Do animals make music?
About a year ago, I started writing this article and asked myself, “What is music?”
The answer is difficult to describe because music means something different to everybody. As I search for deeper a meaning of music in my own life, it is clear to me how music is a universal language.
Some of the earliest literature we know comes from ancient Sumerian texts approximately 5600 years ago. One of the first things human civilization documents is a song, the Kesh Temple hymn. The Old Testament (Book of Psalms 6th century BC) includes references that still have some shape or form in today’s Modern Age as a wind, string or percussion instrument.
Music is a natural occurrence. The next time you go outside take some time to listen. Birds have songs with distinct pitch, rhythm and even percussive sounds. A bird that greets me early in the morning can even go as far as to have a call and response jam session. We live near a fire station and you can hear the dogs howl with the long droning sirens of the emergency vehicles. Many theories arise as to why dogs howl, but I surmise that dogs howl to match some kind of inner resonance with the pitches they hear. Both of these animals seem to use sound as a way to connect to their environment and/or each other; A form of emotional expression.
Listen to the whales sing at www.shelbyinfo.com/music. You can hear musical phrases, repetition, sequences, and distinct pitches (even a tonal center) in the largest venue on Earth, the ocean. Since whales are mammals like us, it is likely to assume that the use of sound is a form of communication. Think about how you feel when you sing with you favorite song in the car. Don’t you feel connected to the artist? What about when you play an instrument with someone or just beat out a rhythm with a friend? Is there an unspoken understanding of time and rhythm? Can you hear the connections in the Whale Song?