The Australian Broadcasting Channels’ The Australian Music Map, is an interactive map which allows you to explore and listen to classical music written by Australian composers. The map includes music by composers who are strongly linked to a particluar location and music which has been composed especially for a specific Australian place.
If you select a marker on the Australian Music Map you can listen to the featured track directly from the map. An information window will also open featuring information on the selected composer, the classical music track and its connection with the mapped location.
The connection between sound and place in Australia is nothing new. In fact it dates back as far as the earliest arrival of homo sapiens. Long before maps and compasses were invented the indigenous people of Australia used songlines to navigate the country and find their way around.
Songlines, or dreaming tracks, are the creation myths of Indigenous Australians. They are the paths that the creator-beings took across the world while naming and creating the features of the land. These songlines crisscross Australia and, if you know the songline, you can follow the routes that the creator-beings took across the country.
By singing the songlines indigenous people can navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia’s interior. You can learn more about songlines from different parts of Australia with this story map from ABC. Singing the Country into Life explores the songlines of a number of indigenous groups across the whole country.
The ABC storymap helps explain the importance of songlines to aboriginal culture. They tell not only how the land was created but also provide a guide as to how you can navigate that land. Since the destruction of much of the original indigenous way of life they now also provide a valuable connection to threatened indigenous languages and culture.