web site hit counter The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

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 huma 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.


Compare

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 huma 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    There are some fantastic ideas in this that I hadn’t really thought about. One is considering the health of an ecosystem by measuring sound of its biophony (the intricate niches and layers of sound/song emitted by life in an ecosystem) at different intervals before and after a disruption. Another was considering how life forms shape the sounds they make to fit niches within the whole of the biophony, and how the niches and sounds evolve when a system is disrupted. As someone who has been obsessi There are some fantastic ideas in this that I hadn’t really thought about. One is considering the health of an ecosystem by measuring sound of its biophony (the intricate niches and layers of sound/song emitted by life in an ecosystem) at different intervals before and after a disruption. Another was considering how life forms shape the sounds they make to fit niches within the whole of the biophony, and how the niches and sounds evolve when a system is disrupted. As someone who has been obsessively recording the biophony of places around the world for decades, the author has been uniquely situated to show the effects of ecological disruption by comparing current tapes with those in his archives. There are charts included that map the range of an ecosystem’s sounds, before and after, that make for startling visual comparisons. There are sections on how human music has been inspired by the natural world and also how it has often been created to fit in certain sound niches based on the ecosystem around us. He also bemoans the rise of noise pollution, urges people to consider the health of the man-made “anthrophony” we have developed, and argues that music of the last few hundred years or so has suffered by mostly cutting itself off from interaction with the natural world and becoming almost wholly self-referential. I’m not sure I agree with that last part, but it’s interesting to consider. The book could benefit from going more in depth on some of these topics, and at times it can seem kind of slight (I mostly read it in an afternoon, in a fit mostly motivated by having to return it to the library that day). But overall, it was an engaging and thought-provoking read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    jeremy

    bernie krause's the great animal orchestra offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of bioacoustics, soundscapes, and the evolution of music. krause, a naturalist and recording artist (he was formerly a member of the weavers and is noted for his pioneering and influential work with synthesizers and in film), developed his niche hypothesis to describe the unique "sound signatures" made up of varying non-human animal voices that define a particular time and place (which may shift in response to bernie krause's the great animal orchestra offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of bioacoustics, soundscapes, and the evolution of music. krause, a naturalist and recording artist (he was formerly a member of the weavers and is noted for his pioneering and influential work with synthesizers and in film), developed his niche hypothesis to describe the unique "sound signatures" made up of varying non-human animal voices that define a particular time and place (which may shift in response to other environmental factors, including man-made noise). this "biophony," as he termed it, can reflect the staggering diversity and density of biological sounds found within wild habitats and stands in contrast to both geophony ("nonbiological natural sounds"- wind, water, etc.) and anthrophony ("human-generated sound"- e.g., jet engines, automobiles, sonar, and that most abhorrent of human inventions, the leaf blower). much of the great animal orchestra contains autobiographical elements that recall krause's trajectory from musician to soundscape field recorder. krause provides a history of the specialized subject, as well as some requisite background into the elements and composition of sound. having recorded in a variety of remote regions throughout the world, he recounts a number of formative experiences that helped shape his interest in and knowledge of his chosen pursuit. in his explorations, krause has immersed himself within multiple indigenous cultures, in part, to glean some of the collected wisdom and attitudes that inform these cultures' relationships to sound and the natural world. as the human species was a relatively late development, evolutionarily speaking, they arrived in a world already rich in biological soundscapes. krause postulates that the human inclination towards music may well have derived from observing, listening, and mimicking the abundant biophonic and geophonic sound sources that made up their habitats. as with any recent book relating to the earthly sciences, krause spends a fair amount of time considering the often ill effects modern humanity has wrought upon its non-human neighbors. upon revisiting particular settings and locales where he had previously recorded, he finds, time and again, a marked decrease in the both the diversity and density of his acoustic subjects. in two chapters, krause considers the deleterious effects noise has had on myriad species (our own included), such as the much-publicized cases involving sonar and whales. he decries our "adversarial relationship with the natural world" and advocates for reassessing our disassociation with the planet's wild elements. the great animal orchestra is an intriguing book likely to appeal to most anyone with an interest in the sciences, nature studies, and biomusicology (specifically evolutionary musicology). while krause's book may, at times, be a bit heavy on the autobiography and somewhat light on the science, it is, nonetheless, an easily accessible and readable addition to the sparsely-populated literature on the subject. the great animal orchestra ought to, at the least, encourage its readers to rethink the role sound and soundscapes have played, and continue to play, as part of our everyday lives- surrounded as we are by a veritable wealth of aural treasures the likes of which often go entirely unheard.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paula Koneazny

    Quite interesting, although a bit repetitious, when discussing soundscapes (geophony, biophony, anthrophony) & the bioacoustic recordings & logs that the author has made over the past 40 years. This is Krause's area of expertise & he elucidates it well. The book is less compelling when the author extrapolates from his experience & data to make assessments and broad judgements about wildness & nature in relation to homo sapiens. For example, he talks about a wild pre-modern Amazon rainforest with Quite interesting, although a bit repetitious, when discussing soundscapes (geophony, biophony, anthrophony) & the bioacoustic recordings & logs that the author has made over the past 40 years. This is Krause's area of expertise & he elucidates it well. The book is less compelling when the author extrapolates from his experience & data to make assessments and broad judgements about wildness & nature in relation to homo sapiens. For example, he talks about a wild pre-modern Amazon rainforest without acknowledging recent scholarship regarding the probable human role in creating & nurturing those forests' unparallelled abundance & diversity. Throughout, he vacillates between placing humans in opposition to and including them within Nature. He doesn't make enough of a distinction between the anthrophony produced by the human voice & other physiological interactions with the environment & that produced by human-made machinery, electronics, etc. Again, we are part of & other than at the same time. He also doesn't mention global overpopulation as a contributing factor in the disproportionate impact of human activity on other species. Instead he focuses solely on the activities themselves. It is at least possible that, even if every existing human being were to return to a more "natural" way of living in harmony with his or her surroundings, human beings' sheer force of numbers would still adversely affect other species.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David R.

    This one started with an intriguing premise, but goes downhill pretty quickly. There are a disturbing number of unsupported claims, and what documentation that exists is suspect to say the least. I'd skip pass this one by.

  5. 5 out of 5

    T.

    Bernie Krause, Ph.D. (bioacoustics), is arguably the preeminent recordist and archivist of habitat sounds in nature (he estimates 4,000 hours from 1,500 locales worldwide documenting 15,000 species) and this book, with accompanying free audio, is another of his persuasive testimonies to the vitality of aural communications among all living beings. This book is much more than its title suggests. It is about the relatively unsung importance of the intricate web of pan-biological communication. It i Bernie Krause, Ph.D. (bioacoustics), is arguably the preeminent recordist and archivist of habitat sounds in nature (he estimates 4,000 hours from 1,500 locales worldwide documenting 15,000 species) and this book, with accompanying free audio, is another of his persuasive testimonies to the vitality of aural communications among all living beings. This book is much more than its title suggests. It is about the relatively unsung importance of the intricate web of pan-biological communication. It is also about how human activities—much of it the effects of political and economic "progress" (particularly since the autumn of the 20th century)—have intruded on, overshadowed, distressed and in too many cases progressively eliminated soundscapes of our shared natural environments—and why soundscapes are absolutely essential indicators of the health of all beings on the planet. While that may seem to the uninitiated as overblown on the surface, I find what Bernie Krause endeavors to explain here and throughout the arc of all his works is not only our musical origins in the vibrant ecological soundscape (biophanies) of the natural world. More critically, he examines and demonstrates to us the wondrous acoustic communication mechanisms throughout the natural world and their practical, very real impact on a functional planet. What has already been lost? What we are still in danger of losing? Why does it matter to the future of the planet? I am reminded in “The Great Animal Orchestra” that the loss of habitat is not only evident and defined by loss of wildlife populations, reduction of public green spaces, parklands or wilderness, or in less tangible quality-of-life concerns that are reflected in urban encroachment but also by the intrusive sounds that our contemporary standards of living have imposed on all other living creatures to our mutual detriment. In this book we see the fundamental costs of endangered and lost natural habitats from the perspective of understanding how the incessant production of man-made noises interfere with animal and environmental sound as an essential tool of communication among and within those habitats. Krause tells us that such interference comes at the cost of nature’s creatures not only losing their ability to function communally as individual species but also to avoid the over-predation of species. Soundscape recordings caught my interest in the early '80s; then I discovered (Paul) Beaver & Krause's 1970 hybrid musical-environmental explorations "In a Wild Sanctuary” (via “Walking Green Algae Blues”), and went on to hear Krause’s own soundscape recordings and to read one of his other texts, Into a Wild Sanctuary: A Life in Music and Natural Sound. His dedication to the power of sound and contributions to its deeper biospheric impact constitute important documents in this realm. Reading this reminded me of “The World Without Us” and I also see it as a likely companion to E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”. Listen to “The Great Animal Orchestra”’s companion series of soundscape samples -- earth, air, fire, water-- on your mobile device, available at Amazon.* If you have never heard a musician wren before (as I had not) I believe that you will be more than warmly surprised and enchanted; you will find reason enough to contemplate the loss of any animal species due to human interference as a sacrilege. *Amazon has free content available even if you don't own a Kindle.* • Download the free Kindle app for your mobile device at http://amzn.to/vphdCi; • "Order" the audio with an Amazon account;  • When you receive email confirmation, click on the order number, which takes you to the Amazon site;  • Look for the box "Manage Your Digital Items" and click on "Kindle";  • The next page will be "Your Kindle Library" where you can select the "Action" for "Deliver to my..." and then select "Kindle Cloud Reader".  • The next time to open the app on your device the audio will download for you to read the book supplement and listen to the audio. LINKS: Studio 360 featured interviews Going Wild with Bernie Krause (emusician) 


  6. 5 out of 5

    amy

    Neat idea. The main idea is that animals in any given given ecosystem have evolved to speak at different frequencies: "All god's creatures got a place in the choir... Some sing low, some sing higher..." The author gives evidence that sonograms can/should be used to monitor habitats that have been logged. The "soundscape" shows differences that won't otherwise be seen. Habitats that have been disturbed show more chaotic vocalizations -- with more frequency overlap for the critters. Presumably this Neat idea. The main idea is that animals in any given given ecosystem have evolved to speak at different frequencies: "All god's creatures got a place in the choir... Some sing low, some sing higher..." The author gives evidence that sonograms can/should be used to monitor habitats that have been logged. The "soundscape" shows differences that won't otherwise be seen. Habitats that have been disturbed show more chaotic vocalizations -- with more frequency overlap for the critters. Presumably this makes it harder for them to communicate with one another. He described an experiment done that connects stress to traffic and other 'city-type' noises. It turns out that even when the subjects reported getting used to the noise, and were able to sleep without problems -- their bodies continued to be overrun with stress hormones. (Even when they reported feeling just fine!) Random and interesting fact: You can tell the outside temperature by the frequency of crickets' vocalizations. When it's cooler, their bodies move more slowly and the pitch is actually noticeably lower. Aside from the more scientific/biological aspects of the book, the author also makes the argument that the natural soundscape is the basis for our music. We evolved hearing the "orchestra" -- vertical (pitch) and horizontal (rhythm) patterns -- and our ancestors naturally strove to emulate it. I think this about sums up what I want to remember about this book. Interesting ideas. Rather long and a little bit repetitive. You might just listen to the Bill Staines' song instead. (But then you wouldn't have learned the interesting fact about the crickets.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I really enjoyed this one -- Krause's perceptiveness and poetic words are both beautiful. I have clearly not given enough thought to the sound environment around me, and the sonograms illustrating the impacts of human noise on ecosystem soundscapes are genuinely frightening. Thanks to Krause, I'm so much more aware of the sounds around me, and realizing how it really is impossible to get away from human sounds, at any time or place. I admit I skimmed a lot of the sections on music origins (far t I really enjoyed this one -- Krause's perceptiveness and poetic words are both beautiful. I have clearly not given enough thought to the sound environment around me, and the sonograms illustrating the impacts of human noise on ecosystem soundscapes are genuinely frightening. Thanks to Krause, I'm so much more aware of the sounds around me, and realizing how it really is impossible to get away from human sounds, at any time or place. I admit I skimmed a lot of the sections on music origins (far too many references that meant nothing to me), but overall I loved this. Highly recommend for anyone with an interest in the natural world (really, it's that broad), conservation, or animal communication.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Kay Silva

    This is a weird one! I picked this up thinking it to be of more of a scientific nature but found it instead to be more poetry and the lamenting of a heart for the sounds lost to us from the death of species. It was in some ways very moving. I loved his very lyrical wordy style. I found it captivating, like a piece of music. There isn't much to this in way of science, howver it is a wonderful view into the mind of someone who does hear likely as much as he sees with his eyes if not more. Totally This is a weird one! I picked this up thinking it to be of more of a scientific nature but found it instead to be more poetry and the lamenting of a heart for the sounds lost to us from the death of species. It was in some ways very moving. I loved his very lyrical wordy style. I found it captivating, like a piece of music. There isn't much to this in way of science, howver it is a wonderful view into the mind of someone who does hear likely as much as he sees with his eyes if not more. Totally unexpected subject matter and hard to describe. If you don't like a lot of descriptive tones you may find this overly undesirable. But if you love the subbtulties of music you may love this as well!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Not exactly life-changing, but the soundscapes were nice to listen to

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Whether you're a fan of sound or ecology

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    http://philadelphiareviewofbooks.com/... I set up my laptop and place a Shure SM-57 microphone on the edge of one of the mesh seats of the aluminum chairs on the back deck of my house in Philadelphia. The neighborhood I live in with my family is densely populated, but suburban in its layout. Most streets are residential. There’s a strip of businesses struggling to stay open on the main thoroughfare – a hearing aid store, a shoe repair shop, a few dollar stores, an antique kitchen appliance seller http://philadelphiareviewofbooks.com/... I set up my laptop and place a Shure SM-57 microphone on the edge of one of the mesh seats of the aluminum chairs on the back deck of my house in Philadelphia. The neighborhood I live in with my family is densely populated, but suburban in its layout. Most streets are residential. There’s a strip of businesses struggling to stay open on the main thoroughfare – a hearing aid store, a shoe repair shop, a few dollar stores, an antique kitchen appliance seller, and too many pizzerias and Chinese take-out joints. These businesses are faring better than the many shuttered storefronts – the family grocer, the car dealership, the gas fireplace showroom, the embroidery shop. People drive through the neighborhood. Not many stop and get out for a stroll. We live a block off of the main street. Capturing the ambient sounds outside my new home, for the hour between 7:50 and 8:50 one early June evening might reveal things not so apparent when the dissonance of combined senses, the distracting sights and smells, reduce the noise to a mere accompaniment, meaningless and signifying nothing. At 7:50:47 a baby cries a few dry duck-like quacks and then stops. I can tell, listening back, it is not my daughter. At 7:51:58 the siren of a fire engine whines, slowly rising and then disappearing in the distance. At 7:53:30 someone draws metal utensils over earthen dishes in their sink. My neighbors must have their windows open. At 7:54:00 the wind picks up and ruffles the leaves, sounding like a flash of water in a hot pan, sizzling violently for a moment and then quickly trailing off. At 7:55:51 a dog barks plaintively. The sound is in the high part of the midrange. He’s a small dog and he wants to go inside. At 7:57:18 a small plane passes over. At first the engine moans, as if accomplishing an incredible task, but as it flies directly over it roars with undeniable power. At 7:58:40 a helicopter passes over. Initially, the whirring of its prop blends together in a faint and singular, rolling sound, but when it’s overhead, the spinning blades cut out distinct thumps in a deafening war-like crescendo. At 8:00:00 the bells of the Leverington Presbyterian Church ring out the hour as a big plane roars above. These two sounds silence any audible signs of wildlife. As these distinct sounds occur throughout my recording, a base level of constant and repeating sounds persist from the very beginning to the very end. The engines of cars and trucks fluctuate like waves, travelling the whole spectrum of frequencies, from a low constant hum to a ceasing hiss. The chirps of crickets or some other insect persist in the most upper registers, an ever-present but slightly varying rhythm. Various species of birds tweet, trill, chirp, and scream. These are the clearest sounds I record. Buses and large trucks groan as their transmissions work. At least six window air conditioner units hum, occasionally jumping for a second as they spit trickles of water onto the sidewalks and into the grass. At 8:00:27 a screen door opens, its hinge snapping emptily. Heavy feet fall on a wooden deck and glass bottles clatter into a plastic recycling bucket. At 8:01:56 a man finally yells at the little dog and the yapping stops. At 8:02:17 another plane flies overhead, larger but more distant than the earlier aircraft. At 8:03:27 a bus’s breaks squeal and air hisses out of its suspension. An automated voice announces a message to the passengers too muffled to decipher. At 8:06:16 another distant, large plane passes. At 8:08:00 a police siren appears in the distance, more compelling than the fire engine’s siren. It lasts much longer too, still audible on my recording well after two minutes of its initial appearance. At 8:12:40 the police siren faintly comes back into focus, right before an air compressor in my neighbor’s garage sputters and comes to life. This causes a larger dog to bark. The siren lasts another two minutes, switching at times to the aggressive garble impatient officers use to scare drivers into letting them pass. At 8:15:00 the birds start chirping more insistently and consistently, though they are still interrupted and silenced often by vehicular and air traffic. At 8:17:50 a few more bird species join the chorus. I count at least seven different types of voices, though I cannot identify the species by their songs. This is the soundscape of Roxborough at dusk. While I listen to the playback, I can’t distinguish, at times, between the recording and the insistent snare beat of the music blaring from my neighbor’s garage. This is the same neighbor with the air compressor that boots up too often in the course of a day. He and his buddies kickstart their straight-pipe motorcycles and leave them running in the driveway along the side of my house, before roaring off, too fast, down the street. I don’t capture this sound in my recording, but I know it would have a similar effect to the helicopter passing over – a complete silencing of the little remnant of wildlife present in the soundscape. Still the wind hitting the diaphragm of my SM-57 is the only sound strong enough to register as a graphic blip on the spectrograph in my recording software. Though the biotic elements can be silenced, the abiotic forces of nature are immutable. When I listen to Bernie Krause’s soundscapes, I can tell they are not recorded on an outdated laptop with free software and a unidirectional vocal mic ill-suited to pick up ambient sounds. Krause’s recordings capture a spectrum of frequencies in crystal clear resolution, most of which my backyard soundscape only hints at. But that’s all beside the point. The very soundscapes Krause seeks out are by their nature richer and more varied than Roxborough at dusk. In the Brazilian rainforest, a puma’s purrs and growls rumble with such resonance as to fill every space among the branches of the trees. When the cat leaves, a vast array of insect calls are revealed as a large swath of sound with uncountable voices, punctuated by the croaking and hiccupping of birds. Each animal inhabits a specific place in the spectrum of frequencies, and though the puma’s purrs absorbed most of my attention, the birds and the insects are not silenced by this predator’s roars as they are by the helicopter or the straight-pipe motorcycles. In Belize, rain provides a bed of white noise, punctuated by thunder. If you listen closely, you can hear birds playing in the undergrowth of the forest. They do not halt their activities even for the deafening thunder. In Costa Rica, the rain sounds entirely different from the rain in Belize. It’s much more hollow, yet the way it hits the leaves is much more resonant. If rain can sound dry, the rain in Costa Rica sounds dry. A pig squeals, and the crenellation of its vocal cavity audibly scratches like a güiro or a straw pulled through a soft drink lid. Birds screech and sing, chasing a swarm of buzzing insects through the air. The small emptiness of a bird’s beak is captured in the recording. Bernie Krause has been travelling the world for well over forty years, recording the soundscapes of the last truly wild places on earth. Urban parks, or even national parks or most wildlife refuges, fail to meet Krause’s criteria for wildness. His life’s passion has been to find those disappearing locations where no human sounds can be heard, where the primeval soundscape remains untouched, and to record those soundscapes with the best available audio equipment. In his new book, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places, Krause brings us on a sonic trip around the world, from the beaches of Big Sur, the Indian Ocean and the North Atlantic, to the glacial calving range of southeast Alaska and the mountain jungles of Rwanda. It seems ironic, then, that Krause came to a love of the natural world and its wild soundscapes through a close study of the elementary aspects of sound in synthesizer music and effects for Hollywood science fiction movies in the 1960s. But when he began collecting sounds for a contracted album at the venerable record label Nonesuch, he realized the biophony, or soundscape of a biohabitat, is a useful and telling indicator, a piece of evidence essential in determining the natural health of a place. There is no doubt that Krause’s recordings of Brazil, Belize, and Costa Rica, in the examples above, show a much greater wealth of biodiversity and density than my backyard recording of Roxborough. But what about two less obviously contrasting habitats? Krause records soundscapes of forests and meadows before and after more subtle environmental degradation and compares the richness of each spectrograph, a graphic representation of the sounds he captures. Minimally invasive tree culling dramatically reduces the population of subtle wildlife indicators that are certainly not visible to the naked eye, such as insects and some perching birds. Additionally, Krause’s spectrographs, which illustrate The Great Animal Orchestra, reveal another interesting idea – that each biotic element of a soundscape fits in a particular niche, almost like a line or space on the musical staff. Birds and insects populate the upper registers. Small mammals and abiotic elements, such as wind and water, fit in the middle sections. Large mammals and thunder provide the bass in this illustrative concept. But this is about as far as Krause goes in connecting the soundscapes of wild places with the organized music of early cultures. Thankfully, though perhaps misleadingly, Krause’s book focuses much more on the ecological impact of human civilization, specifically in the realm of auditory infringement on the natural world. He acts as quite an iconoclast when he suggests that the pronouncement of man’s dominion over nature in Genesis is responsible for the desertification of Eden. Krause also reminds the oblivious weekend naturalist set, with their dog-eared Lonely Planet guides, that John Muir removed two Indian tribes from Yosemite so well-heeled white members of the Sierra Club could more peacefully enjoy the scenery. Which is to say, Bernie Krause is unafraid to buck the orthodoxy of ecological discourse. You’d have to be fearless to last nearly fifty years recording the soundscapes of the natural world, arguing to deaf academics that your product is key in determining the health of a biome. Many of the most disruptive forms of anthrophony, human noise, compromise the life cycles of sensitive wildlife species, even killing some through disorientation. Some generations of the U.S. Navy’s sonar systems can stun and beach whales hundreds of miles away from the source. However, Krause is not only concerned with the natural world, separate from humans. The physiological effects of noise, not just on the biome, but on individual humans, as shown in The Great Animal Orchestra, is alarming, especially for someone living in an increasingly noisy part of the world. It turns out my neighbor’s straight-pipe motorcycles might give me a heart attack and give my daughter a learning disability. The white noise systems installed in many offices to block out distracting sounds and to provide a semblance of privacy in open cubicles, do not relieve stress, but instead produce more tension. Our manmade attempts at calm and contemplation are no substitute for the relaxing sounds of nature. Though, again, we’ve perverted ourselves so much so that most nature sounds worry us. If we can hear the crickets out our open windows, the ambience is a little too quiet for many. We’ve all become Woody Allen, reassured by the blaring of sirens on our city streets throughout the night. Maybe not. The ray of hope Krause provides in The Great Animal Orchestra comes from an odd source, as it did in Alan Weisman’s 2007 book, The World Without Us. Chernobyl, an environmental catastrophe, in its exclusion of humans, stands as an ideal wild place with a rich diversity and density of wildlife, both flora and fauna, far surpassing managed wild places where human use is prevalent. The message is clear, if we want to preserve wild places, we need to stop futzing around in them so much. Recreation, if it means dirt bikes and snowmobiles and rifles and jet skis, does not equal preservation. Only a reduction of careless human use, along with other restoration measures, can restore any biome to the richness of a primeval wild place. Let’s hope we learn this lesson before all of the soundscapes Krause has recorded disappear forever.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Juliet Wilson

    This wide ranging book takes as its starting point the soundscapes of wilderness areas (of which there are a diminishing number as the human population increases, encroaching onto previously pristine habitats.) From there, Bernie Krause, former musician and sound recordist examines natural sounds and how humans have intereacted with them, from devising our first music inspired by the natural sounds around us to our impact on nature, both through destroying habitats to the huge impact of human ge This wide ranging book takes as its starting point the soundscapes of wilderness areas (of which there are a diminishing number as the human population increases, encroaching onto previously pristine habitats.) From there, Bernie Krause, former musician and sound recordist examines natural sounds and how humans have intereacted with them, from devising our first music inspired by the natural sounds around us to our impact on nature, both through destroying habitats to the huge impact of human generated noise on the world. It turns out that even an environment that looks to the eye to be healthy can reveal itself, through analysis of recordings of its soundscapes, to be much less complete that it seems. Krause gives many examples of specific habitats that he has studied and found to be diminished. He also examines the impact of human noise - by for example demonstrating how a jet flying over an area can disrupt the natural soundscape. Soundscape is the sum of all the sounds made by all the animals and other natural features in an area, including bird songs and calls, wind and rain, to mention just a few. Most sound recordists focus on recording individual species and the study of intact soundscapes is under resourced. Similarly where modern music takes inspiration from nature it tends to be by using the sounds of one bird or other natural sound and the whole of nature's soundscape is generally ignored. This is a fascinating book, full of intriguing facts though very sobering in its assessment of our impact on the natural world. It ends with a plea to be quiet and respectful of the natural world.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lila

    I read this for my music class, and it was a summer reading, so I procrastinated heavily and finished it right on time, which means I read it in a very rushed way. I don't know if that's why I had this feeling, but for most of the book I felt like it was repeating itself. There's definitely sections that are totally different from eachother, but, at the end of the book, I felt like I was reading the same paragraph over and over. I didn't really feel like I'd left point A and arrived at point B i I read this for my music class, and it was a summer reading, so I procrastinated heavily and finished it right on time, which means I read it in a very rushed way. I don't know if that's why I had this feeling, but for most of the book I felt like it was repeating itself. There's definitely sections that are totally different from eachother, but, at the end of the book, I felt like I was reading the same paragraph over and over. I didn't really feel like I'd left point A and arrived at point B in terms of building a thesis or something of the sort. But maybe that's because I don't read a lot of non-fiction and all non-fiction is a little like that? I did like it, though! I really want to work with sound design, so it was fascinating to hear about Mr. Krause's techniques and his mission. Unfortunately, my edition didn't come with the recordings, so I couldn't hear what he was talking about, but Dr. Krause's descriptions were so full of life that I could do a pretty good job imaging them! On the whole, I thought it was a really nice mix of envioramentalism and music, which are two themes you don't see mixed together that often. My favorite chapter was definitely the one where the origins of music were investigated, but I loved hearing about evolution and other biological concepts through a music-oriented lense! It's also really nice to see someone as passionate as Dr. Krause as with his work :) Really great to read about!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Glynn

    This was an OK book. Not great just OK. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this wasn’t it. The first half of the book seemed to me like a bunch of notes from a classroom. I thought we would be introduced to the different sounds of various birds and animals and how they blend together to make an orchestra (as the book’s name implies.) The author does speak a bit about this but mostly just lists the names of birds and animals without describing their music. I liked the idea of a soundscape and This was an OK book. Not great just OK. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this wasn’t it. The first half of the book seemed to me like a bunch of notes from a classroom. I thought we would be introduced to the different sounds of various birds and animals and how they blend together to make an orchestra (as the book’s name implies.) The author does speak a bit about this but mostly just lists the names of birds and animals without describing their music. I liked the idea of a soundscape and the biophony. I didn’t like his general statements like “music in almost any restaurant is noise.” (pg 158) There wasn’t much in the way of notes just some generalizations in the notes sections. Not many citations. Overall this was an easy read but disappointing and I may or may not have learned something.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

    Not as good as I'd hoped but still has inspired me to do more natural soundscape recording. Krause's idea that intact and healthy soundscapes have very different signatures than those that have been degraded is professionally interesting to me. I think the idea of somehow quantifying the overall complexity of soundscapes as a reflection of overall biodiversity has potential and I hope to take the idea to the field in the coming field season while recording birdsong in different ecosystems in Nov Not as good as I'd hoped but still has inspired me to do more natural soundscape recording. Krause's idea that intact and healthy soundscapes have very different signatures than those that have been degraded is professionally interesting to me. I think the idea of somehow quantifying the overall complexity of soundscapes as a reflection of overall biodiversity has potential and I hope to take the idea to the field in the coming field season while recording birdsong in different ecosystems in Nova Scotia. Although I wasn't enthralled by the writing, I do recommend the book to anyone interested in recording natural ecosystems or anyone who just likes to listen to the sounds in wild places. You will gain insights about the technical aspects of recording but also some interesting tidbits about how sound is integral to the ecology of many species.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Good bioacoustics, but frustrating Love the themes and novel ideas, but grew weary of the repetition. Krause has decades of field recordist experience, and some deep, abiding, and almost certainly deadly accurate impressions of how the silencing of the biophony is one of the death knells of capitalism and a herald of another major extinction, this one anthropogenic. This book, wonderful as it want it to be, in no way marshals a theory of the origins of music. It is, nonetheless, a remarkable acco Good bioacoustics, but frustrating Love the themes and novel ideas, but grew weary of the repetition. Krause has decades of field recordist experience, and some deep, abiding, and almost certainly deadly accurate impressions of how the silencing of the biophony is one of the death knells of capitalism and a herald of another major extinction, this one anthropogenic. This book, wonderful as it want it to be, in no way marshals a theory of the origins of music. It is, nonetheless, a remarkable account of a life spent as a field recordist, and of a kind ever seeking to synthesize big pictures from disparate data. The idea of a biophony, of a niche ecology identifiable by acoustic, is worth the price of both admission and repetition. The enhanced addition with audio clips is inspiring.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    A really interesting look at environmental sound and sound design by someone who clearly has a lot of knowledge and passion for the subject. Well written, easy to understand and a great introduction. I'm not totally convinced that the title and content of the book match - it was not so much an argument of how natural soundscapes influenced human musical development (Krause explicitly states that Western music since the Renaissance is pretty much totally divorced from true biophony) but rather tha A really interesting look at environmental sound and sound design by someone who clearly has a lot of knowledge and passion for the subject. Well written, easy to understand and a great introduction. I'm not totally convinced that the title and content of the book match - it was not so much an argument of how natural soundscapes influenced human musical development (Krause explicitly states that Western music since the Renaissance is pretty much totally divorced from true biophony) but rather that natural soundscapes are structured and important indicators of a biome's health. Also, I question how hopeful the final chapter "Coda of Hope" truly is. Unfortunately, as with most books that concern the environment, a lot of it seemed bleak. Still, fascinating stuff and I would recommend this book to anyone interested in environmental issues, the natural world and/or sound design.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    This book is a fascinating and impassioned, if somewhat repetitious, exploration of soundscapes in the natural world and their relation to humanity. It emphasizes how the collective voices of an environment fit together - in time and timbre and frequency - to form an “orchestra” that is integral to the survival of its constituent species. It touches on far-ranging topics, from the challenge of recording natural sounds, to the emotions expressed through animals’ vocalizations, to the impact of no This book is a fascinating and impassioned, if somewhat repetitious, exploration of soundscapes in the natural world and their relation to humanity. It emphasizes how the collective voices of an environment fit together - in time and timbre and frequency - to form an “orchestra” that is integral to the survival of its constituent species. It touches on far-ranging topics, from the challenge of recording natural sounds, to the emotions expressed through animals’ vocalizations, to the impact of noise pollution on predator-prey relationships. I (anthropocentrically) hoped that there would be more discussion of the origins and evolution of human music, as the chapter about it was especially insightful.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joel Rousseau

    I would describe the experience of reading the book as I would one of Krause’s natural soundscapes; Interesting, vital, thought-provoking, also somewhat static and unchanging throughout. Just as one might get a clear picture of a biome through a short clip of well-recorded sound, one could get a fully realized sense of the author’s passionate message from reading perhaps 5 of the book’s 9 chapters. I really enjoyed the content. He just said it again and again in different ways. So many great ide I would describe the experience of reading the book as I would one of Krause’s natural soundscapes; Interesting, vital, thought-provoking, also somewhat static and unchanging throughout. Just as one might get a clear picture of a biome through a short clip of well-recorded sound, one could get a fully realized sense of the author’s passionate message from reading perhaps 5 of the book’s 9 chapters. I really enjoyed the content. He just said it again and again in different ways. So many great ideas, could have been much more concise in my opinion. It was a bit repetitive. ;]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A very interesting read. You can actually hear corn grow. A project to recreate what a dinosaur-era soundscape might have sounded like ended up sounding like late summer in an old-growth area in the Adirondaks present day. Being in a natural area with no human-made sounds can have the same effect on people that music does in Alzheimers patients. I’ve been listening more when I’m outside and there is so much airplane noise everywhere all the time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Singer

    The first four chapters are slow. Thereafter, there is a lot to consider regarding origins of music and speech, human impact on biosphere, and the noise we endure and the impact thereof. The book refers the reader to a website at which a number of the author’s on-site recordings can be heard (the text prompts reader to the appropriate sound). At first the site didn’t work, but the publisher promptly fixed it when notified of the problem. Unique and stimulating.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gail Kennon

    i was disappointed in this book when i found that the subtitle covered only a fraction of the content and the rest was filled with the noise of the author mansplaining environmental degradation and noise pollution. i have read and will read about these very serious concerns when and where i choose to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lorrarudman

    Started slowly, despite the ability to hear, via website, sounds referred to in text. I became fascinated in spite of myself. Krause presents, in depth, an existence about which I had no awareness. It has left me wiser about the natural world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rüdiger Álvarez

    Inspirational. Really well written, shows how disconnected we are from the natural world through multiple ideas regarding how soundscapes work and connects us. I took notes, and I hope to dwell more into this topic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lew Stanisława

    Quite readable, but if you want to learn anything about the origins of music or animal sound, it's surprisingly NOT the book. A lot of useless personal information from the author with a slightly overgrown ego.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Pennington

    A beautiful rather romantic book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mike Lento

    A great introduction to soundscape ecology. However, it is highly repetitive.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    great interview of the autor here ! https://soundcloud.com/guardianscienc... great interview of the autor here ! https://soundcloud.com/guardianscienc...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marnie Zorn

    didn't finish..

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I loved this book. It made me want to read it again and take notes, tell everyone about what I learned, and venture outdoors and listen for the sounds of the earth, the animals, and manmade creations. I’ve never thought of the soundscape before and I’ll never ignore it again. My mind, heart, and ears are open for a new experience plus respect and appreciation for these wild places.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.