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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The Kingdom of Rarities


















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project a shorter sound wave—and lower voices travel farther. What, then, might be the additional acoustic factors that would cause a creature to choose one location in which to live over another? While few studies have focused exclusively on the influence of sound on territory, it is now becoming apparent that every wild site I’ve recorded generates bioacoustic boundaries that define its territorial limits. So what exactly are the boundaries of these biophonies? From a set position, how far out

aural experience. For composers, that sound-mark is the font from which they draw the fragments that they plait into music. In the wild natural world, that mark can be very rich—it just takes time and a quiet frame of mind to unravel and understand. A week or ten days in the field is rarely enough. Animal activity isn’t framed by human time: mostly their hours to sleep, forage, and hunt differ widely. Instead, intervals are determined by the cycles of seasons, the amount of daylight or darkness,

and process sound and vocalize, many fish species have two organs that detect marine pressure waves, as mentioned earlier. One is the inner ear—they have no middle or outer ear—which can detect frequencies into the thousands of hertz. The other is the lateral line—a thin organ that runs in a straight, narrow line from the gill to the tail—which picks up low-frequency sound waves, usually those below 100 Hz. Noises with longer exposures potentially impact larger areas and numerous species.

Iraq Likely to Disappear Completely in Five Years Unless Urgent Action Taken,” March 22, 2003, Verzijden, Machteld N. et al. “Sounds of Male Lake Victoria Cichlids Vary Within and Between Species and Affect Female Mate Preferences.” Behavioral Ecology 21 (2010). White, Tim et al. “Macrovertebrate Paleontology and the Pliocene Habitat of Ardipithecus ramidus.” Science 326 (2009). Audio Beaver, Paul, and Bernie Krause. All

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