ANIMALS The Book To Look … (No. 35)

Posted by Axel Thorer on 29. August 2013

How insects gave us the soundtrack of our existence

Bug Music

The cover of Rothenberg's book

According to Socrates, who journeyed to the countryside outside of Athens to hear their siren song, cicadas were the re-incarnation of human poets and singers. In his latest book, „Bug Music“ (St. Martin’s Press, 288 pages, US$ 26.99), David Rothenberg continues his exploration of the relationship between human and animal music. With the result, that in listening to cicadas, as well as other humming, clicking und thrumming insects, he considers the radical notion that we humans got our idea of rhythm, synchronisation, and dance from the world of insect sounds. Even more: Insect sounds have served as a soundtrack for our species through the millions of years over which we evolved! The book is more than just written words: The classically trained jazz clarinetist Rothenberg is driven to engage musically with his subjects, jamming with the resounding beats of cicadas, crickets, katydids, leafhoppers, and water bugs. Sessions from their collaborative endeavor have been recorded an an accompanying CD. What a great theory and and even greater proof …

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