A música e os animais ou viceversa | Elefantes

Clique na imagem para ouvir | Audio: Elephant Orchestra
Who would ever think that elephants have an aptitude for creating music? Dave Soldier and Richard Lair do. With help from mahouts and staff members of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, they organized a band of six domesticated elephants, crafted instruments, and set out to prove their point. These recordings from the CD Elephonic Rhapsodies reveal elephants' creative side. Although mahouts may encourage the animals to play by moving their arms to mimic the movement of an elephant's trunk, the pachyderms select the notes and rhythms on their own. Do the sounds they make really translate into music? Listen to these three selections, and judge for yourself." (National Geographic)

Animal Music
The Thai Elephant Orchestra recently issued its debut CD. Played on traditional Thai instruments— slit drums, gongs, and large xylophonelike renats— the elephants' symphony, which is accompanied by the animals' haunting calls, sounds a little like the clatter of church bells ringing. The question is obvious: Are the elephants making music, or is it just noise? One can't tell for sure, yet many animals sing songs with patterns remarkably similar to those found in human music.

The sounds made by humpback whales, for instance, follow a familiar human form: a statement of theme, an embellishment, and then a return to a slightly modified version of the original theme. The intervals between notes resemble those found in human musical scales, and humpback songs contain repeated, rhyming refrains.

Birds use a plethora of well-known musical forms. The canyon wren's trill cascades down the musical scale just like the opening of Chopin's "Revolutionary" Étude. The songs of the wood thrush accurately follow the traditional Western musical scale. Male palm cockatoos in northern Australia court females by using twigs shaped into drumsticks to bang on hollow logs.

Such evidence suggests that humans did not invent music: It may predate us by tens of millions of years, and it may stimulate deep, primitive parts of the brain— the source, perhaps, of its deep, emotional pull. "Sound production has been part of animal repertoires forever and ever," says Jelle Atema, a flute-playing marine biologist who studies animal signaling at the Boston University Marine Program. "If that represents music for those animals, then we are the latecomers."

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