Date of Award

Spring 2014

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Dr. Steve Phelan

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph V. Siry


The idea of an ancient harmony uniting the universe has been theorized since the ancient Pythagoreans got the idea of musica universalis, often translated as The Music of the Spheres. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, not only recognizes similar musical patterns in the wilderness but emphasizes how they bring a sense of balance his life. Walt Whitman, often coined America’s poet, uses the harmonies resonating throughout the natural and urban worlds to demonstrate unity throughout the cosmos. Similarly, Aldo Leopold revolutionized our understanding of ecology, as he wrote about reciprocity and the connection of all things to the land. Although these ideas are often romanticized, many contemporary scientists, utilizing bioacoustics and soundscapes, are applying the same concepts conveyed by Muir and Whitman to test the healthiness of a natural environment.

Rights Holder

Jason Balserait