Bug Music
David Rothenberg
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Buy *Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise* by David Rothenbergo nline

Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise
David Rothenberg
288 pages
April 2014
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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When a rock and roll song lyric suggests, "Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees," it may be about more than the amorous connections between boys and girls. It may be about the very music itself. In simpler terms, did we inherit our sense of rhythm and even our notion of dance from the insects? Maybe. Certainly author David Rothenberg thinks so.

In his book, he makes the case for the link between human and animal sounds. A professor of philosophy and jazz musician - a true bee bopper - the author has brought together science, biology, music theory and his own insightful and boundary-breaking ideas in proving his ideas.

At first blush you think, "What on earth does a cicada have to do with the drum groove of my favorite Bon Jovi song?" Then you start reading this and poring over the presented facts and postulations, and you start wavering in your position and wonder, "What if?"

Here, the author pleads his case:

This journey will take us from the tiny chirps of creatures that might just be simple enough to be like the meticulous machines that science often wants animals to be... Certainly birds and whales, for those who spend time with them, are very much individuals and not predictable representatives of species who behave the way they are supposed to. But insects/ they are supposed to make sense as a swarm, to overwhelm us in the millions, and their music has great group qualities as well. They respond reliably, like little computer routines, waking up to sounds and silences, filling in the spaces between. They clearly listen from one species to another - something birds, whales, and even humans are not so used to doing.
This is a fun book and filled with Rothenberg's passionate cries that insect rhythms have influenced our own sense of groove. It's a tough sell but he does a great job. The main thing is, deep in our hearts we want to believe he's right. Who doesn't want to believe that the drum fill from your favorite Aerosmith song wasn't somehow influenced by the chirps from a grasshopper 10 million years ago? I know I want to believe.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2014

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