Nightingales in Berlin: searching for the perfect sound

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Average Rating
Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2019.
Call Number
Central New Nonfiction
781.17 ROTHE
Due Oct 19, 2019
A celebrated figure in myth, song, and story, the nightingale has captivated the imagination for millennia, its complex song evoking a prism of human emotions,—from melancholy to joy, from the fear of death to the immortality of art. But have you ever listened closely to a nightingale’s song? It’s a strange and unsettling sort of composition—an eclectic assortment of chirps, whirrs, trills, clicks, whistles, twitters, and gurgles. At times it is mellifluous, at others downright guttural. It is a rhythmic assault, always eluding capture. What happens if you decide to join in? As philosopher and musician David Rothenberg shows in this searching and personal new book, the nightingale’s song is so peculiar in part because it reflects our own cacophony back at us. As vocal learners, nightingales acquire their music through the world around them, singing amidst the sounds of humanity in all its contradictions of noise and beauty, hard machinery and soft melody. Rather than try to capture a sound not made for us to understand, Rothenberg seeks these musical creatures out, clarinet in tow, and makes a new sound with them. He takes us to the urban landscape of Berlin—longtime home to nightingale colonies where the birds sing ever louder in order to be heard—and invites us to listen in on their remarkable collaboration as birds and instruments riff off of each other’s sounds. Through dialogue, travel records, sonograms, tours of Berlin’s city parks, and musings on the place animal music occupies in our collective imagination, Rothenberg takes us on a quest for a new sonic alchemy, a music impossible for any one species to make alone. In the tradition of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Invention of Nature, Rothenberg has written a provocative and accessible book to attune us ever closer to the natural environment around us.  
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Physical Desc:
179 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), color map ; 24 cm.
9780226467184, 022646718X


Includes bibliographical references and index.
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APA Citation (style guide)

Rothenberg, D. (2019). Nightingales in Berlin: searching for the perfect sound. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Rothenberg, David, 1962-. 2019. Nightingales in Berlin: Searching for the Perfect Sound. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Rothenberg, David, 1962-, Nightingales in Berlin: Searching for the Perfect Sound. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Rothenberg, David. Nightingales in Berlin: Searching for the Perfect Sound. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2019. Print.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Last Sierra Extract TimeSep 28, 2019 04:05:34 PM
Last File Modification TimeSep 29, 2019 04:55:21 AM
Last Grouped Work Modification TimeSep 29, 2019 04:52:47 AM

MARC Record

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5050 |a This bird is ruined for us -- The Sharawaji effect -- Beginnings of time -- Orderly and disorderly -- The place of sound -- Called most beautiful -- Berlin longs for Berlin -- Eleven paths to animal music -- Celebrated by all.
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