Asked by: Alex Hackett, Bognor Regis
Plenty of non-human animals create sounds that we might consider music, and there’s even a whole field of study dedicated to this idea: zoomusicology. Birdsong is undoubtedly the most familiar of these sounds, but is it truly music? A 2012 study of nightingale-wrens found that their songs don’t match up with Western musical scales, so the musicality of birds might be something of an illusion – to our ears, at least.
For the most human-like music, we might need to go underwater. The male humpback whale produces complex songs with structures that are remarkably similar to our own, consisting of looping sequences of ‘melodies’ and repeating ‘end phrases’ akin to the rhymes in song lyrics. Little wonder that 1970 album Songs Of The Humpback Whale went multi-platinum.
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