The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places

The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places

Bernie Krause

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 031608686X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Musician and naturalist Bernie Krause is one of the world's leading experts in natural sound, and he's spent his life discovering and recording nature's rich chorus. Searching far beyond our modern world's honking horns and buzzing machinery, he has sought out the truly wild places that remain, where natural soundscapes exist virtually unchanged from when the earliest humans first inhabited the earth.

Krause shares fascinating insight into how deeply animals rely on their aural habitat to survive and the damaging effects of extraneous noise on the delicate balance between predator and prey. But natural soundscapes aren't vital only to the animal kingdom; Krause explores how the myriad voices and rhythms of the natural world formed a basis from which our own musical expression emerged.

From snapping shrimp, popping viruses, and the songs of humpback whales-whose voices, if unimpeded, could circle the earth in hours-to cracking glaciers, bubbling streams, and the roar of intense storms; from melody-singing birds to the organlike drone of wind blowing over reeds, the sounds Krause has experienced and describes are like no others. And from recording jaguars at night in the Amazon rain forest to encountering mountain gorillas in Africa's Virunga Mountains, Krause offers an intense and intensely personal narrative of the planet's deep and connected natural sounds and rhythm.

The Great Animal Orchestra is the story of one man's pursuit of natural music in its purest form, and an impassioned case for the conservation of one of our most overlooked natural resources-the music of the wild.

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staggered by how forceful the raw material was, just hearing it on its own. We often found ourselves in the studio, listening to the soundscapes not so much for inspiration or as a respite from our labors but for the experience of being mesmerized for long periods absorbing the ambient material, playing it over and over, conjuring images of what the sounds might visually represent. Even Paul, who had little affinity to the natural world, would sit alone in the studio quietly assimilating the

a few seconds, the results will amaze you. Sound in our human world is broken down into two general types: desirable and undesirable, or, in the field of bioacoustics, information versus uncorrelated acoustic debris. Although in the process of listening we often don’t recognize noise—what the author Joachim-Ernst Berendt refers to in his book The Third Ear as “acoustic garbage”—it has detrimental effects on us. Unconsciously, our brains are hard at work filtering out undesirable sounds so that

their own. Where there is wildlife, there are usually streams or wind, both of which produce interfering noise. Where there are roads, there’s usually a considerable amount of deforestation, which means fewer creatures. If those hurdles can be avoided, dirt bikers, distant chain saws, faraway domestic animals, and snowmobilers will nevertheless threaten the pristine silence. Even still. I love the mountains, and I just won’t give up the chance of discovering great places to listen. The Nature

habitat partitioned so that each voice stays out of another’s frequency or time niche, how might this separation inspire the creation of a musical ensemble? 5. What animals, or group of animals, would be the best music teachers? Why? 6. What is the value of technology in shaping modern environmental philosophy? How does it enable new bonds—or further detach us from the natural world? 7. How is a “connection to wildness” essential to our humanity? How is this expressed in the modern age or

of them began to build a boat. They had nothing to build the boat with; so they decided to cover the boat with grass, and they remained there till morning came, this is what the story tells. When the cold came, the young man had a vision: he dreamed of a coipo [another Chilean term for nutria], he said he saw the rodent in his dream. He also said he dreamed of food, and that he ate in his dream, it was a kind of vision of the future. And while he was eating in his sleep, he woke up, and said

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