Loree Griffin Burns: Insect Sounds
From: A Life in Books
May 29, 2012 at 12:02PM
Remember this record? Well, I finally had a chance to hear it, thanks to my friend Doris, who actually owns a record player.
(Thank you, Doris!)
This track list will give you an idea how cool the recording was, but only an idea. It doesn’t tell you, for example, that the commentary accompanying the insect sounds occasionally included nifty experiments. Like the one where the sound recorder, Albro Gaul, set up an audio experiment to prove to listeners that wasps don’t fly in the dark.
Here’s how it worked …
Mr. Gaul put a wasp’s nest in a cage rigged with a microphone. At bedtime, he turned out the lights in the room and went to sleep. The wasps appeared to go to sleep, too, because the buzzing their wings make in flight settled down.
In the middle of the night, Mr. Gaul got up and turned the lights on. The hive remained quiet. So he slapped the cage until the wasps woke up. How could you tell when they were awake? Buzzing. Lots of loud and angry buzzing.
Then Mr. Gaul turned the lights out, and the buzzing stopped. Because, apparently, wasps don’t fly in the dark.
When he turned the lights on again, the loud, angry buzzing resumed.
Again, lights off: silence.
Again, lights on: buzzing.
This was by far my favorite track on the album. Although the “six-footed cadence” of a viceroy butterfly walking was pretty cool, too.