Similar to my previous post on cat music and a feline’s response to the music created by its own species - this time round, we’ll be looking at monkeys.
Monkeys couldn’t care less about human music as it does not affect them emotionally or alter their behaviour in any way, shape or form. Musician David Teie and psychologist Charles Snowdon wanted to explore this further and thus began to create music composed by the structure and pitch of Tamarin monkey calls. They realised that the ‘species-specific’ music composed significantly impacts the behaviour and emotions of Tamarin monkeys; observed by both Teie and Snowdon.
While composing the songs, Teie imitated monkey calls with his cello then electronically boosted up the sounds three octaves higher to reach a pitch that matched the monkeys’ voices. When played back to the monkeys, their reactions were observed as below.
"Monkeys reacted to this by increasing their movement. They moved faster through their environment. And they also showed increase in a whole variety of behaviours we have associated with anxiety." - Charles Snowdon
"This is a rhythm that approaches the resting heart rate of a tamarin and had this calming effect on them even though the pum-pum-pum in the background was maybe a bit faster than we would expect as humans for this music." - David Teie
Ever thought of purchasing music for your favourite feline?
Well now you can, with musicforcats.com. A website that is built especially for YOUR cat’s enjoyment of music.
A little bit creepy? Perhaps.
Musician and Composer, David Teie has composed a number of these ‘tracks’. Imitations of feline vocal communication (purrs, meows, screeches) and sounds of their environment are musically bound to create songs that would potentially appeal to domestic cats and affect their behaviour and their emotions.
Jokes aside, there has been much research and science put into this project, which he likes to call ‘species-specific music’. He has also similarly experimented with monkey sounds/music (to be discussed in a future post).
After recognising the differences amongst mammalian interpretations and absorption of sound, through his experimentation with animals and music, he carefully constructs sounds that latch onto ‘species-specific’ aural interests. His studies show that animals are more likely to respond to music of their own kind, rather than human music. He has conducted this research working alongside psychologist Charles T. Snowdon.
To end this blog post, I shall leave you with a quote taken from the website:
"A hundred years from now people will have to be taught that music was once available only to humans."
Radiohead may be setting trends in the human world of music, but when it comes to the ocean, tis the WHALES!
Australian Humpback whales, to be exact.
According to ABC News, researchers have noticed that Australian Humpback whales are setting musical trends in the South Pacific. The whale songs produced by those in Australian waters have trended amongst pods across a 6,000 kilometre stretch of water. Humpback whales in the French Polynesia have now taken a liking to the songs, imitating them as though it were their own repertoire.
Even though it has been proven that each whale song is usually quite distinct (for mating purposes), it is predicted that Humpback whales willingly picked up the ‘Aussie’ songs while sharing migration routes. PhD candidate, Ellen Garland likens this ‘cultural change’ amongst whales, to the changes in popular music and fashion trends of the human world.
To read the full news article from ABC News, click here.
To watch whales making music with humans, check out this Optus Commercial I found a while back.
FACT: Whale songs have previously been likened to Classical pieces, including Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor. HOW? Well, the whale song is actually one of the most complexly structured songs of non-human animals. It uses theme and variation, rhyme-like structures, thematic material and a generous use of repetition! It is through these same elements that Mozart, along with many other Classical composers, has structured his own compositions. Humpback whales are also known to be the only species whose song develops in such a uniform and systematic manner.
This post gives cred to Researchers: (Doolittle, 2007) (Payne, 2001) and ABC News.
It is assumed that the sounds produced by animals have a purely ‘biological’ or ‘functional’ purpose, leading people to believe that animals do not have the mental capacity to creatively produce music for pleasure. To a certain degree, this is true!
However, as the years have rolled by, so too have peoples’ way of thinking. Thanks to scientists like George Romanes and psychologists like Ibn al-Haytham, research into animal psychology has revealed that animals in fact share more of our mental capabilities and emotional depth than previously thought. The idea of zoomusicology brings together this idea of animal psychology with musicology.
An 11th Century Arabic psychologist, Ibn al-Haytham looked into the effects of music on animals. He discovered that a Camel’s pace could be hastened or retarded with the use of music - and he took the same experiment to other animals including; horses, birds and reptiles. I tried to find a YouTube clip showing the impact music has on the camel walk - but all I could find was this. To find out more about his ideas and thoughts - read Treatise on the Influence of Melodies on the Souls of Animals.
Something to think about.
What do you think?
This post gives cred to Researcher: (Doolittle 2007)