Scottish Ensemble x Pauline Oliveros


We invite you to join us
in a state of Deep Listening

To listen in a new way

To contribute your own sound

To feel united in a musical exploration

Pauline Oliveros

Pauline Oliveros (1932 – 2016) was an American composer, performer and humanitarian. She influenced American music profoundly through her work with improvisation, meditation, electronic music, myth and ritual, and leaves behind a legacy of boundary dissolving music making.

Oliveros defined the idea of ‘Deep Listening’ as a conscious act involving selective inclusion and exclusion of sounds from the auditory experience. That is to say, a truly Deep Listening that allows all sounds we hear around us to have a value, to be worth engaging with and inhabiting.


Oliveros wrote her 25 Sonic Meditations between March and November 1971. They are instructions that anyone can follow, without any need for a knowledge of musical theory or technical skill.

The idea is to find this heightened state of Deep Listening by paying close attention to your breathing, your body, the sounds around you; and to find new sounds of your own.

Tumbling Song is the 14th meditation
and her instructions are as follows:

Make any vocal sound, but always go downward in pitch from the initial attack. The initial attack may begin at any pitch level. Go downward in a glissando or in discrete steps continuously. Go any distance in range, at any speed, dynamic or quality, but the breath determines the maximum time length of any downward gesture.


Find a place you are comfortable.

With headphones on, simply listen.

Use the fader to mix the world of strings with that of voices.

Explore these sound worlds, the different balances, the thickness and thinness, the highness and the lowness, the light and the dark, and find one that inspires you the most.

Find a sound world that provokes feelings and ideas that you want to inhabit and be part of.

Now that you’ve found your own perfect mix, listen to the 3 minute extract again. This is what you’ll be adding your contribution to!




So far you have heard members of Scottish Ensemble, our instruments and our voices.

But we don’t want to be alone.

We would like you to join us in making this Sonic Meditation a true celebration of listening and togetherness.

You can participate using your voice, or any pitched instrument.

In this Deep Listening state there is no sound that is wrong.

The way you listen and the way you respond is unique to you, and we cannot wait to have your sound joined with ours.



You will need to be able to listen through headphones and record simultaneously. For example, you could listen on your computer through headphones and record on your phone. Feel free to use any microphone or app/program to record.

Step One
Please choose whether you want to contribute the sound of your voice, or of a musical instrument.

Step Two
Find a space that you feel comfortable in, unbothered by external noise that has no part in your Sonic Meditation.

Step Three
Place the device you use to record at about arm’s-length from your instrument (or mouth for singers) with the microphone facing you.

Step Four
When you’re ready to record your contribution, please press record (on the device you’re recording to), and then press play above (on the device you’re listening to) and begin recording your three minute response.

Step Five
Use the form below to upload your file to us by Wednesday 19 August. We’ll email you when the final piece is completed.

Although we are asking for a three minute musical response from you, silence and listening are just as important a contribution. If you wish to contribute just a single “tumble” please do so. It is entirely your world to inhabit.

And that’s it! We feel closer to you already.

By pressing submit you authorise Scottish Ensemble to incorporate your audio track into a final digital audio file that will be released to the public at the end of this project. You also authorise us to store the details you have shared with us until the completion of the project (so we can send you a link to the final audio file).