Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise

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However, since as Rothenberg says, rhythm may well be the most basic and intrinsic part of all life, this reviewer is convinced that we would have music with or without insect calls. VERDICT This book is sure to please anyone with a natural history bent, an interest in musical structure, or a craving to explore something off the beaten path.

Andrew Isles Natural History Books

No redistribution permitted. It is engaging, wide-ranging, and profound in suggesting that the thrum of insects is a primordial musical beat. This book is for everyone who has ever marveled at nature or delighted in the sounds of her insect choirs, and especially for those who have done neither. It's inspiring, fascinating, and funny. Bug Music is a foray into another world. Bug Music is a thought-provoking celebration of the acoustic bonds between humans and our insect cousins.

Cicada Sound -- Cicadoidea of insects in order Hemiptera (true bugs) -- সিকাডা পোকা -- Insect Sound

Rothenberg is a great conductor in Bug Music, bringing out the melodies and harmonies, and exposing the mysteries, in the great insect orchestra that surrounds us. A must read for all who question and seek our place in nature. No one writes about the sounds of the wild so smartly, so evocatively, so beautifully. Bug Music is tremendous.

Finding the sheer delight of participating in the hum-drum excitement of nature is a gift and Bug Music points us that direction. And, there is good science here too! The author's wide-ranging musical interests--from Renaissance madrigals and John Cage to electronica and katydids--together with his playful, almost romantic approach to the subject helps engage general readers, balancing the book's more technical material. Sign in Register Wishlist 0.

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Bug Music. Product Description. Product Details. About the Author David Rothenberg is a writer, musician, and philosopher, most interested in how humanity is connected with the natural world. Reviews Alone, with no one to appreciate their sounds and ponder their significance, insects serenaded our planet for millions of years before we, or even birds, appeared on the scene.

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Write your message below to post a review: Rating:. Ask a Question About this Product More And when this happens, people are just shocked by how loud it is, how many come out. And, you know, here in this area, around Washington, Maryland, Virginia, you have several broods overlapping so you have -- it's one of the best places to experience them. So the last time they appeared was , that's when I first started thinking about this whole phenomenon.

It's like a drum head in their bellies, like vroosh. They kind of vibrate it. It's kind of unique. They're not making sounds with their wings like crickets and grasshoppers. They're not tapping like some treehoppers and leafhoppers do. They're vibrating their abdomens, vrooosh, making this remarkable sound. Seventeen years ago, they really discovered how complex and interesting the mating habits of the year cicada actually are.

They hear this noise.

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This is it. This is what -- we've been waiting 17 years underground alive for this and here's the sound. Mating is going to happen. That's what we thought was going on. And it turns out never before had any scientist really carefully observed and listened so much to what's going on and Cooley and Marshall discovered that first the male makes a sound and in the most common of these year species the sound is like ah-phe-ro.


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They go ooowho, zaaoowho and then they keep singing and singing and singing and nothing happens unless a female who is nearby makes a flick of its wing, tik, like a little wing flick, exactly one third of a second after the male stops, weoouu. And then he'll move on to a second song and, again, nobody knew about this until 17 years ago. And then you get to hear one more wing flick, tik, again and then they start to mate and you hear this ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta, ta.

Third song and that's you know, nobody knew this until 17 years ago and this amazing discovery, these two scientists made, that they made and I celebrate them. Here's one where you're playing live bass clarinet with cicadas. And you might ask, why do something like that?

Why connect this clarinet sound to this wash of what sounds like white noise, shhhhhh? You hear a whole series of sounds, the different mating sounds of the male cicadas and you feel like you're joining in to the vast orchestra. Actually, you have two other species, all coming out at the same time making different sounds.

One of them is making this wooossshh and that one species synchronizes. You hear waves like at the beach, wooossshh, wooossshh and they, too, have their secondary and tertiary mating sounds. And we also heard a few of those ah-phe-ro cicadas in the background, weoouu.


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And so as a musician, I try and find my way into that, playing along with this background. And I really felt working on this project that it changed my own ideas of what I thought were musical sounds and what was noise, like it started to take over my consciousness. I was making a different kind of music at the end than when I started the whole project. REHM So working with these various insects has affected your own sense of music? Just as when I worked with birds and whales, working with the sound world of insects and learning about how they use sound and spending time with them actually in person has changed my ideas, expanded my ideas in a different direction as to what can be done musically.

We don't know why it's so important to us. It's kind of ambiguous and emotional and can cut across cultural lines. And so I decided to take the risk and the leap to do the same things with other species, like who knows what's really going on? But some kind of music can be made together with these other species' worlds of sound. REHM And welcome back. David Rothenberg is with me. He's been a guest on this program before. REHM Here's an email from Ray who says: What's the difference with cicadas one hears every summer in Italy and those American who perform intermittently?

David Rothenberg: “Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise”

Now, the year and year cicadas that we are just talking about are definitely the exception rather than the rule. They are unusual. In most parts of the world and even in the United States, of course, we have many species of cicadas that come out every year. They usually come later in the summer. They never come in such numbers. You don't have millions of them all at once.


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You have -- one species is called the scissor grinder cicada. It's going like, makes noise. And then there's the dog day cicada coming later in the summer, makes noise. Just big washes of noise that, you know, they come every year. But it takes them, as well, several years to mature underground. So you can't tell how old a cicada is and no one's managed to raise one in captivity or followed one under a tree to count the number of years it takes for your average annual cicada to come out.