Local musician and naturalist Bernie Krause has made a career of recording and arranging the sounds of nature. In his new book, “The Great Animal Orchestra,” Krause explores how animals use sound to survive in their habitats, and examines the contributions of natural rhythms to human musical expression.

Bernie Krause and ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’ 14 May,2012forum

Bernie Krause, musician, naturalist and author of "The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places"

  • oh oh organic

    In 1991 I moved onto a ranch that had been managed using a lot of chemical sprays. We stopped all of that and within a year the frogs and crickets came back. The night sounds were profoundly changed.

    I suspect that not only is it the destruction of habitats but also the introduction of chemicals,

  • Unme

    Very interesting, very revealing, very scary…and, with a little more thought…overwhelming insight into the ‘natural’ world and what has happened to it…very quickly…as a result of human intrusion.

  • Brian

    Nature speaks all the time, we just have to listen.

  • Tina

    Does he know about the Denali project, an audio recording of wilderness, and can he comment on how rare and hard it is to capture sound without human noise such as from airplanes?

  • Rob Woodman

    I presume that the critters are dependant on these sounds just as we are dependant on spoken language. What happens when human made sounds drown out the sounds of nature?

  • Lilyrose

    Delightful presentation… music to my heart. 

  • Joe from Menlo Park

    I’m struck by a similtarity between Krause and the late experimental-musician John Cage. Cage was famous for recording all sorts of small sounds from vibrations of a cactus spine to the sounds of water in its various forms. Cage’s philosophy also reminded me of Krause’ discussion of the spirituality of sound. Cage stated that “The purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influences”. Krause’s comments about the people of Central African Republic escaping to the forest sounded like it may serve the same purpose. I’d be interested if Mr. Krause has any thoughts on Cage’s work and any possible influences. 

  • Alana

    Your recent comments on noise pollution brought to mind the last time the power went out here at home.  (I live in the suburbs – Castro Valley.)  It was midafternoon and it was so QUIET.  When the power came back, it was hard to define where the noise came from: air conditioners, refrigerators, washers/dryers . . . any thoughts/ideas/comments on what generates all this ambient noise we live with?

  • Glasermartha

    Dear Michael and Bernie,What a fantastic conversation.  I am so grateful to your guest for his work. We are concerned here in Sonoma County about the loud electromagnetic and radio frequency more and more of us can hear.Our beloved Kindergarten teacher asked the class what they hear when they are quiet, and most of the children could already identify that they hear “High squeaky noises” all the time when they are quiet or going to bed.We realize that children growing up today with Cell Phone Towers and Smart Meters are growing up without natural quiet, which is full of the biophonics that your guest is describing.Thanks,Martha Glaser

  • Joel Gussman

    Why is it that we take photos when we go places but we don’t take sound recordings?  How would you suggest the average person take sound recordings?  

    • Art Sederquist

      Joel — check out voicethread.com. Here’s one I made of a local spot in Berkeley: voicethread.com/share/3086881

      I made this with my iPhone’s Voice Memo. When I listened to it later I was amazed at the layers of conversation, music, and chatter that were captured. There was no editing done to this recording.

      I’m so glad to have listened to Forum today and to have noticed your question here.

  • Connie Peabody

    The US Navy has been engaged in wargames off our coast using sonar which can be very disruptive if not lethal to marine mammals  and other marine wildlife. Have you considered doing recordings during one these times to demonstrate the potential impact on wildlife?

  • Sylvia Timbers

    Thank you so much for this critical work and the beauty and heartbreak it contains. There
    is a movement:  the Global Alliance
    for Rights of Nature whose goal is for each country on earth to ultimately
    adopt as a fundamental principle the legal distinction of the Rights of Nature:
    the recognition that every eco-system, and the natural populations of all
    species that comprise them, have the right to exist, to persist, and to thrive.  As you may know, a model for this
    can be found in the constitutions of Ecuador and Bolivia— the first nations on
    earth to adopt rights of nature into their constitutions. May all nations join them!  //therightsofnature.org/

  • bernalite

    What a wonderful discussion — thank you. Growing up in New England first made me appreciate natural sounds — the rustling of leaves along with night choruses of frogs, cicadas, and crickets, not to mention the variety of birds. Later, living in North Carolina, and playing old time music with local musicians, I noticed that an evening jam on someone’s porch was typically accompanied by the loudest cicadas ever!…I’ve often wondered whether the sounds of nature in the South had a role in shaping the rich music that has come out of that part of the country.

  • Listener

    Last week some of were talking about those first few days after 9/11…and how quiet it was in America without any jet air traffic overhead.

  • Wow.  Thanks for having Bernie Krause as your guest.  My ears have been opened.

  • Pk

    Thank you.  That was amazing and I will never hear things the same way again.  Amazing.  What a gift Bernie is.

  • JB

    I also was very inspired by hearing the interview and the recordings.(while driving over 17 on the rebroadcast). As a musician and nature lover I have always been a listener and also felt the spiritual connection of the sounds around me. Even just the winds in the trees. Besides the book I will also seek
    the audio recordings to hear again and share. Bernie Krause is a national and world treasure imo. Thanks Bernie! Besides the wailing beaver and the anemone and the cut forest, I loved the quote, an audio recording is worth
    a thousand pictures.

  • Jeff Stram

    I REALLY ENJOYED THIS SHOW!  Krasny does it again; top notch topic and guest; an extremely revealing study of the natural world by a dedicated, brilliant man. This should be required listening for rabid right wing EPA haters… Oops, my inner liberal is showing…

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