Noises Of The Animal World Are Really Musical

From March 26, 1911


NOISES OF THE ANIMAL WORLD ARE REALLY MUSICAL: Properly Analyzed, the Mooing of a Cow or the Barking of a Dog Accord with the Rules of Composers. (PDF)

In 1955, Don Charles put out a novelty album by The Singing Dogs. You’ve probably heard their still-popular barking rendition of Jingle Bells around the holidays.

But did you know, according to no cited source other than “a musical authority,” that “the mooing of a cow is set to a perfect fifth, octave or tenth; the barking of a dog to a fourth or fifth; the neighing of a horse is a descent on the chromatic scale; while the donkey brays in a perfect octave?”

Apparently, those little factoids were “going the rounds of the exchanges,” which today would probably mean you get an email from your mother with the subject “FW: FW: FW: FW: Kitty’s meow is actually music!!”

Fortunately, other equally unnamed authorities explained to the Times Magazine that while animals are certainly expressive and communicative in their sounds, they don’t follow any particular musical scales: “The mooing of a cow is set to whatever notes suits that particular cow’s fancy and voice.”

Now forward this on to ten friends in the next ten minutes, or you’ll have ten years of bad luck.

One comment

Written by David

March 25th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Music,Nature

One Response to 'Noises Of The Animal World Are Really Musical'

Subscribe to comments with RSS

  1. I’ve heard birds singing three repeated quick notes, then a slightly extended fourth note an indeterminate interval below the first three. It may not have been g-g-g-e flat, as in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, but pretty close. Nowadays, since virtually all mass-marketed recorded product (pop, rock, country and of course rap) is a monotone, it can be replicated by a hummingbird.

    Laurence Glavin

    30 Mar 11 at 1:14 pm

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: