Saturday, April 21, 2012

gloves wisteria soundscape

Gloves look so alive. They are almost animate. These are my gardening gloves. They  long for the feel of earth between their fingers.

Outside the study window a fat pigeon sits among the leaves feeding on wisteria buds.

A moving review of a booked called The Great Annual Orchestra by Bernie Krausse is in Thursday's Independent. It concerns soundscape, "the concerto of the natural world". The reviewer, Michael McCarthy , speaks of his surprise when he became aware, on a spring day in the Norfolk Broads, "of a whole layer of aural existence of which I had been sublimely ignorant."  Two discoveries he says, stand out for him in the book. The first is that  every organism has a unique sound signature, however minute.  The second is that in nature's symphony everything fits together: organisms fit together to use unoccupied sound channels of time, loudness or frequency, so that they do not drown each other out in a cacophony (Krausse calls this 'niche discrimination'); instead they form a collective voice, "the acoustic harmony of the wild)".
 Much to think about now. I must away soon to Amazon.


marja-leena said...

I was using the very same gloves (Fred's) yesterday to protect my hands as we moved my flat files into the studio. Too bulky for me in gardening though.

Love this: "the acoustic harmony of the wild"

tristan said...

dawn choruses over velvet dewy lawns

Roderick Robinson said...

On Friday mornings I take a twenty-minute drive through mainly rural Herefordshire, through Holme Lacy, across the River Wye and past a tree-covered tump towards Mordiford, turn right towards even denser woodland and finally left, at the last outpost of human habitation, into Pentaloe Close, a collection of say twenty bungalows. With long-standing local residents' permission I park my car half on the pavement, get out to loud and varied birdsong. If I stand for a moment small birds fly this way and that for reasons only the birds know. But always that insistent birdsong.

It's a routine ten years' old. Usually Beryl has arrived before me and the two of us - both septuagenarians - work our way round the side of Pat's bungalow and ring the door bell. Inside we alternate readings and rigorous translation of whatever French novel we happen to be dealing with. Presently it's Stupeur Et Tremblements by Amélie Nothomb.

I often reflect even if the lottery made me very wealthy why would I want to spend my Friday mornings any other way. Greeted as I am by those birds, in the shadow of yet another tree-covered tump, in Pentaloe Close, looking forward to a peaceful hour of discipline. Playing a minor instrument - something in the percussion section - in the concerto of the natural world.

Unknown said...

The author of The Great Animal Orchestra is a musician who became interested in electronic music in the late 1960s. He was one of the first musicians to take up the synthesiser. He has an archive of more than 15,000 species. He believes that in "nature's collectivee voice" can be located the origins of human music and perhaps even human language."

I have often stood in The Grove and listened to the largely human and mechanical sounds which rise from The High Street and the rest of the town, a sort of acoustic disharmony, but perhaps rendered progressively harmonious by distance. I remember once looking out over the coast from a high point in Andalucia at least 20 miles from the sea and hearing a remote hum of traffic from the coastal motorway almost as far away. Not an unpleasant sound, a bit like the wind.