Musician and naturalist Bernie Krause is one of the world's leading experts in natural sound, and he's spent his life discovering and recording nature's rich chorus. Searching far beyond our modern world's honking horns and buzzing machinery, he has sought out the truly wild places that remain, where natural soundscapes exist virtually unchanged from when the earliest humans first inhabited the earth.
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.
©2012 Bernie Krause (P)2012 Hachette
Although I feel I might've learned more had I read the printed version, words I was unfamiliar with went by too fast to comprehend at times, the addition of the author's recordings greatly enhanced the subject.
As a lover of both music and nature, an avid reader and fan of PBS and Science Channel, I was surprised that I knew nothing of this science. I found it fascinating.
If you listen to books to help you sleep or get thru the parts of the night when you just can't, I highly recommend this one. I have listened to books that were nearly ruined by needless and distracting music at the beginning of each chapter. Very annoying. But when actual soundscapes are played in this recording, it was enjoyable, illuminating and peaceful.
This book was excellent - the version I listened to included sound effects, copies of recordings that reflected what the author was reading. The topic was interesting, the cause is important, and the reflections about the role natural sound plays in our lives was thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.
It wasn't really the narrator's fault. The book may be interesting to read, but is irritating to listen to. (See below.)
I wouldn't cut anything; but I'd add a lot. (See below.)
The subject of the book is nature's sounds -- what there is to hear in natural settings if one takes the time to listen. But the author merely describes the sounds using words. Given that I was listening rather than reading, I kept wanting to hear the sounds that Krause was describing. Krause clearly had created thousands of hours of recordings. Surely it would have been possible to include at least snippets of those recordings in the audio version of the book. But that didn't happen. I finally got so frustrated by having to listen only to descriptions of sounds rather than the sounds themselves I stopped (about 1/4 of the way through the book).
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