Soundtrack Posted on March 28, 2011

Music permeates every television programme. It tinkles and swoons and crashes (often drowning the accompanying words) following some unknown law of appropriateness. What authority decrees what music, on what instruments, familiar or new-minted, jaunty or drowsy, is to colour our perception or guide our mood as we watch the pictures?

The twinkling galaxies and molten nebula of Wonders of the Universe come with properly portentous orchestral drama in one sequence; spooky pop in another. The modest share of teletime devoted to gardening calls for sweet airs or inconsequential doodling. My question? What background music do you envisage for your own garden? Is it Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony or Whistle while you Work? Is it Greig or Gounod, Mozart or Mendelssohn?

I know what my choice is for mine: birdsong. I have been sadly inattentive to it in the past. I still worry whether it’s a robin or a wren, a blackbird or a thrush that raises my spirits and unites me with the morning. And now I realize that it’s getting late; I should have paid more attention while I could; age claims our hearing, and the dawn chorus no longer wakes me. I struggle to tell what birds are singing in what trees; where once their cheeps and trills and whistles penetrated my soul I struggle to follow them. When I get a hearing aid it will be to listen properly to my garden.

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The International Dendrology Society (IDS)