A provocative book explores the relationship of music and the natural world.
This innovative book, assembled by the editors of the renowned periodical Terra Nova, is the first anthology published on the subject of music and nature. Lush and evocative, yoking together the simplicities and complexities of the world of natural sound and the music inspired by it, this collection includes essays, illustrations, and plenty of sounds and music. The Book of Music and Nature celebrates our relationship with natural soundscapes while posing stimulating questions about that very relationship. The book ranges widely, with the interplay of the texts and sounds creating a conversation that readers from all walks of life will find provocative and accessible.
The anthology includes classic texts on music and nature by 20th century masters including John Cage, Hazrat Inrayat Khan, Pierre Schaeffer, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Toru Takemitsu. Innovative essays by Brian Eno, Pauline Oliveros, David Toop, Hildegard Westerkamp and Evan Eisenberg also appear. Interspersed throughout are short fictional excerpts by authors Rafi Zabor, Alejo Carpentier, and Junichiro Tanazaki.
The audio material for the book, available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/musicandnaturecd/, includes fifteen tracks of music made out of, or reflective of, natural sounds, ranging from Babenzele Pygmy music to Australian butcherbirds, and from Pauline Oliveros to Brian Eno.
Introduction: Does Nature Understand Music?
I. Roots of Listening
Hazrat Inyat Khan, The Music of the Spheres
Rainer Maria Rilke, Primal Sound
John Cage, Happy New Ears
John Cage, Diary: Emma Lake Music Workshop 1965
Tim Hodgkinson, An Interview with Peirce Schaeffer
Evan Eisenberg, Deus ex Machina
. Murray Schafer, Music and the Soundscape
Tsai Chih Chung, The Music of the Earth
II. Wild Echoes
Rafi Zabor, From The Bear Comes Home
Steve Lacy, Sax Can Moo…
Russell Sherman, from Piano Pieces
Jaron Lanier, Music, Nature, and Computers: A Showdown
David Dunn, Nature, Sound Art, and the Scared
David James Duncan, My one Conversation With Collin Walcott
Michael Ondaatje, from Coming through Slaughter
III. The Landscape of Sound
Steve Erickson, from Rubicon Beach
Claude Schryer, The Sharawadji Effect
Pauline Oliveros, Sonic Images
Pauline Oliveros, The Poetics of Environmental Sound
Brian Eno, Ambient Music
Hildegard Westerkamp, Speaking from Inside the Soundscape
Douglas Quin, Toothwalkers
Francisco Lopez, Blind Listening
David Toop, from Exotica
Robert Schneider, from Brother of Sleep
IV. Many Natures, Many Cultures
John Luther Adams, The Place Where You Go to Listen
Toru Takemitsu, Nature and Music
Steven Feld, Lift-Up-Over Sounding
Eric Salzman, Sweet Singer of the Pine Barrens
Bernie Krause, Where the Sounds Live
Junichiro Tanizaki, from "A Portrait of Shunkin"
V. The Disc of Music and Nature (web link)
"The Book of Music and Nature cheerfully debunks the old 'music is the universal language' cliché; pays homage to masters like John Cage, Brian Eno and Toru Takemitsu; detours for a koan-like story by David James Duncan and a tall tale from David Toop; and, finally, acknowledges the written word's ultimate limitations in the face of music with an illuminating CD. The Book of Music and Nature is an impressive work: important, provocative and comprehensive."~John Schaefer