRF) and Chair of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) Division Ornamental Plants. Through a multimedia presentation, I would like to debate about the role of music in influencing environmentally friendly behaviours inspired by a key message: sounds as well as language, visuals and any other tool able to interact with others can influence our perception of the environment. Consequently, I conceived a specific section of the manual grounded on the role of Music in boosting the value of Nature », pointed out Maurizio Abbati, author of "Communicating the Environment to Save the Planet. A Journey into Eco-Communication", innovative manual that offers relevant feedbacks from professionals and a wide range of case studies about all possible ways to foster eco-responsibility both at professional and social level. The event, held on the 7th February 2020 at Floriseum Museum in Sanremo, iconic floriculture heritage centre, represented a unique moment of exchange with the large audience combining communication with music and scientific innovation addressed to create new hybrids of flowers and plants to boost the Italian Riviera economy, traditionally linked to the flower growing.
The masterclass plunged in the exotic gardens of the historical Villa Ormond, late-nineteenth century neoclassical villa built by the will of Michel Louis Ormond, wealthy Swiss entrepreneur and art lover. The perfect setting where to benefit from the sounds of nature which inspired the greatest composers of classical music. Notably, Beethoven, Čajkovskij, Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Smetana, Vivaldi. Up to more recent composers, like Arvo Pärt, and some modern or contemporary pop music productions performed by most popular Italian singers, as Elisa, Giorgia, Laura Pausini, Lucio Battisti. Furthermore, singers are increasingly sensitive to ecology converting themselves in "sustainable icons".
The Italian singer, Marco Mengoni, performing "Due Vite" (Two Lives) at 2023 Sanremo Song Festival, who just won the 2023 edition of the Festival, has repeatedly sent his fans sustainability messages through his albums and concerts, as integral part of his family heritage. The 2022 Materia (Terra) [Matter (Earth)] one of the latest albums of Mengoni by Epic Records Italy/Sony Music Italia, reaffirms the idea of not attacking Planet Earth, but to respect it, giving it the right time to regenerate. All that inviting the listeners to follow a multi-genre journey among R&B, gospel, funk and pop. A comprehensive engagement confirmed by his appointment as Italian ambassador of the National Geographic international campaign "Planet or Plastic?" focused on preventing marine litter.
But the sensitivity of the recording world to the environmental cause is also perceived by managing music concerts certified as "zero emission" or "plastic free" event, besides conveying tailor-made messages to raise awareness and suggest best practices to act more sustainably. The same packaging of CD's or other gadgets are often made with biodegradable eco-design without the use of plastic as done for the above mentioned album by Mengoni.
Can music be an effective tool for communicating the environment? The asnwer can definitely be "Yes, it can". Not by chance, Eco-Musicology is an academic discipline that studies the relationship among music, culture and nature, taking into consideration common elements related to the Natural Environment and Ecology. A set of eco-criticism and musicology, this is the holistic definition that describes the essence of musicology as formulated by Charles Seeger, American musicologist and composer. As a matter of fact, music has a large-scale diffusion, increasingly globalised thanks to social media and new emerging media (e.g.: Metaverse and Web 3.0). Thus, music can really shape the cultural and social environments where it is spread. Furthermore, recent studies have shown how plants and flowers can communicate with each other through electromagnetic vibrations able to be transformed into musical outputs. Thanks to the evolution of technology, then, flora's sounds can be converted into specific algorithms directly derived from vegetable impulses becoming music. A mechanism that can be compared to the process used to generate a harmonic sound while playing a violin. The Music of Plants is spreading globally (Europe, Asia, America and Australia) and an increased number of flora concerts were born.
So, does music act as an eco-communication driver? Maestro Niccolò Ronchi, skilled pianist, composer and music teacher performing worldwide, pointed out within the editorial project by Maurizio Abbati: « The great environmental issues such as the protection of biodiversity, the fight against climate change and the proper management of vital resources such as water are extremely important issues that have their roots in the macro-concept of "Respect". Respect for the other, respect for the different, respect for what surrounds us and finally towards ourselves » (To read the full interview click here: ComEnv2SavePlanet). ***
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By Maurice Abbati
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