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Wild Soundscapes: Discovering the Voice of the Natural World [With CD] Paperback – May, 2002

4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Bernie Krause hears things the rest of us don’t even realize we’re missing. But if we listen carefully, starting with him, we just might resurrect some sweet sounds we’ve lost.”—Alan Weisman, author of Countdown and The World Without Us, on Voices of the Wild
(Alan Weisman)

“Here’s a handbook and philosophical guide for anyone, young or old, who wishes to open their senses to an often forgotten dimension of the reality around us: the sounds of the natural world—the sounds that are more than audio vibrations, but doorways into other worlds.”Richard Louv, author of Vitamin N, Last Child in the Woods, and The Nature Principle
(Richard Louv)

“Part fascinating meditation on sound, part essential manual, Bernie Krause’s Wild Soundscapes is the veritable bible for how to record nature’s fleeting song—not just technically, but reverently.”—Alan Weisman, author of Countdown and The World Without Us
(Alan Weisman) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bernie Krause is a soundscape ecologist, musician, and author. He and the British composer Richard Blackford collaborated on The Great Animal Orchestra: Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes, which premiered in the UK in 2014 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and composed, in 2015, the score for the Alonzo King LINES Ballet ensemble's Biophony. He lives in Glen Ellen, CA.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Wilderness Press (May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899972969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899972961
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
When one takes in nature or the wilderness, we experience usually through our eyes. We may stop to hear the birds or notice the howl of a distant wolf, but primarily our senses our limited to optics. The acoustic world of the wild is mostly beyond our reach. What worlds are out there for our ears to discover? And how do we uncover them? Wild Soundscapes by Bernie Krause is an introduction into listening to the sounds of the natural world. It is quite amazing how when most look at aspects of the environment, whether is a tropical rainforest or African savannah, the orchestra of sounds that envelop such settings rarely get any notice. They of course are heard but is the concerto felt and understood? Wild Soundscapes by Bernie Krause will help you discover sound, what is sound and how important soundscapes are. He offers a simple guide of listening exercises to discover the soundscapes of your backyard or favorite parks. They are easy to follow and comprehensive. Wild Soundscapes is also a premier guide to nature recording. Complete with equipment, recording and production tips and techniques. Bernie Krause has created a remarkably ear-opening book. It even includes a 55 minute cd of various Bernie Krause soundscape recordings. Wild Soundscapes is very, very refreshing because it will let you experience the outdoors that we all love in an entirely new way. Hear! Hear!
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This book is basically a "how-to" guide for making field recordings. Dr. Krause -- who is the undisputed best at this -- takes the reader through such steps as choosing appropriate equipment, determining a good locale, protecting equipment from the elements, cataloging your recordings, editing and assembling afterwards, etc. Using his own mistakes as examples, his advice promises to save beginners countless hours of aggravation. An illustrative (narrated) CD of soundscape examples accompanies the text.

My only complaints would be that he sometimes aims a bit too low -- the glossary defines "quiet" and "mic" for crying out loud -- and he automatically assumes that anybody else entering the field will want to duplicate exactly what he's done (which of course would be pretty pointless). He also apparently doesn't see the inherent contradiction between "Nature is an overused and abstract word, intertwined with a tradition that has created an 'it/us' dichotomy that separates us from the very world we try to describe" [p.2] and "In 1968 it took 15 recording hours to get one hour's worth of natural sound. Now, due to human noise and disturbed habitats, it takes about 2,000 hours to get the same result" [p.3].

Still, this is a valuable field guide for anybody starting out.
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Format: Paperback
This book is like a bible of sound for me. Bernie Krause takes you on a sonic adventure that doesn't stop. AND you get an accompanying CD to really accent his thorough notes on the recordings of these beautiful and remote places. Some people use photographs to tell their stories of the wild, this book gives you a sonic story that is far more telling than a photograph. It is more vivid, more rich, and more REAL.
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Wonderfully entertaining and informative, this book went with me to a remote island where I used it to create my most successful recordings to date.

I subtract one star because Krause makes comments suggesting that the sounds of the city are not to be enjoyed. I enjoy all of the ambient sounds of natural environments, including non-native species, and industrial sounds.

While he goes to great lengths to suggest that noises such as a jet pass-over detrimentally interrupt natural environments, the point fails to support the subject of the book. The information is well taken, but disturbing; which broke the magic of the book for me. That subject deserves its own book. This one deserved a more narrow focus.
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Format: Paperback
Wild Soundscapes: Discovering The Voice Of The Natural World by naturalist and soundscape recorder Bernie Krause is an engaging introduction to the wondrous world of natural soundscapes. Simple listening exercises, advice for recording natural sounds, equipment tips fill the pages of this practical, "user friendly", and thoroughly enjoyable guide to the "singing" of ants, the quiet rustle of desert sand dunes, and much, much more. Enhanced with an accompanying 55 minute CD of fascinating wildlife and wilderness audio soundscapes, Wild Soundscapes is a unique and very highly recommended addition to any personal, professional, academic, or community library Nature Studies or Out Door Recreation reference collection.
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