Discuss: The Piccolo and the Pocket Grouse
Very interesting article. I love the idea of that question, “What is music?” It’s interesting to try and think about where music originated. Very well writted, with a great perspective. Also love the fact that this women’s name is Doolittle and she’s studying animal communication.
I think this article is very interesting. I feel this was very well written, and also brought a lot of questions about “music” to mind.
The Swainson’s thrush has the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. My mother, a musician herself, could transcribe it’s song into notes. To hear them at dusk is beyond words, it is music to me!
Is It Music? Wall
Though we have invited their animal voices into the concert hall, their animal bodies remain outside the door.
We are arriving
at the Is It Music? Wall.
We have put down
our notebooks, recorders,
and frameworks made of
thin, elegant y/n thoughts.
We make a moving framework
of our bodies,
with their sweet ears curious,
and boost one another
up and over. Somewhere
birds are singing into the dawn
and our awakened astonished ears.
I love reading about this sort of thing, but I often wish we were in the habit of saying “OTHER animals” when we talk about the differences between us and other animals. We’re animals too! If we said “...whether or not [other] animals have aesthetic sensibilities akin to a human’s…” we might have an easier time accepting that they probably do. And, maybe, that our own behavior is more “animal” (less “rational”?) than we like to believe. Speaking for myself, at least.
Do humans and birds compose at more subtle levels? Would the following experiment tells us anything of interest?
Record several hours of a mockingbird’s song, which consists of a vast repertoire of phrases seemingly strung together more or less (but not quite) at random.
Select five phrases that are in sequence (Call them A B C D E) and also four other phrases selected later on at random from the song (Call them F G H I)
Paste together 5 sequences:
ABCDE, ABCDF ABCDG ABCDH ABCDI
(The E in the first sequence should be taken from a recording later during the day.)
Present these five “songs” to composers and careful listeners who are not familiar with the mockingbird’s song and ask,“Which is more pleasing (or more interesting?) musically?”
If the listeners prefer ABCDE more than 20% of time, then listeners and mockingbirds may have similar criteria for evaluating music structure, the basis of composition. Sample size and statistical analysis should be appropriate.
Totally fascinating. Dolphins too have a sense of the musical. Listen to this video of a wild dolphin mimicking a human singing a scale. What other animals would do this? How much can we communicate with music?