Eco-musicology is the study of the inter-relativity of music, culture and nature. “Ecosystems aren’t quiet. Animals make sound, humans make sounds. Directly related to ecology is the sound of the ecosystem itself. You are going to learn about the ecosystem from their sounds,” he explained.
He cited the example of the reforestation projects in many parts of USA, to show how sound could help us understand the health of the ecosystem. “The reforested area looks like a conventional forest but the sounds of many bird species are missing from it because the planted trees are not of the same species as before,” he explained.
Similarly, the sounds of animals form a part of the ecosystem and hold significance in gauging the sense of time, sense of transition in seasons, and so on, especially for the indigenous people. The indigenous music incorporating the sounds of nature reflects the direct relationship between man and nature, and the interconnectedness of life in that particular ecosystem. But today these ecosystems are getting depleted because of human arrogance, greed and callousness.
In the course of his research, Dr Seeger spent two years in the Amazon region. He found that the tribals do not have love songs, songs of protest or lullabies for babies. According to those indigenous people, “We humans don’t make music, we steal it from nature.” For tribals, sounds from nature chalk out their way of living.
Through eco-musicology one gets to understand the various ways in which the most primal relationship between man and nature survives. Eco-musicology, by keenly studying the relationship between humans, animals and other elements of nature through sound, is striving to act as a window that might help bring back lost ecosystems.
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