This is a short essay that I wrote as part of a project for my music teacher from whom I learn Classical Indian music.
Music and nature are deeply connected in many aspects.As a child growing up, I have been exposed to different styles and genres of music as well as unique places in nature and the wilderness. Having been exposed to both worlds in my own little way, I see parallels between the two.
The earliest forms of music were firstly created by readily available objects in nature itself; such as rocks and sticks to create percussion instruments. The sounds that were heard by those who created these instruments were probably those in nature, from bird and other animal calls to raindrops, waterfalls and the rustling of leaves. In fact there were ancient instruments that attempted to imitate such sounds, for example, the rainstick, a long hollow tube partially filled with small pebbles/beans and that has small pins or thorns arranged helically on its inside surface. When the stick is turned 180 degrees, the pebbles fall to the other end of the tube, making a sound reminiscent of raindrops. It was invented and played in belief that it could bring about rainstorms.
If we take classical music, instruments like the violin, cello or guitar or even our own voices, create lovely sounds individually. A solo violinist can play compositions with extreme precision and perfection. But there is something different and awe-inspiring when all these individual components and players come together in an orchestra ensemble, guided by the conductor. The sounds created by an orchestra have the strong power to move audiences and make them experience the emotions felt by the composer of the piece. This concept is not very far from the harmony in nature. A little bee or bird may seem insignificant, but are actually playing an important role in creating the “orchestra” which is actually an ecosystem.
Music teaches us to listen to the every little note, the pitch and frequency created by our own voices or the instruments we have created. It is those listening skills we need when we go out into the forest or the field, to discover and explore the beauty of the natural world.
Music is not only created in the man-made world, but beyond it. If we did not listen, we may not have been able to see a woodpecker pecking against the trunk of the tree or the otter frolicking in the river nearby. Especially now we need to listen to nature more. We will not only unravel a whole new world and discover new species but be able to hear its call for help that we need to protect and preserve it for the future generations.