The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places
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.
quickly just how varied and rich the natural soundscapes were. As my thesis gained traction, I no longer had to rely so heavily on my own resources and was frequently commissioned to go to various sites to collect sound for museum-exhibit installations. These adventures allowed me to further test and refine the concepts, bringing back more than just a collection of field recordings that would otherwise have limited purpose. In Borneo—the third largest island in the world—a small riverboat took
a few seconds, the results will amaze you. Sound in our human world is broken down into two general types: desirable and undesirable, or, in the field of bioacoustics, information versus uncorrelated acoustic debris. Although in the process of listening we often don’t recognize noise—what the author Joachim-Ernst Berendt refers to in his book The Third Ear as “acoustic garbage”—it has detrimental effects on us. Unconsciously, our brains are hard at work filtering out undesirable sounds so that
exposure. In addition, researchers have shown that fatigue and stress are significant by-products—resulting from an increase in glucocorticoid enzyme levels that may escalate as much as 40 percent—of trying to separate noise from signal. It turns out that most of us find noise intrusive, repellent, or stressful—or all of the above. Unwanted sound in our lives—sometimes referred to in the current literature as ISE or irrelevant sound effect— induces multiple kinds of physical and psychological
life outside medicine, addressing the mysteries of music. What strikes me in particular are his writings on acoustics—especially his descriptions of the famous “Helmholtz resonator” that, like a prism that partitions the light spectrum, could separate and identify individual frequencies of sound from within a complex acoustic structure. Also astonishing—though almost an afterthought, given the resonator’s significance—is his appendix of orchestral reference tunings collected from various towns
the tree line upwind from where you hear some bugling and hope that the elk won’t catch your scent (a bit like hoping the sun won’t rise in the east). Since the elk often pass through that area, you may be lucky enough to experience bugling up close and personal. However, it takes patience, and you might need several days to capture just the right sound. Dawn is best because of the reverberation, but they bugle at dusk and other times of day as well. The introduction of the wolves has raised the