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The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places Hardcover – March 19, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (March 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316086878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316086875
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An imaginative introduction to a new dimension of the natural world."—Kirkus Reviews

"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."—Publishers Weekly

"The Great Animal Orchestra speaks to us of an ancient music to which so many of us are deaf. Bernie Krause is, above all, an artist. I have watched him recording the calls of chimpanzees, the singing of the insects and birds, and seen his deep love for the harmonies of nature. In this book he helps us to hear and appreciate the often hidden musicians in a new way. But he warns that these songs, an intrinsic part of the natural world and essential to human well being, are vanishing, one by one, snuffed out by human actions. Read The Great Animal Orchestra, tell your friends about it. And as Bernie urges, let us all do our part to preserve the age old sounds of nature."—Jane Goodall

"Krause shows us the music of the natural world - long may his work continue!"—Pete Seeger

"Bernie Krause and his niche theory are the real thing. His originality, research, and above all basic knowledge of the sound environments in nature are impressive."—E.O. Wilson

"This fascinating book awakens our ancient ears to the source of all music. Read it, and you'll yearn to muffle our din-and hear anew."—Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us

About the Author

Dr. Bernie Krause is both a musician and a naturalist. During the 1950s and 60s, he devoted himself to music and replaced Pete Seeger as the guitarist for The Weavers. For over 40 years, Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the soundsof creatures and environments large and small. He has recorded over 15,000 species. He lives in California.

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Customer Reviews

This book ought to be required reading in college science and music classes.
C. Harrison
The Great Animal Orchestra by Bernie Krause gives us a new look at all of the sounds that nature makes and surrounds us with - if we would only stop and listen.
Sheri Newton
The other alternative is to purchase both the print edition and the audio book.
J. Crockett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By t.wrecks on March 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In addition to playing with the Weavers, Bernie and his partner Paul Beaver introduced the synthesizer to rock, and they worked with the biggest names in music in the 1960s and 1970s. Bernie's previous book, In A Wild Sanctuary, explored how animals partition their environments to get their calls across without interfering with each other. This selective use of the soundscape, which must be seen as a vital part of ecology and evolution, is now called biophony (life-sound), and along with geophony (earth-sound, like water and wind), makes us more sensitive to what's going on around us. He has recorded thousands of animals, plants, and environments around the world, including many environments that have now disappeared. His work has been pioneering in giving us a whole different qualitative and quantitative approach to what we are losing ... and sounds often record what visual evidence alone cannot.

Here, Bernie asks whether the sounds and rhythms of human music could have been adopted wholesale from the animals in our environments -- in short, whether animals taught us to sing and dance. The rhythms and songs of these animals will astound you, and give you a different perspective on the inspiration for our music.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Joss on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
All too rarely a book comes along that changes one's life and worldview by opening up new vistas of knowledge, thought and feeling. This is such a book.
Bernie Krause built upon a musical education and grounding to create a new dimension of sound. After building a career in the music business--itself a rare achievement--he turned to the sounds of nature. He deals with sound as his mentor, considering sounds from the land and ocean, evaluating the organized sound of life itself, covering what he calls `biophony' as a proto-orchestra, revealing the interior of the magnificent reality represented by the sounds of life that surround us every waking moment.
The book has many dimensions: it is a scientific treatise of exceptional scholarly quality and clarity; it is a book of global scope, since the author has worked worldwide, on land, at sea and undersea in pursuing the soundscapes of animal life; the book studies and documents the influence of human activity on ecosystems that predate humanity by hundreds of thousands of years, explaining the destructive aspects of human-derived sound, which he calls `noise'; and it is a richly anecdotal book of profound human insights, since it enables the reader to appreciate, in ways that were hitherto unavailable, the influence of sound in essentially every aspect of our lives, in places rich with mystery that most of us will never visit. Krause believes, and who are we to argue with him, that human communication over the millennia may be based on the natural sounds that preceded speech and singing--after all, animals, birds and marine life were here long before Man.
If one had to level a criticism at the work, it would be the missed opportunity of not including a CD of natural sounds, or at least offering one to readers, but this does not happen.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Judy F. Aust on July 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video
Despite Amazon's claim that the Kindle edition has audio content, this is not correct. Apparently, the "Kindle" edition permits the reader to access the recorded sounds embedded in the book through iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch only. The text itself is absolutely wonderful -- so wonderful that one really, really wants to hear the sounds the author so beautifully describes. Amazon should do whatever it takes to make this available to Kindle readers. Krause has been on NPR and in the NY Times discussing his recordings of nature sounds and Amazon owes it to loyal customers to make available to us what it makes available to readers who use other devices.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cumberland Alphorn Michael C R Cumberland on March 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Great Animal Orchestra By: Bernie Kraus
Reviewed by: Mike Cumberland

This book will change the way you listen. Krause awakens the spirit of the reader from the ennui of the everyday to the acoustic susurrations that surround us each day. As he notes, as a species, we now tend to block out our surrounding sounds with our own digital technology, but we also do this as a limbic brain protective / survival mechanism.

Krause skillfully relates the progression of his early personal experiences to his journey of amassing a collection of soundscapes worthy for generations to come. This book brings his salient technical journal and professional writings into a consummate assemblage of easily understood ideas. His explanation and use of terms such as: spectrograms, geophonies, biophonies, and anthrophonies are easy to grasp through diagrams and his easy writing style.

I was happily pleased that Mr. Krause made the reader aware of "The Sixth Extinction" concept through soundscape recordings -- but as much pleased that the point was not belaboured upon as Farley Mowat's Sea of Slaughter; which is down-right depressing.

One particular éclat phrase is particularly poignant, "... while a picture is worth a thousand words, a natural soundscape is worth a thousand pictures." (Krause, p. 71) This particular phrase alludes to the multi-dimensionality of life that Krause has captured in his extensive research studies. He not only clearly explains the three-dimensionality of vision, but on goes to concisely explain the fourth dimensionality of the inclusion of space and time through his spectrographs.
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