Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sounds of Nature

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook that she had witnessed the sound of ice for the first time. Or more specifically, the dispersion of sound waves in ice sheets. If you go to this link you can hear what she heard: http://silentlistening.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/dispersion-of-sound-waves-in-ice-sheets/
It’s pretty amazing!

The author of the blog above has a description that says “Andreas Bick, composer and sound artist based in Berlin, Germany, writes about sound related things (forgive wrong spellings and twisted grammar). Silent listening is about the fringes of music, the periphery where music turns into sheer sound - concrete, wild, sometimes stunningly beautiful.”

“The fringes of music, the periphery where music turns into sheer sound - concrete, wild, sometimes stunningly beautiful” – love it!

As you probably know, being a birder requires very good hearing. In fact even the tiniest sounds can drive me nuts—or bring me peace. A few years ago I read a book by Donald Kroodsma that was all about bird song and communication. His work has showed that even chickadees can have local dialects, that flycatchers are born with their ability to produce sounds, and that mockingbirds mimic all the other birds in the area to build a large repertoire that will impress the ladies.

“Many people can identify a Wood Thrush when they hear it, it's one of the most beautiful songs in the world. Little do they realize they could hear the things that Wood Thrush is communicating if they just knew how to listen." – Donald Kroodsma

Most of us overlook the sounds of nature. Or they are often blocked out by sounds of industry and civilization. But we also tend to seek out nature sounds for peace of mind—you can even buy them on a CD to help you sleep at night.

Imagining my life without being able to hear birds sing, raindrops fall on a tin roof, wind blowing through aspen leaves, coyotes howling, the rumble of distant thunder, or the crashing of waves onto the beach (I could go on forever)—it just might be unbearable. I listen to man-made music often—and sometimes loudly so I can sing along like a crazy person. But nature, to me, is the true musician. You just have to listen more carefully to hear her songs.

What’s your favorite nature sound?


Johnny Nutcase said...

Definitely. Melissa and I passed a guy on the trail in Glacier, hiking alone, with his damn ipod in - that makes me insane! People listening to music in a place like GLACIER? ? Really? (aside from the fact it's not safe...grizzlies...it's just pathetic and I don't understand it).

Lisa said...

I know. A guy with an ipod (and some kind of coughing illness) walked right by me in Pima Canyon. He was stomping up the trail and hacking up a lung and I thought he was a mule or something. I got off the trail a little and stood on a boulder above it. He walked RIGHT UNDER ME. Didn't seem me. If I had been a mountain lion he was done for. I don't get it either--sometimes when hiking long distances I use an ipod but its rare.