Photo by Amit Jagnade on Unsplash

The place that we call home, the places we work in, the environments that we spend our time in… all have a soundtrack that contributes to our identity as people.

One of the more obvious influences on any piece of music is where it originates from, both geographically and culturally. Music is undoubtedly rooted in the place that it comes from, via the people who create and write it. Music can be inherited or passed down, learned through the ages with each passing generation, or can be freshly composed, with influences that include where the composer comes from or what they have been inspired by culturally or a combination of the two.

When we work with young people on music making projects here at Yorkshire Youth and Music, our work is musically rooted to ‘place’ in two ways. Firstly, we are led by the musical roots (and tastes) of the young people themselves (which are often clearly influenced by where they come from), and we support young people’s self-expression by encouraging them to write lyrics and music based on their own experiences (also often rooted to the place in which they live and spend their time). By exploring their experiences, the children we work with can foster more positive connections to the place that they live, in order to unlock a better life for themselves in the future.

This is very neatly demonstrated via the tracks written by the young people in our current Music with Young People in Youth Justice Settings project cohort. Listening to the track, ‘Hudds State of Mind‘, it is obvious that place (the place that Yorkshire Youth and Music is now based!) plays a huge role in this young person’s life.

Looking to the future and the possibilities of ‘place-based’ music, another way we can now capture and even create the ‘soundtrack’ of a location is through modern technology. With a brilliant new (and free) platform called it is possible to experience a soundtrack or a musical composition that is triggered by a specific location, and is experienced by an audience (who are physically in that location) via an app accessed through a GPS enabled device, such as a mobile phone. Put simply, Echoes will play pieces of music or a soundscape that is triggered to play for an audience visiting a specific location (through their app). Technology is allowing these pieces to be listened to in – and triggered by – the environments that they were created for. As people visit a particular location, the technology plays a specific soundtrack. This adds another layer of dimension to the idea that music can and is rooted to a specific place.

As we enter a new chapter here at YY&M, we’re very excited to explore the heritage of Huddersfield music, the connections our young people have to Yorkshire – the place that they live in – and the possibilities of place and music in the future.