The astonishing richness of birdsong is both an aesthetic and a scientific mystery. Evolutionists have never been able to completely explain why birdsong is so inventive and why many species devote so many hours to singing. The standard explanations of defending territories and attracting mates don't begin to account for the variety and energy that the commonest birds exhibit. Is it possible that birds sing because they like to? This seemingly naive explanation is starting to look more and more like the truth.
Why Birds Sing is a lyric exploration of birdsong that blends the latest scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form. Drawing on conversations with neuroscientists, ecologists, and composers, it is the first book to investigate the elusive question of why birds sing and what their song means to both avian and human ears.
Whether playing his clarinet with the whitecrested laughing thrush in Pittsburgh, or jamming in the Australian winter breeding grounds of the Albert's lyrebird, Rothenberg immerses himself in the heart and soul of birdsong. He approaches the subject as a naturalist, philosopher, musician, and investigator. An intimate look at the most lovely of natural phenomena, and now with a CD with over one hour of music and birdsong, Why Birds Sing is a beautifully written exploration of a phenomenon that's at once familiar and profoundly alien.
"With a musician's ear and a poet's heart, [Rothenberg] seeks to describe, more than decode, the nearly boundless richness of birdsong's beauty." (Discover)
"Why Birds Sing is one of those ramblings that transforms one of those taken-for-granted things--birds' chirping--into let's-think-about-it-again stuff, and a worthwhile read on a summer day." (New York Times)
"Darwin said that beauty must be loved by nature to be found so often. Rothenberg, a philosophy teacher and jazz musician, embarks on a playful, exuberant, intellectual journey to unravel the baffling mystery of why and how birds sing, taking us from ancient Sanskrit texts to cutting-edge neuroscience.... Rothenberg stalks the mystery brilliantly." (Los Angeles Times)
"Rothenberg delves heartily into the lovely and strange structures of bird songs, and finds enough syllables, rhythms and syncopations to fill a jazz encyclopedia." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"This book is exuberant! Exuberantly intellectual, exuberantly alive. And when you are finished with it the world will seem more alive as well, which is an awful lot for one book to accomplish." (Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home)...Continua