Listening to living things, the sounds of nature

“Walking in nature opens your ears to what’s around us”naturalistic audio does this Mark Namblard when he went to the forest to record the sounds of living things. Since childhood, the forest has been his favorite world. ” Dark bushes always attracted me. When I was a child, my parents took me and my brother to the great forest of Orléans every weekend to find out what was going on there. He hasn’t left me since. Today I am lucky to live in the Vosges, a department where the forests are very large and sometimes wild. In his latest book “Listening to Life” Published by Bayard, he takes us on a discovery of his profession, explains his recording techniques and offers to hear the sounds of nature collected during these walks, searching or walking very slowly to get close to creatures.

There are different sounds in nature, the sounds of animals, but also the sounds of plants. We hear tree-biting beetle larvae, micronectes, small insects chirping with their genitalia, a chorus of laughing frogs, Weddell seals, a group of human-like vocalists, a winter fish, a bird of several grams. the sound is a vocal prowess, with a melodious melody, black woodpecker and drumming, bat echoes, a mocking starling and a purely herbal sound, not to mention the crunch of a broomstick. and a dry crack, the sound of a frozen lake stretching and musical as if by magic turning into a “tiiiuuou.”

Voices of Mark Namblard must be discovered and listened to in his book “Listening to the Living” in Bayard.

Naturalistic audio

You could meet him one day by chance in the forest, on a walk in his favorite place, but also by a lake, or even on a mountain range. You’ll immediately notice the large parabolic microphone he uses to record nature sounds. Because his work is naturalistic sound and in his virtual network, captures living and non-living things to study the diversity that surrounds us.

But today, the effects of global warming and the destruction of biodiversity are also being felt. With the impoverishment of soundscapes. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find places that have survived our activities. Silence has become a precious rarity.

This Fernand Deroussenwho coined the term naturalistic audio in the early 2000s. They used to be called sound hunters, a name that was considered too aggressive for a profession that wanted to be the least intrusive and most respectful of its listeners. subjects.

Only ten sound naturalists in France

If many people in England are fond of birds, and therefore compelled to record them with a very ancient culture, There are only ten professional audionaturists and about a hundred amateurs in France. The first record of an animal other than man was made by a German. Ludwig Karl Cort In 1889, when he was only eight years old, we hear the song of an exotic bird, the white-crested shaman. There is no school to become an audio naturalist, of course you can learn the profession of a sound engineer, but you only learn the technique of indoor recording, the limitations are not the same in studios, concert halls, in the forest. Therefore, this profession is learned through experience and transfer.

Bioacoustics and ecoacoustics

There are two different types of researchers in this profession, bio-acoustics and eco-acoustics. Mark Namblard explains these two branches: “Bioacoustics will focus on specific species and try to understand what these animals are saying to each other through sounds, whereas counteracoustics have a systemic approach, they will be interested in the environment, the landscape, and therefore will listen to all the sounds that appear there, the interaction of sound atmospheres in these landscapes. influence and evolution. In this program, Mark Namblard explains that audiophysicists are more artists than scientists. Whom Bjorkwith whom he cooperated Jean-Claude Rocher, inevitable naturalist audio for his album Utopia.

Searching for silence

The main search for natural sound is silence: “Absolute silence does not exist even in the midst of nature. There are silences with different colors and textures, which is our main business. Then you should value them. But it is a problem for us to find places where we can work. This is even the main difficulty. They are still found in central France, especially in Loser, Creuz and Meuse. »

Multiple sound changes per type

Audio naturalist Fernand Deroussen said that, for example, we can have 400 different songs for the same birdthis is confirmed by Marc Namblard in this program: “It varies by species, but the variations are almost endless. Then there are the places. Places add voice to voices. The sound of the same animal singing in one of the conifers and then in another forest will not be exactly the same. »

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3 min

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