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Re: Mimicry of human music - RFI

Subject: Re: Mimicry of human music - RFI
From: Horst Flotow <>
Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2003 10:09:59 +0800
Not so long ago there was an article comparing the rhythm of (classical 
I think) music with the songs found in nature which concluded that they 
are quite similar, i.e. the musical one is probably derived from birds 
etc. I can't remember where I read it at the moment (it was interesting 
but not exactly relevant to my work), if I can find it I'll let you 
know. There is an excellent episode in "The life of birds", narrated by 
David Attenborough on bird song and mimicry of human sounds which 
includes a bit on a lyrebird which imitated the shutter click of a 
camera (all the tourists photographing it) just perfectly, these birds 
must be the best sound imitators known as you'd be well aware.



Syd Curtis wrote:

>A non-recordist friend recently asked me in a letter whether birds ever
>imitated human music and whether composers ever copied bird-song.  The
>latter I can answer at length, (having corresponded with Olivier Messiaen
>when h ewas alive), but not the first.
>There is a story of a lyrebird chick raised in captivity and learning to
>sing by copying flute music.  He was later released and his "flute" songs
>were taken up by that lyrebird population.  That's the story.  It's been
>disputed.  I think it probably did happen.
>But somewhere in the distant past, I'm sure I read of something similar
>happening in Europe.  A Blackbird, maybe.  And I think it was documented in
>some scientific journal.  Can anyone help me please, with a reference?
>Syd Curtis in Australia


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