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Why Birds Sing: A Journey Through the Mystery of Bird Song

Rothenberg, David

139 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 046507135X / ISBN 13: 9780465071357
Published by Basic Books, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2005
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

First printing. Musical analysis of bird song. Contains chapter notes. 258 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 8325

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Why Birds Sing: A Journey Through the ...

Publisher: Basic Books, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Book Type: Book

About this title


The astonishing variety and richness of bird song is both an aesthetic and a scientific mystery. Biologists have never been able to understand why bird song displays are often so inventive and why so many species devote so many hours to singing. The standard explanations, which generally have to do with territoriality and sexual display, don't begin to account for the astonishing variety and energy that the commonest birds exhibit. Is it possible that birds sing because they like to? This seemingly naïve explanation is starting to look more and more like the truth.In the tradition of classic works by Bernd Heinrich, Edward Abbey, and Terry Tempest Williams, Why Birds Sing is a lyric exploration of bird song that blends the latest scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form. Based on conversations with neuroscientists, ecologists, and composers, it is the first book to investigate why birds sing and how, and what effect their music has on other animals—particularly humans. Whether playing the clarinet with the white-crested laughing thrush in Pittsburgh, or jamming in the Australian winter breeding grounds of the Albert's lyrebird, Rothenberg journeys to the heart and soul of bird song. Why Birds Sing offers an intimate look at the most lovely of natural phenomena—with surprising insights about the origin of music.

About the Author:

David Rothenberg-philosopher and musician-is the author of Why Birds Sing , which has been published in six languages and turned into a TV documentary by the BBC; Sudden Music ; Hand's End ; and Always the Mountains . His articles have appeared in Parabola , Orion , The Nation , Wired , Dwell , Kyoto Journal , and Sierra . He is the founding editor of the Terra Nova journal and book series. Rothenberg is also a composer and jazz clarinetist who has released seven CDs, one of which, On the Cliffs of the Heart , was named one of the top ten releases of 1995 by Jazziz Magazine. He lives in Cold Spring, New York.

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