The Music Of Nature
Nature is musical. It has tempo, beat, harmony, melody and rhythm. It has patterns and creates atmosphere. Taking the time to really listen to the music of nature is worthwhile. The sounds of the forest, the ocean, the weather, the birds and the beasts are earth's orchestral gifts to us. The intonations of the natural world are complex yet exude a simple beauty. Making music with instruments is only an attempt to mimic or complete what nature already provides as sheet music. It is pure and spiritual. It lifts us from everyday life crowded with noise and makes us part of a larger and more peaceful symphony.
WIND - Listen to the wind. It makes awesome music in its different environments. The wind can whistle and the wind can moan. It can howl and whine in a dramatic way. It is much like a violin starting softly and reaching crescendo. Sometimes the wind's music is accompanied by the clanging sounds of wires against masts at the boat harbor or the snapping sounds of flags at its mercy. Sometimes it is more like a flute whistling through cracks and causing an eerie effect. The wind in the trees is gentle like a lullaby and it is soft like a piano in the meadow grasses.
RAIN - Zen master Morimoto Roshi once said "The sound of rain needs no translation". He was right. Rain has rhythm and it has an irregular beat. The sound of rain on the roof can be soothing and calming. Creating the sound of falling rain was once believed by several cultures to bring forth a storm. A hollow cactus, dried by the sun, was used. The spines were then removed and driven back into the cactus like nails. Pebbles or other small objects were added and the ends sealed off. When the cactus was turned, it sounded like rain. Music pours like rain and there is no more peaceful melody.
THUNDER - Thunder is percussion. It can be a low rumble or a sharp loud crack. It is the king of weather music commanding the skies like a conductor. Like drums are the backbone of a band, thunder is the awaited climax of a storm. It can be like the cymbals punctuating nature's rhythm. Greek philosopher Aristotle first speculated in the 3rd century BC that thunder was caused by the collision of clouds. It's easy to envision a celestrial orchestra building momentum to the point of crashing thunder.
SNOW - What makes snow musical is its softness of sound. It is like a silent movie in its quiet movement. But is snow silent? Listen and you can hear the patter of icy snow pellets on a tarp or the hiss of snow blowing across a field. You can hear the crunch of it under your feet. Mostly, in the stillness of falling snow, the sound you hear is like using a brush on a drum creating a swishing beat. There is nothing more beautiful than the metallic tinkle of crisp snowflakes as they make their music through the trees.
BIRDS - Birds are the divas of the natural music world. They warble, whistle and sing their hearts out proudly. Some birds' arias are well-known and recognizable. Birdsong runs the gamut from opera-like performance to ditties to hard rock (think bluejays). The musical nature of birds has for centuries been a source of inspiration to classical composers as well as other music genres. Some birds are masters of mimic and can imitate the calls of 20 different species of other birds and also forest sounds they hear. Music has no better teacher than our avian friends. To hear some bird calls check out this link - http://www.enature.com/birding/audio.asp
INSECTS - Unless they are in the house, the songs of insects are often taken for granted. Yet they provide the background for nature's concert like a violin. Crickets are the first insect that comes to mind when thinking about insect song. But there are several species that emit melodic sound. They are the instrumentals to nature's orchestra. They are God's tiny gifts to the harmony of the earth. Bee's buzz and mosquitoes whine but it is the crickets, katydids and cicadas that compose. Here are some sounds you may have forgotten - http://www.songsofinsects.com/
FROGS - The sounds of toads and frogs are numerous yet we rarely credit what we hear as coming from the mostly unseen amphibian. Bull frogs are the kings, the tuba you can't ignore. Many frog songs are like a lament both sorrowful and sweet. In some environments, they compliment each other creating a tempo in the night music. Frogs whistle and cry. They trill and they bark. All of it adds up to a free concert to appreciate. Here is a link to some wonderful frog song - http://www.leaps.ms/soundpage.htm
OTHER ANIMALS - The world is populated with so many unique creatures. Each one of them has its purpose in the natural realm. The howl of the wolf or coyote keeps us in touch with wilderness. The mooing of cows on the farm or the chatter of a busy squirrel add variety and interest to earth's wonderful recital. Even the fishes of the oceans make music. The underwater world is pretty vocal and many species have a unique song. http://www.nature.nps.gov/sound/gallery.cfm
OCEAN - Ocean waves and sound waves have a lot in common though sound waves are harder to see. There are crests and troughs in both. They are the energy of motion. Classical composers like Chopin were inspired by the ocean waves' constant caress of the shore. The pulse of the tides is as much alive as the notes of a piano. The ocean is the maestro that calms and soothes yet possesses enough awesome power to startle and surprise.
BROOKS - Writer Robert Brault once said, " If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines." The beauty of brook music is in its continuity. As it murmurs and bubbles over rocks and stones, it soothes like a harp and makes the forest a living place. A babbling brook captures the essence of musical composition. It is dynamic, rhythmic and melodic. A brook chatters over stony passes in little trebles and sharps.
WATERFALLS - Waterfalls can be thunderous and booming. They demand attention like the roll of the drums. They can be gentle and graceful like the flute of an angel. Waterfalls are an art form in every way. They are the classical in music, the Beethovan of the natural world. In the presence of them, the stress and routine of life disappear. Their awesome power is not only visual but auditory and they are the sound of the music of the gods. http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/index.html
RIVERS - Music and rivers have much in common. They compliment each other. They both flow through time nourishing life along the way. Rivers have sustained us throughout history but they also inspire us. We sing of it and in doing so reflect the nature of humanity. Rivers are contemporary as well as nostalgic. Their music is what they bring forth in our hearts in their mightiness. Rivers are timeless like good music. Heraclitus of Ephesus once said "You can never step into the same river: for new waters are always flowing on to you".
"Nature's music is never over; her silences are pauses, not conclusions." Mary Webb