Brenda  Brown

jardins de metis, redcd 2.jpg
Although sound and landscapes are variously connected, connections between music and gardens are of particular interest for landscape architecture.  On the one hand, many musical compositions evoke or otherwise refer to gardens; on the other hand, gardens variously incorporate or respond to music. Gardens and music have also served as analogues and metaphors for one another.

So as to better comprehend the range, historical continuities and future possibilities of these connections, this paper surveys and categorizes some of the many examples of connected music and gardens.  Music in gardens, gardens that have been shaped by music, gardens conceived as musical instruments and music inspired by and evoking gardens are considered.   More conceptual connections and a few examples of their contemporary expressions are also discussed.
Gothein, 1928, ed, assurnanipal&queen in grdn, Assyrian, 7th ce
Although visual understandings of landscapes continue to dominate the landscape architecture profession and its representations, a multisensorial perspective potentially enriches the landscape designer's work even as it complicates it.  If landscape experience is understood as multisensorial, then sounds are certainly part of that experience.  Sound can factor into design as an existing condition, a conscious introduction, or an unexpected by-product; the designer may seek to accommodate, mitigate, create, enhance or manipulate sound.

While the relationship of music to sound and gardens to landscapes are not parallel, we can say provisionally that music derives from sound as gardens derive from landscapes.  Both gardens and music are consciously composed and constructed.  Music is considered an art form, and it is as gardens that landscape architecture most often has been called art.   More to the point, there have long been and continue to be situations in which music and gardens are conjoined -- composed, refined, manipulated, cultured and abstracted -- nature and sound married.

Descriptions, depictions and testaments of these marriages can be found in the literature of music, acoustic ecology, and art, as well as landscape architecture. Although usually embedded in more general discussions, they can be found in scholarly and first-hand accounts of specific gardens of particular times and places (Gothein, 1928; Sitwell, 1909; Cohen, 2000; Strong, 1983; Hunt, 1986; Lazzaro, 1990; Stoksstad and Stannard 1983; Carpeggiani, 1991, Zangheri, 1991).  More in depth studies such as Yu Zhang's account of music's evolution in the garden of Beijing's Yun qin zhai (Zither Rhythm Studio) (2014), are much rarer.  For this paper music literature concerned with specific musical compositions are of greatest interest, and pertinent music has been sought out and heard, indeed when this paper was presented it incorporated sound clips.  Similar direct experience informs much of this discussion of gardens.
Scholarly and artistic investigations on sound, design, landscapes, music and nature in recent years have included conferences, symposia, exhibitions, installations, performances and books in the design and art communities (Ruggles,,in press; Benedict, 2014; Brown, 2015, 2014, 2008; Monk, 1992).  Discussions in Acoustic Ecology and Geography may have very interesting implications for the subject here, although they usually concern relatively large landscapes (Krause, 2012; Blesser and Salter, 2007; Corbin, 1998).  This survey paper focuses relatively narrowly on gardens and music.   Its intention is to draw attention to the subject, and, through examples, provide some working categories and historical perspective to inform and stimulate further design and thought.  
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* Excerpt of artitcle by Brenda J. Brown.  In Landscape Research Review, 3.  2016.  Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture.  Top image: soundfield by Douglas Moffat and Steve Bates.  Eighth International Garden Festival, Jardins de Métis, 2007.  Photograph : Brenda Brown, 2007; bottom image: .  Assurbanipal and his queen in a garden being serenaded by musicians.  Drawing based on Assyrian carved relief, 7th century, BCE.  Gothein (1928).