And people say we monkey around


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.

Fearful Monkey Music - Click here to listen

"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

Happy Monkey Music - Click here to listen

"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

This post gives cred to NPR and Wired Mag.