Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise
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Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise

3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In the spring of 2013 the cicadas in the Northeastern United States will yet again emerge from their seventeen-year cycle—the longest gestation period of any animal. Those who experience this great sonic invasion compare their sense of wonder to the arrival of a comet or a solar eclipse. This unending rhythmic cycle is just one unique example of how the pulse and noise of...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I borrowed this book from the library, but I did hope to learn more about the music of the insects that surround us.

I have to admit that I was hoping for a more anecdotal and less scientific account, but this book offers a mixture of both. It's an entertaining book and when my eyes weren't glassed over by the numerous sonograms, graphs, diagrams, and musical scores, I was very engaged by the narrative.

I learned quite a bit, but I wish that a CD was included wi...more
Linda Puente
I very seldom read a hundred or more pages of a book and wonder why I am reading it. This one I did, but there were just enough tidbits of odd information to keep me turning the pages.

The book begins just as I expected it would, explaining how, when, and where insects produce their songs. Interspersed in that information are snippets of poetry, ancient and modern. History, poetry, and bugs -- three of my interests all in one book.

But then the author began introducing some rather weird characters...more
Margaret Sankey
Having lived in Alabama with very loud bugs at night, I appreciate that in any pre-modern soundscape, insect life would be a significant track. Rothenberg, a jazz musician, examines how insects have influenced human aesthetics--folklore that traces the stages of a human life through cicada appearances, Chinese poetry about insects, Asian connoisseurs of fighting crickets and their songs, the scientists who transcribe bug music, compositions like "Flight of the Bumble Bee" and the beautiful harmo...more
I love insects, I love music. I'm a scientist & an artist (writer/musician). This is great subject matter, and the author traveled the world doing his research. He stuck to the basics, stayed focused and did a decent job of covering the insects he focuses on.

However, he derides scientists throughout the book. He revels in the technology and advancements of science but doesn't care much for the people, taking a dim view of them, and mentioning as much constantly.

Some of his science isn't the...more
Bugsongs. How could I resist? Some interesting thoughts on cicadas and crickets to start out, but then it meanders around with the author's favorite insect-influenced music and his own adventures playing music with bugs, and it's all rather friendly, like a nice stoned hippie telling you stories, but he kind of goes on and on.
Shel Schipper
This was a fascinating account of how insect songs and rhythms may have influenced man's development of music. Includes thoughts on the slow 13 and 17 year rhythms of cicadas, the rapid call and response of insects in search of love, and insect songs where they adjust their timing to one another like musicians in an orchestra. This was fun and interesting.
Memorable Quote:
"We are all connected through the vast music of life."
Two stars = "It was ok" I liked the beginning and the end, but the middle was a slog through a lot of technical language and charts that I didn't really understand. That said, once I reached the end I was intrigued enough to want to find the CD that's supposed to accompany the book!
Kris Rude
I had to quit reading after one chapter. I heard about the book on NPR and love Diane Ackerman so hoped this would be in the same vein. The idea was great and locusts are fascinating, but the writing was just plain lacking. Very disappointing.
Very good as Rothenberg considers not only the bugs in depth, but also music and the nature of time. Very enthusiastic about what he's writing about and he passes that on.
Science For The People
Featured on Science for the People show #230 on September 13, 2013, during an interview with author David Rothenberg. http://www.scienceforthepeople.ca/epi...
Kurt Gottschalk
Enjoyable read but his previous books about bird and whale songs have more grist. Listen to my interview with the author here: http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/5...
The story is very chatty and personal and fun and informative. I didn't finish it though.
Cindy Fields
Interesting account of locusts...writing otherwise difficult to follow...
Jul 05, 2013 Sarah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Interview on Diane Rehm show 7/5/13
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