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Crow Music

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This idea is based on the hypothesis that the ability to appreciate music emerged together with the ability to converse - music is the hidden sister of language. Conversation and music are similar in many ways. Meaningful inflections, changes of pace and volume, even word sounds are echoed in music, still carrying their connotations from language. It is sometimes hard to separate out the music of someone speaking in your mother tongue - your analytical brain keeps stepping forward to make sense of the words. This is somewhat less of a problem with foreign language. I posit that music is appealing because it allows the suppressed part of the language brain to step forward.

Ok - so what? I propose that an effort be made to extract the music from the conversation. For human languages I bet this could be done by someone with a good ear and some practice. This person could help design a computer program. The computer program would then be applied to conversations between animals.

There is no doubt that some animals communicate with language like sounds. Chimps and dolphins are two examples. I think crows may be another. With the aid of this program, species-specific music could be generated. You would need to take care that the full range of tone and infection was captured - not just what humans can hear. Computer generated music lacks the spark of real music, but it can sometimes come close.

So you have crow music? Then what? I propose that listening stations be set up, with nothing more than a somewhat comfortable environment and the ability to play the generated music. Possibly there could be a switch the animals could trigger when they wanted to hear. Crows, chimps and dolphins all find pleasure in exercising parts of their brain outside of the context of survival - they play. If we get the music right, they should want to come and hear.

The final goal? To make musicians. This is why crows are well suited for this experiment. There are millions of them. If one in a million has the brain hardware to not only appreciate our generated music, but to come up with his own, those crows should congregate around the listening stations, listening to the music we made and trading new music with one another. The same might be true for dolphins or chimps. Once these pioneers show it can be done, other individuals will join in.

bungston, Nov 12 2003

[Rods] with the germ of this idea, I think. http://www.halfbake...dea/Foreign_20Music
[bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Gotta luv them crows. http://www.igorilla...ttack_cyclists.html
[The Kat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

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       Bad science - the ability to appreciate music *long* pre-dated the ability to converse other than in grunts.   

       And yeah, some birds do have the vocal apparatus to talk and/or sing, but crows ain't amongst them - try starting with parrots.
DrCurry, Nov 12 2003
  

       crows are my favourites - love the thought of a line of them swaying in time to music, perhaps making up a barbershop quartet.   

       sorry, bung. I have not given this the concentration it looks like it deserves.
po, Nov 12 2003
  

       Nevermore.
phundug, Nov 12 2003
  

       you quoth at me?
po, Nov 12 2003
  

       Interesting [bung]. You have beguiled my sad fancy into smiling.
lintkeeper2, Nov 12 2003
  

       But I be done seein' 'bout everythin' when I see a elephant fly (wit' de wind!) -- when I see a elephant fly!   

       [DrCurry]: Any supporting facts and references for that first statement whatsoever? Given the gaps in our knowledge origin of the human race, I'm going to have to see some research to buy that.
darksasami, Nov 12 2003
  

       Some years back, I had a portable stereo recorder that I took on a camping trip. I placed it on a table in a vacant campsite and left a handful of sunflower seeds scattered over the table. I pushed 'record' and walked away. Within a short period of time, the first blue jay showed up and started squawking loudly. Seconds later, the table was filled with hungry birds.   

       After they had finished this gift of food, they all left and I stopped the recorder. I went to another vacant campsite, rewound the tape, turned up the volume and hit 'play'. Within seconds the table was filled with hungry blue jays who couldn't understand why there was no food.   

       Do animals have a language? You try this experiment and you tell me. I just believe that animal language will always remain their private secret.
Klaatu, Nov 13 2003
  

       Dog symphony number 12, lyrics as follows:   

       "Give me food NOW!" x 1000000000000000
dobtabulous, Nov 13 2003
  

       darksasami: absolutely: most music made by animals (song birds, etc.) follows the same tonal principles as our own, suggesting that music is something innate in our genes, not a cultural invention. Except, of course, for crows, which simply squawk atonally.
DrCurry, Nov 13 2003
  

       //Computer generated music lacks the spark of real music//   

       I never understood why people say this. Some trance music like the brilliant Infected Mushroom's "The Missed Symphony" gets me all teary.
jivetalkinrobot, Nov 13 2003
  

       Dude when i read stuff like this it makes me realise how trivial my own problems are.
slapcup, Nov 13 2003
  

       "I just believe that animal language will always remain their private secret." Fair enough but how do we know that it will always be like that. One of them will spill the beans eventually. We should interrogate them.
slapcup, Nov 13 2003
  

       when animals listen to us they hear "give me - food, sex, money, power - not necessarily in that order"
po, Nov 13 2003
  

       I am fairly well mystified by [slappy's] problems comment. But I am fairly well digging [Klaatu's] blue jay experiment. Klaatu, you are like the Beastmaster, but with blue jays instead of marmots.
bungston, Nov 14 2003
  

       [bungston] Just give me a good glass of claret,a sunny day in the forest, a few tools and an undying curiosity. I truly wish we could communicate with animals, but I see a few problems:   

       What if they are truly pissed off for what we have done to their habitat? Do we want to hear their wrath? Would we listen or care?   

       Would we understand their culture? Do humans always understand each other's cultures even if we understand the language? Are we tolerant, always, of other cultures?   

       Can't we have a bit of mystery left in nature that gives us the chance to go out into the forest, do a dumb experiment, and walk away smiling and wondering? Please leave me a bit of mystery in my life.   

       [+] for the idea though, even though the science of the idea is a bit shaky.
Klaatu, Nov 14 2003
  


 

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