Songs and SoundScapes

For me, music and sound touch my soul in a way no other medium does. When I write prose or poetry, each word has a sonic texture that’s as critical as the meaning. I began my life in music playing in bands, as a guitarist and songwriter. As time goes on, my experience of what music is keeps expanding. Every sound we hear has a pitch and rhythm. Isolating and recombining sounds into soundscape pieces allows me, and hopefully the listener, to perceive the world in a new way.  

In 2016 I took a field recording class in the Sierra Nevada with staff from the Cornell Bird Lab. While there, we not only had practical instruction, but also lectures on the interaction between sound and nature, and how various species perceive sound. I was struck by the fact that birds have a completely different sense of time than we do, and hear one another’s songs as much slower and more defined. If you slow down a birdsong, you can hear that not only is the song perfectly in time, but there is a melodic and embellishment aspect that we completely miss with our human ears. This brought up an interesting thought: How do birds, sea mammals, and other creatures hear the sounds we produce? What does the world today sound like to a gull, or whale, or insect? And, when we no longer have ears, what will we hear?

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