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.
This memoir of sonic investigation highlights the lessons learned from 40 years of listening to the world's biophonies the sounds of living organisms. Musician and naturalist Krause (Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World) uses the language of music to understand everything from birdsong, to ocean waves, to decimated habitats, relying perhaps too heavily on the experiences of Native peoples to answer his questions about the origins of music, especially how the sonic structure inherent in biophany impacted human expression to take the form of music. While Krause notes competing theories on music's evolution and makes a clear case for nature's ongoing influence on contemporary composition, the origins of music are never found. Instead, Krause's musical expertise allows him to hear the orchestral layering of different species in each biophony, an insight that explains group vocalization as an evolutionary survival mechanism rather than a purposeful chorus of noise. As Krause discovered early in his career, his body of work unintentionally revealed "the state of biomes that have rendered ecologically transformed through human intervention." Photos.