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Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
He combines the best discoveries of science and technology with a musician's understanding of the primeval common ground that exists in rhythm and sound, across all cultures and extending into the animal kingdom as well. He was willing to take some risks and tick off some activist and naturalist allies to get where he wanted to go with his search, and I think it paid off handsomely in the results and insight we can all gain from his book. The individuals he sought out in his extensive researching are among the foremost authorities in the field of cetacean studies, and he was able to harvest a wealth of both fact and opinion from them. The audio CD included with the book is an outstanding compilation of his attempts to participate in the making of oceanic music and on its own worth the price of his book. I highly recommend The Thousand Mile Song to anyone who wants to further their own insights into the essential nature of music, sound, and whale culture.
On the 10th of October of 1984, a lone male humpback whale swam into the Bay and proceeded, subsequently, to swim up the San Joaquin Delta, up the Sacramento River toward Sacramento ultimately finding itself trapped in a tiny slough 75 miles upstream. John Garamendi, then a California State Senator (now Lieutenant Governor), headed up a team that consisted of a long list of state, federal and academic agencies and personnel. As part of that team, Dianna Reiss and I were appointed scientific co-directors by Garamendi and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with the special mandate to pull together the best information available at the time regarding humpback rescue operations and to share that data with the team along with practical strategic suggestions for a possible rescue. Because there was no reference or previous humpback whale rescue data related to this particular type of event, different methods were tried with limited success over the course of three weeks.
Then, in a final attempt to rescue the animal, a phone teleconference was held in Sacramento on the 31st of October.Read more ›
Overall, I found it a good blend of science, whimsy, and environmentalism.
"Music hath charms . . . " goes the old cliché, but the author's purpose isn't to "charm", it's to establish some kind of link with those elusive creatures. Unlike those who rely on cliché and imagery, Rothenberg has electronics. And a clarinet. The electronics can record the voices of the singing whales, his squalling wind instrument and a computer to record both sets of sounds for comparison. The author's prompt was the release of thousands of recordings by the US Navy in their quest to separate submarines' sounds from that of living creatures - "biologics". Early results were released in a fabulously successful recording "Songs of the Humpback Whale". These, of course, were all just recordings, and nothing interactive was attempted.
The main trigger for Rothenberg was the variations that some species exhibited. "Songs" changed from season to season, and in some cases within the season. The author rightly reasoned that such variation was unlikely due to innate genetic characteristics. It must be due to something the whales determined consciously.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the actual subject that was depicted in the book did not fit the description very well, therefore i found that i was reading something that was not what i thought i was getting,... Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by Charlotte Margaret Moshøj
Yes, sweet. What a marvelous celebration of the Earth, its largest animals and the history of music. This is not a fast read. Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by Jody M Clark
Captive belugas are suffering belugas (based on science and mortality). Some nice aspects of this book but to be really communicating with them; or being sensitive to them,... Read morePublished on March 24, 2010 by William Strickland, Ph.D.
The book is a great combination of interesting easy reading with lots of unusual educational content about whalesPublished on February 14, 2010 by R. Lake
David Rothenberg continues to amaze us with his explorations into music, sound and nature. This work is both of this world and a world apart. An incredible book and CD.Published on December 28, 2009 by Charles
After reading a little about this book, I was excited to give it a read. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed in the quality of the writing, which was amateurish and overly... Read morePublished on September 24, 2009 by little simp
Even though I have been interested in whales since childhood, I never imagined that a discussion of whale songs could be so fascinating, pulling discussion threads from science,... Read morePublished on March 7, 2009 by Raspberry G.