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The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places Paperback – March 12, 2013
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Featured in The New York Times Book Review's Paperback Row
"The Great Animal Orchestra is about the symphony of beasts that surrounds us, a vast orchestra in the process of being silenced....A fascinating life, and devotion to a fascinating topic...Krause wakes up your ears, gives you a desire to experience these wild soundscapes." -- Jeremy Denk, New York Times Book Review
"Forty years travelling the world to record more than 15,000 species have given Krause a rare insight into the importance of 'biophony'." -- Nature
"This passionate amalgam of science and autobiography argues that in the wild, animals vocalize with a musicianly ear." -- New York Times Editors' Choice
"Krause...has recorded the sounds of more than 15,000 animal species and their natural ambience. This often poetic and thoroughly entertaining book reflects his passion." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"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
"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
"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. The idea of music originating in the sound communication systems of wild animals is a sound and provocative hypothesis. I admire also his attention to the preservation of ancestral-level cultures for their own value but also as a testing ground for theory on human behavioral evolution." -- E.O. Wilson
"Krause always reveals wondrous stories of the meaning of music and sounds of our natural environment. Bernie's research into the subtleties of animal and insect sounds is unparalleled, but it is his description of the radical changes that are taking place on this planet that really makes on stop and wonder... Listen carefully, for the sounds you hear may never be the same again." -- Sir George Martin
"Krause shows us the music of the natural world - long may his work continue!" -- Pete Seeger
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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Today, the musical scholar Bernie Krause is exploring a complimentary frontier; the musical properties of soundscapes created by wildlife in their natural environments. If Krause is right - and he makes a persuasive case in his impeccably argued and loving crafted "The Great Animal Orchestra" - then our natural habitats are suffused with soul-stirring symphonies composed from the voices of crickets, the rumble of streams, the beat of waves brushing up against the shore, and counterpoint melody of literally thousands of species expressing themselves.
The soundscapes emerging from our biospheres are not mere random noise. There is order, interplay, and a deep harmony within these sonic landscapes, though we must be attentive and good listeners to hear the subtle musical joys that surround us. Unfortunately, the everyday music of birds chirping, the wind ruffling through trees, and the rain splattering on the ground is being drowned out by leaf blowers, airliners overhead, and the ever increasing din from our machines. It is not just our peace of mind that is being shattered; human generated noise is destroying the great animal orchestras which perform in our midst.
Global warming and the encroachment of man-made sound are just two of the factors threatening our biodiversity. Krause calls attention to what is at stake: as natural soundscapes are silenced we will lose touch with source of our musical heritage. Natural music has a way of attuning us to the universe. In a way, if we lose these natural soundscapes we will lose our souls. That is one of the lessons I gleaned from Krause thoughtful and very humane book. But thankfully, Krause book has also taught me to listen to the sound of the wind as it brushes against the grass; the melody of birds singing from their lofty perches; and the gentle pitter-patter of leaves falling to earth. The order and harmony is exquisite, if we would just train our ears for it.
Scott O'Reilly is the author of:
"Yes and Philosophy."
When I met Bernie I had been studying animal behavior and ecology for years, but my interest in animal vocalizations was largely scientific. With his musical background, he opened my ears to a whole new world of sound. I have always been struck by his ability to bring together disparate threads, and this book develops a richly beautiful portrait of life's orchestra. From ideas we first discussed in the jungles of Borneo, he has developed complex theories of communication. He reveals how animals form their own symphonies, the percussive beat of insects blending with the melodies of birds. Each animal has its own sonic space, but like an orchestra they join together to form a haunting sonata unique to each place on earth.
It has been a pleasure to work with Bernie. From gathering sounds in the field, to the creative process of putting recordings together for environmental albums and exhibits, I have learned from him how to really focus my listening. I am delighted he has written this book to share his insights on nature's harmonies. The music we enjoy today owes a debt to thousands of wild songs. These connections can only be translated for us by a man who is both a musician and scientist, steeped in decades of really listening to everything from the singing of a sand dune to the moans of a mourning beaver. Enjoy this book as a passport to tune your ear and really hear the world in an entirely new way."
All of life makes sound. The recordings are beautiful moments. We are encouraged to remember to stop and listen to each other and to the wild. All creatures have a voice and together create biophonies, they listen to each other. This book is beautiful. A Painful reminder of what we are loosing in our rush to take and make.