6 Apr 2009

Songs Sung Wild: Shepard, Coming Home to the Pleistocene, Ch.3, subsection 3

Paul Shepard

Coming Home to the Pleistocene

Chapter III: How We Once Lived

Subsection 3

Songs Sung Wild

Previously we saw how sights shape the child's sense of place, even for abstract, non-physical, and cosmic places. Hearing does this as well.
The Voice of life is made up of calls, drums, songs, musical instruments, moving wind and water; they tell us of the livingness of the world in a surprisingly coherent milieu. Vision discovers parts but sound links them. (40c)
Some consider all sound as music.
Nature is like a tuning fork: its space, time, and seasons are marked by an auditory pulse with its variations in echo and penetration, layers of the daily cycles of frog, bird, and insect calls. One sings in duets with the birds, cicadas, and waterfalls. (41a)
There is a culture on the Malay peninsula who stress their similarities to all parts of nature. They as well regard music as fundamental to life. (41b-c)

We lost our sense of nature's musical time from the last thousand years of living as slaves to the mechanical clock used to "create and control a schedule of workship and work."(41d) Bells chime a time abstracted from nature's cyclical repetitions. But once drums beat a rhythm synchronized with nature's cycles.

Shepard, Paul. Coming Home to the Pleistocene. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998.

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