Attenborough points out that folk music recordings were initially made by the BBC in order to build an archive; and that at the same time, a wildlife sound archive was being formed. He also draws attention to the similarities between the technical requirements of recording wildlife and recording folk music, both of which involved taking recording equipment out into the environment, rather than bringing the producer of sound into the studio. The same people were therefore involved with folk music recording as wildlife recording. Of course, it was more practical to bring folk musicians into the studio than wildlife, however it was recognised by certain collectors, notably Peter Kennedy, that it was preferable to record folk musicians in their own setting where they felt comfortable than in the studio.
A particularly compelling story was told about the folk singer Lily Cooke, who was recorded in her home by. He tells of a 'tame-ish Robin' who lived in her garden, and who would sit on the windowsill and sing along with Lily. He tells of the lengths he went to in order to try to capture this unusual duet, and the amusing way in which he was thwarted. Aside from the humour, this anecdote highlights the link between folk music and 'natural' or environmental sound, and shows that this link was recognised and appreciated as important and integral to the practice of folk music very early on in the recording of folk music.
The Dawn Chorus
Chris Watson draws the connection between recording music 'on location' and recording the sounds of wildlife. A particularly nice quotation:
'Something you can't ignore, actually, when you're out on location, is that quite often in places where you go to record wildlife sounds, there's musical, human musical sounds in there as well, because people react to the sounds of their environment. To my ear, the sounds of human music in those places, and whether it's the English countryside or the forests of the Congo, it embodies that spirit and sense of place, and that's what's important to me.'
He suggests that the practice of folk music, similarly to wildlife recording 'celebrates.. going out on a May Morning, going a-roving, listening to and enjoying the spirit and sounds of the natural world.'