Birdsong in E-Fat Major

As many of you know, I love writing about philosophy and spirituality–it permeates my work as a novelist and essayist.   My graduate education and career choices also bear out my stubborn penchant for the Big Questions.   But  you might not know that before all this romance with philosophy, I was a saxophonist–a serious one.  I majored in music performance in college and even played a concerto with the symphony.  Such memories of stage fright! 

Recently, I discovered an award-winning Australian composer who teaches in Malaysia–and who happens to also possess a passion for philosophy, so much so that he wrote an entire dissertation on how  A.N. Whitehead inspired his foray into composing with birdsong. I think of Dr. Robert Burrell as an eco-artist, a philosophical musician, a Whiteheadian who tries to capture the feel of a “becoming” universe  with his music.  If you click on the link below, you can read what I have to say, what Emily Dickinson has to say, what Whitehead has to say, and most importantly, what Robert Burrell has to say.   And if you don’t like reading, try doing away with the words and just listen to the beauty of the Grey Butcherbird co-mingle with human instruments. It  will make you a philosopher. . . . .







3 thoughts on “Birdsong in E-Fat Major

  1. Well never would have guessed that side of you.  Do you still play?  I still want to write and take photos but it seems the everyday chores with the dog and just keeping things clean and getting materials for Lisa to cook – it all dominates our lives.  My plan (and hope) is that when we return in January sans Sunshine, I will be able to keep things clean more easily, thus giving me time to work on my writing – plus plans to have the computer fixed while in the states (and bringing back a small, lightweight computer as a back up.

    We don’t hear much of anything from CBV and I don’t know if that is bad or good.  The saying no news is good news may hold true here as well.

    The wind never seems to stop this year and we are so sick of it.  We have to bundle up with hats and scarfs and layers of sweat shirts or coats to just go out.  Once down town it is usually warm and calm, but up here – mercy it is windy.

    Miss talking to you each week and laughing over stuff that happens.  Ecuador is making us too serious.  We need a break and are now counting the weeks till departure – and after two months there we will probably be itching to come back. 😉

    Keep up the good work Patricia and let us know how you and Ron are doing.

    Hugs, Joan


  2. Hello Patricia,

    Thank you again for all you do. The University is thinking of using your article for their ‘Discovery’ magazine, so I expect they will be in touch.

    A friend, Debbie O’Shea, runs a music concern that is tailored to assisting Primary School Music teachers. She recently asked me to collaborate on a simple song for children’s chorus, and yes, the philosophy trickled into the lyrics. Explaining how entities come ‘into being’ in the Whiteheadian ‘becoming’ manner is a bit tough for kids, so in direct terms, children’s lyrics … “how to make my dreams come true? Dreams come true for those who do!”

    And this aligns with the New Testament scripture “Teach and council each other in wisdom, using Psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs”(Coll 3:16)

    In appreciation,


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