Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blog:Peter Warshall’s lecture


Prompt A

From what I understood of Peter Warshall’s lecture, Two Billion Years of Animal Songs, I concluded that the majority of the lecture focuses on how various sounds are incorporated into daily life and how those sounds have evolved over the decades. For instance, Peter noted a time when he went to a concert and the musician opened a door that lead to the outside, listened to the sounds the cars were making and he then proceeded to play the same sounds he heard, using a piano. Peter’s example exemplified the idea that sound is more than just senseless noise, but various vibrations collaborating together to create one divine sound. I also think that if the musician was able to play the same sounds he heard the cars making, it implies that music can be found everywhere and a great piece of work can evolve from the most simplistic noises.

I found it interesting when Warshall defined white noise as sound without harmonics, but yet it holds all the beauty of sound. I took Warshall’s interpretation to mean that white noise is the basis that many sounds were created from and although white noise maybe not be concrete, once they are combined with different sounds, white noise can be taken to another level. Warshall may be leaning toward the idea that anyone and/or anything can create music, and this could connect with the title of the lecture, Two Billion Years of Animal Sounds, because all of these sounds have evolved over the years and they all just build upon one another. Starting from the first animals that roamed the earth to humans, the most basic noises have grown into something completely different and uniquely significant to a particular group of species. If a blue jay makes a certain sound and then a robin makes a similar sound, although both sounds may seem similar because they have evolved from one basic noise, they both have their own unique meaning to that particular species. Peter also made a connection between poetry and music and he saw how some poem have a certain pattern or rhyme scheme and this quality gives poetry a voice in it of itself. Poetry, animal, and human sounds, all have their own unique voices and mean entirely different things to each species, based on the way in which the sounds have grown and changed.

I enjoyed Peter’s comment at the end of the lecture on how sounds and various noises have allowed humans to stay connected with the past while still forging a future. I agree with his statement because change and growth are only effective if someone is able to learn from those who have lived prior to their time. I believe that the only way someone can move forward, is by knowing about their past and the environment they have evolved from. Although humans can still connect with past elements through various noises and sounds, humans have to keep changing and creating their own future.

Prompt B

I too think that Mary introduced an interesting topic of what “true” sounds really are and how people are supposed to know which sounds are in there “truest” form. Although I don’t think there is a specific answer, I feel that since this question is so open-ended that it adds to the intensity and mystery that music and various sounds can create. I think that Warshall challenges his listeners to go beyond the words of a song or the major theme of a piece of music and to really break it down into the most basic sounds and even though there may not be a sure way to know whether or not the sounds are in their truest forms, the beauty of music and poetry is that there are many elements that are left up to the listeners or the readers to interpret. I also feel that such an open range of interpretations adds to the depth of the composer because it exemplifies the composers’ talents and their ability to create something that numerous people view in their own special ways.

Another point that Mary brought up that I found interesting was her connection between society’s view on body images and how that connects to nature and species’ interactions. Although it seems unfair that the bigger frog eventually gets to mate with the other frog, at the same time, I feel that this situation relates to survival of the fittest and how during the earlier periods of life, an animal had to be strong if he wanted to survive, so animals really did not have a choice. So, somewhat disagree with Mary at this point because I don’t necessarily blame nature for the way society views body image because animals had no choice other than to become the strongest of their kind if they wanted to survive the longest. With that, I instead blame society on the way body images are viewed and the way in which people have manipulated the idea behind having a physically strong body and changed it from the idea of being a method of survival into a way of determining whether or not someone is physically attractive.

The idea that sounds and music open up another world of ideas connects in way with Stevens’ thought that there is a whole other world of sounds that humans are unable to hear. That idea is quite intriguing because it introduces another spectrum of ideas about sounds. I then wonder why humans can hear certain sounds and not others and of those sounds we can’t hear, obviously what do they sound like. I also wonder if it will ever be possible for humans to create a device that will allow people to hear these unknown sounds. But then again, if humans don’t know what these sounds really are, how do we know that we aren’t really hearing these sounds and just simply have no idea what we are actually listening to.

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