Hello fellow lovers of nature and sound!
I bookmarked this article ("The Piccolo and the Pocketgrouse," by Eric Wagner in Orion) to read a while back, and finally got around to it when I woke up earlier than expected this morning. Given that I'm not fully awake, lazily reading about the intersection of bird songs and music theory was a perfect way to ease my way into consciousness for the day. While reading the article I took the time to research some of the musical pieces and listen to them as Wagner describes it. Tina, I immediately thought of you with all of the ornithology in the piece, I'm sure you've heard of some of the birds the writer featured in the musical pieces!
Petites Esquisses D'oiseaux (translates into, "Small Bird Sketches," I think? "Small Sketches of Birds?") by Olivier Messiaen:
And Brooke, I know we've talked about classical music before. This piece raises the question that comes along with any great aural analysis - What is music? The music of birds, whales, etc. is a collection of sounds that, although beautiful, are arranged haphazardly. It's a stark contrast to the extended melodies of Western music and what we would consider as intelligent composition. Which, then, is the natural form of music? That which occurs organically in animals, or the music we create because it abides by a set of rules and is pleasing to the ear? Wagner addresses this in the second section.
Either way, the phrase "aural ecology" is now a part of my vocabulary now. What a beautiful term.
(Emily Doolittle's website, more links are in blue)
Check it out when you have a few spare minutes, it's a fun concept to sink your teeth into :)
Also, check Paige out if you have a few spare minutes. She's a most joyful and curious writer, and a great travel partner to boot. Her tweets are music to *my* ears.