Screech, Hoot, and Chirp: Natural Soundscapes and Human Musicality

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Donald A. Hodges, Professor Emeritus (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: The earth is not a silent planet. It is filled with an immense variety of geophanies (the sounds of inanimate nature such as waterfalls, thunderstorms, and wind) and biophanies (the sounds of animals). These sounds of nature are at once both familiar and mysterious. A group of scientists and musicians engaged in the BioMusic Project has gathered to consider the music of nature and the nature of music. The BioMusic mission statement is “To research musical sounds as a basic ingredient in the intuitive, nonverbal processes of communication, to expand our definition of music, to enlarge our view of its role in biodiversity and human development, and to create appropriate attitudinal changes” ( The BioMusic Project has a number of implications for music psychology as a number of questions are being considered: What is music? Do only humans have music or do some animals have music, too? Why are we (humans) musical? What are the similarities and differences between human music and animal soundmaking? What are the influences of biophonies and geophonies on human music? Conversely, what is the impact of anthrophony (human sounds, including music) on biophony? How do human sounds impact natural soundscapes? Answers to all these questions and many others have profound implications for music psychologists who are trying to explicate the phenomenon of the human musical experience.

Additional Information

Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition
Language: English
Date: 2004
geophanies, biophanies, BioMusic Project, human music, animal soundmaking, anthrophony

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