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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Soundscapes

Celebrating Soundscapes

Posted on in News
'Cacophany' is a word we all know, but how about biophony (the totality of sounds produced by animals), geophony (the sounds produced by water, wind and other non-living forces), anthrophony (all sounds produced by humans) and its subset technophony (machine sounds)?

These terms come up in an interesting academic article calling for more research into the geographical variation in sounds, which, needless to say, often come from birds. In ‘The silence of biogeography’ biologist Mark Lomolino and two colleagues note that bioacoustics (study of animal vocalisation and sound perception) has expanded into the geography of sound, by looking at how soundscapes – the collection of sounds that characterise a particular landscape – vary from place to place and over time.

Soundscapes matter greatly in my book Where Song Began. In the very first paragraph I mention 19th century claims that Australian birds could not sing, and rather than dismissing this as chauvinism I suggest they have some validity:

“Australia does sound harsher than your average field or forest overseas. Like a person vomiting was how Gould described the call of the little wattlebird, a large honeyeater. The great bowerbird’s hissing is described in one 2001 guide as a cross between tearing paper and violent vomiting.”

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  • rick sabbatini says #
    Great post! The little wattlebird call is one of my favourites, it's interesting to consider that it is a "go away, this is my tre