Friday, November 1, 2013

Distinctive Sounds

Hearing Voices

Lovely day

I’ve been doing some further reading in this new book by Bernie Krause, about soundscapes and how animals fit their parts in it. And, as usual, events around me and my ‘now space’ are combining to assist me in comprehending what he has written.

Glowing Josephs Coat

He describes how animals have developed their particular voices in order to fill a niche within the soundscape around them. This means that in the symphony of jungle sounds during a rainstorm, each animal, insects, and other life forms, can distinguish each others specific voice within the chorus.

“I heard that”

Yesterday, when I was at John Harrison's violin shop, he was expressing dissatisfaction with the way that his new viola sounded. It wasn’t meeting his standards for a professional, concert instrument.

Glued and clamped

Today, when I went to the shop, John was just clamping the viola back together, gluing the top on. He had removed it earlier, so that he could reshape the inside to help it express more viola richness in tone. When he tapped on the reshaped top, I could hear the difference.  A deeper more pronounced tone in the range of violas, was being produced from the tapping.

Dusting of snow on Shasta

The additional carving and shaping that John did today will separate the tone of that instrument from the other instruments in the orchestra, so one might clearly tell that sound is a viola. If it just sounds like a big violin then it isn’t right.

Bright colors of Fall

To the trained ear, there is also a big difference between each individual viola. That’s one of the reasons symphony musicians prefer to play quality, older string instruments, (or those made by today’s master makers), rather than a factory brand.

More Fall flora

Mass produced stringed instruments tend to sound okay, but are unlikely to add anything distinctive or particularly memorable to the sound of a good performance. 

If standard factory made stringed instruments were penguins, they would have trouble hearing the sound of their mates among all the other similar sounding penguins in the colony.

Note to self; Don't bother applying for a job as a joke writer, (and don't assume that everyone is aware that each penguin has it's own distinctive voice).

Today’s Video;

Voices In The Woods

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