Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wet Clarinet

One more way music is an essential element of life. Not just for humans, but for other entities in the universe.
David Rothenberg writes about his attempts to communicate with beluga whales in Orion Magazine:
Over the years, I’ve come to think that animal sounds share more characteristics with music than with human language. Each phrase sung by birds, wolves, cicadas, or dolphins must be performed correctly to convey its message, but we humans can never translate exactly what is said. This has led me to believe that music might be a useful way to communicate with animals, and thus extend human art into the natural world, hoping for a connection, a response. I started testing this theory by playing with birds, and now I’m ready to try it with the most intricate musicians of the wild world: whales. Because they live underwater, there are additional challenges—such as how to do it without getting my clarinet all wet.

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