Friday, May 27

The sound of the forest on your mobile | The traveler


To describe a hoot, whistle or whisper, there are onomatopoeias and analogies. But before the lexicon, what is needed is to know and know how to be in nature. Carlos de Hita does with sound what many columnists do with life: he hunts down a detail and tells a story. “A rain that soaks and does not sound, beyond an imperceptible murmur of millions of drops that fall from the trees. It is the horizontal rain that distills persistent mist, the air turned into water ”, is the sound macrophotography that the sound engineer and author of Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain (Editorial Anaya Touring) Capture of the lime forest and water ravine on the Canary Island of La Palma. His is a stereo book. By scanning QR codes with a mobile phone, the reader can listen to what he reads. These visual and acoustic recordings are carried out equipped with microphones and a digital recorder. The closer you are to the source, the more your sonograms look. A graphic representation of sound contained in 74 QR codes and abstract drawings of the tones and volume of the intricacies of a forest ridge.

Carlos de Hita absorbs with his micro even the silence of the beech trees of Liébana, in Cantabria

The distance is silent to the sound. Even the white silence of the Cantabrian beech forests of Liébana absorbs his mic mounted on a parabolic reflector. A contraption reminiscent of the inverted cone worn by some dogs after having undergone surgery. Carlos de Hita (Madrid, 1959) knows that a snowflake is almost mute, but the fall of many of them, added to the creaking of the broken branches, the hissing and hammering of blackbirds, the throat of a great tit and, In the background, the clicking of a band of red-billed choughs is a roar. De Hita is the Miguel Delibes of sound waves. He records and describes the sound that surrounds him; the Valladolid novelist wrote about life in the countryside. One listens, the other listened, the dialogues of the earth with and between its inhabitants. What they do and did is supported by a rich, simple and rooted lexicon. His words sound like an extinct world, an ecosystem populated and flown over by birds that bear in their names the onomatopoeias of the sounds they emit: the turtledoves coo tur tur, owls scare with their this this, scops seem English when pronouncing aut aut and the finches whistle pin pin. Vocabulary that emanates from the attention people used to pay to things around them. Creative and playful people, like the voice of a blue tit bird, are the ones that gave its name to the contradictory toponymy of the Valsaín forest, on the north slope of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Carlos de Hita lives, knows and recites this valley of Segovian pines: “From Navalparaíso to the Valdeinfierno stream there is only a stretch. An excursion from Buenos Aires and the Sabrosa slope to the Reventón port and the Quebrantaherraduras pass. Passing through the Plains of Accident, the Corrals of the Desperate, the streams of Fear and the Devil’s Soul ”.

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QR codes of the book 'Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain'.  If you scan them with your mobile, you can hear the Garajonay National Park, on the island of La Gomera.
QR codes of the book ‘Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain’. If you scan them with your mobile, you can hear the Garajonay National Park, on the island of La Gomera.

In the woods, open-air concert halls, invisible tenors are hidden: wolves, lynxes, grouse and bears. Howls, meows, cackles and grunts not always possible to hear. Without patience, there is no microphone or recorder to pick them up for playback. Instead, it is easier to attend as a public the bellowing in the Cabañeros raña, in Ciudad Real. Deafening, intertwined roars of male deer in heat. Loud discussions and horns in front of the females who cough harshly to hide.

QR codes of the book 'Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain'.  If you scan them with your mobile you can hear the Zilbeti beech forest, in Navarra.
QR codes of the book ‘Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain’. If you scan them with your mobile you can hear the Zilbeti beech forest, in Navarra.

De Hita spends more time assembling everything recorded in his studio than outdoors. Under the sky, in the open, between trees and rocks, it has been on the lookout for 30 years for hums, melopeas, crocites and any sound that propagates in those wooded soundboards that are the forests. The inhabitants of the same are at the same time musicians, instruments and suppliers: firewood, charcoal, wood and cork. Navarra and Gipuzkoa share the Sierra de Aralar and the Sakana Valley, floating forests and shipwrecks. With the wood of its oaks, white pines, elms, holm oaks, beeches and firs, keels, rods, elbows, frames, varengas, oars and the mastelery of the ships that sailed the seas were built when Spain was what a few today yearn for. And the ends were made with hemp. From the soft surface of the cork oaks of the Cádiz mountain of La Almoraima comes the cork with which the Catalan winemakers make the corks of the cava bottles.

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QR codes of the book 'Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain'.  If you scan them with your mobile you can hear the Muniellos forest, in Asturias.
QR codes of the book ‘Visual and sound journey through the forests of Spain’. If you scan them with your mobile you can hear the Muniellos forest, in Asturias.

Each forest has its sounds and moments. The drumming of the woodpecker percussionist, a thunder that explodes in the sky and rumbles down the slopes filling all the spaces and nooks, or the friction of antlers against branches and drops of water dripping down the leaves are some of the great successes of nature. They are strident, fast, liquid, grinding sounds and many other adjectives. The darkness, humidity and coolness of the atmosphere facilitate its spread. Also the fog makes everything sound better, muffled and silent. A choral concert, out of tune, out of tune and without a baton that gives entrance to the orchestra. Noise that becomes music, increasingly monotonous, to the ears of naturalists such as De Hita, Joaquín Araújo or the late Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente.

Carlos de Hita reflects while listening. The result is a book in which the pages howl, howl, chatter and make hundreds of other sounds. When we close our eyes, the voices of nature place us in a stereo space that we see by hearsay. Without the existence of the forests that he has recorded, neither his book could have been made nor would we breathe.

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