Knowledge of the world passes through our bodies: sight has been able to develop very refined tools to store, manipulate and interpret the data that affect it, hearing is “in its infancy” and is still struggling with tools and methods to be verified (Barbanti, 2015; Bull, Back, 2003; Calanchi, 2015; Favaro, 2010). If we cannot avoid hearing (the auditory apparatus is constantly solicited even beyond our will), the action of listening – from the Latin Auscultare from Ausiula diminutive of Ausis (ear) and therefore placing the ear – requires a conscious and intentional act. Awareness and internationality allow the initiation of processes in which auditory perceptions are placed at the centre (Schäfer, 1992; Schäfer, 1985; Minidio, 2005).
Each sound, in fact, brings with it information about the space in which it takes shape, can tell us something about the place, its inhabitants, their activities (Pisano, 2017; Calanchi and Laquidara, 2017; Marchetta, 2010). Sound speaks to us, informs us, forces us, persuades us to think and feel (Erkizia, 2017; Morelli, 2010; Cox, 2014). It tells and sends us back in time, has an evocative charge (Minidio, 2005). The experience and memories of each individual are studded with sounds, present or past (Convery, Corsane, and Davis, 2012; Truax, 2008). Sound is in fact a chronotope, or rather a “territorial object” that “condenses a certain time and a certain place and crystallizes energy and information” (Rocca, 2016 p. 82). It is an expression of the material control that man has exercised over the territory over time, but also a reflection of the organization of a certain period. It gives an idea of the evolution of a territory. Sound is also pervasive and occupies every space, but, at the same time, it is ephemeral, fleeting. It is never the same, it does not remain fixed, it changes continuously; it varies according to the time and the place where it is heard (Erkizia, 2017). The sounds around us allow, in fact, to give shape to the space that surrounds us and are a fundamental component of our experience of life (Barra, Carlo, 2009, p. 32). Sound contributes to establishing an identity link with the place. It is part of our culture, so much so that it is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible heritage and an essential component of the landscape (UNESCO, 2003). The Careggi Landscape Declaration on Soundscape (2012), in fact, referring to the European Convention on Landscape, defines the Sound Landscape as: “the acoustic property of any landscape in relation to the specific perception of a species (…) is the result of physical (geophonic), biological (biophonic) and human (anthropophonic) manifestations and dynamics” (2012).
Many properties of the sound dimension are also at the centre of theatrical practices and experiences: from the knowledge through the body to the condensation of a space-time, from the fundamental interactions with the present time to the anthropological composition of identity bonds. The sound dimension of the theatrical experience has always been central in western theatre culture, very much linked to an important tradition of prose that has often defined its main developments, but has not been adequately taken into account with respect to its influences on creative and dramaturgical processes. Research into the space of sounds in theatre is still in its infancy, but is finding fertile ground in the activities of the Accademia Teatro Dimitri both in the reflections on the sound landscape of physical theatre (Quadri, 2017), and in projects in preparation such as the investigation of comedy, music and sound effects that musicologist Anna Stoll Knecht will launch in 2019 (“Music and Clowning in Europe, 20th-21st Centuries”).