Song for Pond Dwellers
Listening to what’s beneath the surface is one of life’s little pleasures. Especially when the surface is a glassy pond with unique sonic vibrations in the shallows below.
Listening to what’s beneath the surface is one of life’s little pleasures. Especially if the surface is a glassy pond that harbors unique sonic vibrations in the shallows below. And now, thanks to David Rothenberg’s ingenious Aquabeat Hydrophone, any intrepid sound artist can capture the quirky doings in their aquatic neighborhood.
Having heard maestro Rothenberg’s underwater improvisations, I couldn’t resist heading to a local pond near my place, Hydrophone in tow, along with a handheld Zoom gizmo to capture whatever sounds I could dredge up.
Lesson #1 - NEVER drop a submarine microphone into rushing water while wearing headphones! At least, not if you value your hearing. Take it from me, no matter how bad your tinnitus is, you’ll be in for a very unpleasant surprise when the microphone hits a rock and bounces a thunderous CRACK off your poor eardrums.
Lesson #2 - There’s more than meets the eye where ponds are concerned. After finding a suitable shallow pool, I flung the mic into a patch of water weeds and was quickly confronted with a panoply of subtle, unidentifiable sounds. Once the muck settled, I spied a group of tiny minnows taking a keen interest in the Hydrophone. Not being versed in the finer points of pond drama, I couldn’t help but wonder if the minnows were players in the symphony of their watery world. Of course they were!
Having spent way too much time in recording studios during the past four decades, it was only natural to incorporate the pond sounds into a somewhat structured piece. I’ll let the listener judge the results, but the gig definitely won’t end with just one song. So many ponds, not enough time.
Lesson #4 - Everyone has a part to play in the music of life, even pond dwellers.
Note: You can see David Rothenberg’s Aquabeat Hydrophone at IndieGogo. David is one of America’s most innovative musician/philosophers, often found playing his clarinet with cicadas, whales, and nightingales. Check him out on Bandcamp.
Ned Mudd resides in Alabama where he engages in interspecies communication, rock collecting, and frequent cloud watching. He is the author of The Adventures of Dink and DVD (a space age comedy). Some of Ned’s best friends are raccoons.
We hope you’re enjoying Juke. Subscribe for free to receive new posts by email. To receive special member-only posts and benefits, please consider supporting our writers with a monthly or yearly paid subscription.