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Do you think animals make music, or is music specifically a human phenomenon? How would you support an argument for either side of the debate?

Due: 3pm Eastern Time 03/16/2017

MUSC 210 Class

1)      Write a 2-3 paragraph response.

2)      Include the link to an educational website other than Wikipedia that helped you to form your response, with a 2-3 sentence description of how this website enhanced your learning for the week.

3)      Select and add an image to your post that reflects your learning, including the specific reasons you chose the image.


Do you think animals make music, or is music specifically a human phenomenon?  How would you support an argument for either side of the debate?

     According to our weekly readings, there are a number of elements that create music. They are pitch, rhythm, melody, timbre, dynamics, and texture. By those standards, it can be said that animals make music as well. For example, a bird's singing meets all these requirements. A bird's song is obviously sung with a pitch (high), a melody, a rhythm (fast or slow), and dynamics (loud and soft). If the bird's voice is considered an instrument, it has its own timbre which is why we are able to distinguish a bird's singing from any other sound. Its texture can be monophonic or polyphonic depending on the number of birds singing along.

     If one were to argue, for example, that a bird's singing is not music, they can bring up the fact that there is no consistent "meter." Music by humans a lot of times consist of a meter, or a beat that is organized by the performer. Because a bird's singing is an improvisation, most likely sung to convey some type of message, it is not organized like the music humans are accustomed to. Another argument can be for the fact that birds are "probably" not trying to sing, and they're vocal messages just happen to be projected with a melody, etc. If one requires the musician to have a clear intent to create music, they may argue that animals do not meet those requirements.


     For this discussion, I used the above National Geographic article that talked about how animals may have an intuitive sense of music - which genetically runs in humans as well. They introduce specific examples like birds and whales, and their natural instincts to create "aesthetically pleasing sounds." It was a great outside resource to learn the possibilities that animals do music as well.

IMAGE: I chose to post an image of a dog playing the piano. I previously thought that the dog was just randomly smacking the piano, however, after reading this week's study materials and outside resources, it offered me a possibility that this dog might actually be playing the piano for music pleasure.

    • pianodog.jpg(84.64 KB)
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