In the spring of 2013 the cicadas in the Northeastern United States will yet again emerge from their seventeen-year cycle - the longest gestation period of any animal. Those who experience this great sonic invasion compare their sense of wonder to the arrival of a comet or a solar eclipse. This unending rhythmic cycle is just one unique example of how the pulse and noise of insects has taught humans the meaning of rhythm, from the whirr of a cricket's wings to this unfathomable and exact seventeen-year beat.
In listening to cicadas, as well as other humming, clicking, and thrumming insects, Bug Music is the first book to consider the radical notion that we humans got our idea of rhythm, synchronization, and dance from the world of insect sounds that surrounded our species over the millions of years over which we evolved. Completing the trilogy he began with Why Birds Sing and Thousand Mile Song, David Rothenberg explores a unique part of our relationship with nature and sound - the music of insects that has provided a soundtrack for humanity throughout the history of our species. Bug Music continues Rothenberg's in-depth research and spirited writing on the relationship between human and animal music, and it follows him as he explores insect influences in classical and modern music, plays his saxophone with crickets and other insects, and confers with researchers and scientists nationwide.
This engaging and thought-provoking book challenges our understanding of our place in nature and our relationship to the creatures surrounding us, and makes a passionate case for the interconnectedness of species.
"The author's wide-ranging musical interests - from Renaissance madrigals and John Cage to electronica and katydids - together with his playful, almost romantic approach to the subject helps engage general readers, balancing the book's more technical material." - Publishers Weekly
"Not for everyone, but adventurous audiophiles will catch Rothenberg's bug for insect-music appreciation." - Kirkus
"Bug Music is a cool groove of biology, music, and human culture from an interspecies musician and scholar fully in tune with nature. It is engaging, wide-ranging, and profound in suggesting that the thrum of insects is a primordial musical beat. This book is for everyone who has ever marveled at nature or delighted in the sounds of her insect choirs, and especially for those who have done neither." - John Marzluff, author of Dog Days, Raven Nights and Gifts of the Crow
"I loved this book. It's inspiring, fascinating, and funny. Bug Music is a foray into another world." - Bernd Heinrich, author of Mind of the Raven and Winter World
"Fabulous entomological jazz: David Rothenberg draws together disparate strands of inspiration and writes a new song, full of unexpected riffs and harmonies. Bug Music is a thought-provoking celebration of the acoustic bonds between humans and our insect cousins." - David George Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen
"Charmingly conversational, filled with wondrous facts and touching personal reflections, Bug Music will make you think differently about bugs, about music, and about the intersection of the two." - Marlene Zuk, author of Sex on Six Legs and Paleofantasy
"A veritable tour de force of delightful and provocative meanderings that circle about, crisscross, and combine to illuminate the primal connection between insect sound and the human sense of rhythm, music, and noise." - Lang Elliott, musicofnature.com, author of The Songs of Insects
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Philosopher and jazz musician David Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the author of Survival of the Beautiful, Why Birds Sing, and Thousand Mile Song. He lives in the Hudson Valley, New York.
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