Biophony: Music of the Wild


Friday, March 16, 2012

Biologist Bernie Krause believes animals communicate with each other on their own frequency, and when you put all those frequencies together, they interact in a way not unlike a symphony orchestra. He calls it “biophony.”

“I was sitting here listening to these sounds and it occurred to me that these sounds were kind of symphonic,” Krause says about one of his first research trips to Kenya. “All of the insect voices, and the mammal voices, and the frog voices … all of these critters had found channels to vocalize in without their voices being masked by other creatures.”

Jill DuBoff talked to Krause about his research in the wild, and got an even wilder story about his pre-scientist days as a 1960s music pioneer. 

Krause is the author of The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places.

(Originally aired August 29, 2008)


Listener Challenge: Name that Sound

Bernie Krause made a recording of this mystery creature: what is it?

    Music Playlist
  1. Pavane, Op.50
    Artist: Gabriel Fauré
    Album: Fauré - Pelléas et Mélisande ~ Dolly ~ Après un rêve ~ Pavane ~ Elégie / Hunt, BSO, Ozawa
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. It's Oh So Quiet
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    Album: Post
    Label: Elektra/WEA
    Purchase: Amazon


Jill Du Boff

Comments [2]


Music is math and its amazing how they express themselves.

Check out the November 1997 Discover magazine article titled "Quantum Honeybees"

Mar. 20 2012 12:50 PM

Mr Krause is right on with his bird sounds theory of frequencies and evolution. there has been a good deal of subsequent research to support this, especially now, in these days of disappearing multiple species. there are many (mostly technology-related) reasons besides logging that contribute to the extinction of species and extinguishing of bird sounds. sad but true. it would behoove us to hark and act now, as well as to appreciate the nature sounds listening we still have.

Mar. 18 2012 10:44 PM

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