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Warum Vögel singen: Eine musikalische…
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Warum Vögel singen: Eine musikalische Spurensuche (original 2005; edition 2007)

by David Rothenberg, A. Held (Übersetzer)

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127None94,413 (3.82)10
Member:viktoriaofbavaria
Title:Warum Vögel singen: Eine musikalische Spurensuche
Authors:David Rothenberg
Other authors:A. Held (Übersetzer)
Info:Spektrum Akademischer Verlag (2007), Ausgabe: 1, Gebundene Ausgabe, 313 Seiten
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Sachbuch, Philosophie, Musik, Ornithologie, Vögel

Work details

Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Bird Song by David Rothenberg (2005)

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Showing 5 of 5
I also have the related CD. Some of it is sublime, some I don't get.

That pretty much goes for the book, too. Rothenberg traces all the many ways people have studied bird song, and that we mostly don't know much about it. His response? To play his clarinet in the Australian forest to an Albert's lyre bird. I suppose it makes as much sense as a lot of other things people do. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jan 17, 2014 |
'Why Birds Sins is the first introduction to the world of bird song that combines the insights of science, poerty and music. The aim is to show that we need all three human ways of knowing to find the fullest understanding of these beutiful, natural sounds which resound around us every spring. (...) after all these tales you will finally learn that birds sing for the same reason humans do: because they can, and because they must'. ( )
  MatteoGrilli | Jul 24, 2011 |
The author seems to struggle to mix the personal philosophical observations with the science and research. At times too technical, at times too deep it was a struggle to read initially but settled down as it progressed. At parts very enjoyable, at other deeply troubling (esp. with regard to the 'sacrifice' of birds). This mixed andimperfect telling rather reflects the impact of birdsong on humans. Whilst there are no answers there is plenty to wonder at. ( )
  rightantler | Nov 4, 2010 |
A little too touchy-feely, Kumbaya for my taste--and also at times too scientific. I know the author was trying to mix hard research with his personal observations, but for me, the blend didn't work. ( )
  Cariola | Jun 4, 2009 |
I like to think of memory as a raw material, like clay or paint. It is what it is, but we bend, shape, and smear it into the image that serves us best. Sometimes we do this deliberately, as when we take our memory of someone else's work or idea and use it as part of our own creation, our own new thing. The best fiction, people will tell you, comes from experience of real life, but I remember what a wise professor once told me. “Books,” he said, “come from other books.” Art comes from art. We take that art, bring it into our minds, bend it a little, take things away, add other things, and we have something new. To try to create the wholly new is a folly. Our minds are stuffed with memories. They are the building blocks of human creation.

Humans are not the only creators in this universe. I just read a good book called Why Birds Sing by David Rothenberg. Rothenberg is a musician with the inquiring mind of a scientist and the pen of a poet. He tries to answer the titular question and, in my opinion, forgivably fails. It is too big a question for one consistent answer (it is large, it contains multitudes). The point of reading this book is the journey, not the destination. Which brings me to one of the more interesting stars of Mr. Rothenberg's book, the marsh warbler.

I've never heard a marsh warbler. I'd like to, but I don't have the means to travel across the Atlantic just now. The warbler is a migratory passerine that summers in Europe and winters in southern Africa. It is a mimic and Rothenberg describes it's song thus: “One by one it repeats nearly all the sounds of all the other bird species that live in its habitats, one after another with little recognizable pattern or repetition, packing a few tiny fragments into every second like a bird song identification tape played at double speed.” European ornithologists had identified about half of the warbler's song as being mimicry of other birds. The other half, they assumed, was the warbler's own song. They assumed that until the late 1970s, when Françoise Dowsett-Lemaire followed the bird's migratory path to Africa, listened as she went, and then heard the warbler's song anew. The warbler's journey is a songline that fills the traveling bird's memory with the music of two continents. The songs are borrowed from other sources, but the final version is all the warbler's own. The bird that mimics is not simply a playback machine. It is a careful listener and a deliberate creator.

All art is like that, whether we are conscious of our influences or not. That which we call sui generis is not, in fact, completely new. It is a basic law of physics. Something cannot come from nothing. In striving to make art we take the somethings that we have in our minds, the bits and pieces of memory, and shape and combine them in new ways to create meaning and beauty. If you would be an artist of any kind you must be like the marsh warbler. Pay attention on your journeys. Read widely. Listen intently. Gather up all the culture and nature that you can. Then do something wonderful with it. ( )
  WaldenZanzibar | Dec 11, 2008 |
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Epigraph
The birds sing blissfully until the joy
is so great as to be unbearable:
this joy cannot be heard from afar,
but if you come near it, you will succumb.
--Reb Nachman
Dedication
For my father
First words
It is March 2000 and I am in Pittsburgh to jam with the birds of the National Aviary, the finest public collection of caged birds in the United States.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465071368, Paperback)

The astonishing richness of birdsong is both an aesthetic and a scientific mystery. Evolutionists have never been able to completely explain why birdsong is so inventive and why many species devote so many hours to singing. The standard explanations of defending territories and attracting mates don't begin to account for the variety and energy that the commonest birds exhibit. Is it possible that birds sing because they like to? This seemingly naive explanation is starting to look more and more like the truth. Why Birds Sing is a lyric exploration of birdsong that blends the latest scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form. Drawing on conversations with neuroscientists, ecologists, and composers, it is the first book to investigate the elusive question of why birds sing and what their song means to both avian and human ears. Whether playing his clarinet with the whitecrested laughing thrush in Pittsburgh, or jamming in the Australian winter breeding grounds of the Albert's lyrebird, Rothenberg immerses himself in the heart and soul of birdsong. He approaches the subject as a naturalist, philosopher, musician, and investigator. An intimate look at the mostlovely of natural phenomena, and now with a CD with over one hour of music and birdsong, Why Birds Sing is a beautifully written exploration of a phenomenon that's at once familiar and profoundly alien.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"The astonishing variety and richness of bird song is both an aesthetic and a scientific mystery. Biologists have never been able to understand why bird song displays are often so inventive and why so many species devote so many hours to singing. The standard explanations, which generally have to do with territoriality and sexual display, don't begin to account for the astonishing variety and energy that the commonest birds exhibit. Is it possible that birds sing because they like to? This seemingly naive explanation is starting to look more and more like the truth." "In the tradition of classic works by Bernd Heinrich, Edward Abbey, and Terry Tempest Williams, Why Birds Sing is a lyric exploration of bird song that blends the latest scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form. Based on conversations with neuroscientists, ecologists, and composers, it is the first book to investigate why birds sing and how, and what effect their music has on other animals - particularly humans. Whether playing the clarinet with the white-crested laughing thrush in Pittsburgh, or jamming in the Australian winter breeding grounds of the Albert's lyrebird, Rothenberg journeys to the heart and soul of bird song."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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