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Musical Dogs
February 10, 2013 1:37 AM   Subscribe

Do dogs have perfect pitch?

More videos can be found on the uploader's channel, as well as some information on their home page (German only). Of course it is possible that there is some sort of Clever Hans effect in play, but the results are still impressive.
posted by Dr Dracator (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
This has nothing to do with perfect pitch. The only thing the dog needs to perform this task is to hear the instruction and press the right button. The pitch that comes out of the keyboard is irrelevant.

Also, I want a bird to hang out with me and my dog.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:47 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skip to about 5 minutes in, calling out the notes is only the first part of their training.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:05 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skip to about 5 minutes in, calling out the notes is only the first part of their training.

I see that now, but that's as far as I can tell only relative pitch. Still impressive, since I remember as a music student a lot of undergraduates had trouble with that, but it's not perfect pitch.

Wake the dog up one morning, play a single note, and see if the dog can play it on the keyboard. Then your argument is much stronger.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:11 AM on February 10, 2013


Now we just need a vocalist, and we've got ourselves a cabaret act!

This is so very great. I do think she is giving them general signals (hand/eye/body inclination) to help direct them to the right area of the keyboard, and that's maybe a bit clearer here, where you can see more of her (also, doggy duet!)... though the lighter colored dog is all, "man I've got this tune down," and jumps the gun playing the keys before her cue sometimes.
posted by taz at 3:09 AM on February 10, 2013


Clever, clever Hans.
posted by spitbull at 3:11 AM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


We have a dog that responds excitedly only to F.
posted by BenPens at 3:25 AM on February 10, 2013


It could just be the human training, but both these dogs seem to be right-pawed.
posted by leviathan3k at 4:09 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dog will very subtlety clench his jaw in perfect time to the music when my daughter plays her mandolin. It's so weird but its there. And he howls like crazy (unfortunately not on pitch) when she plays her oboe. We just bought her a lap steel....looking forward to his reaction to that.
posted by pearlybob at 4:25 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look, okay, this dog is clearly just a beginning student, so let's cut him some slack for naively adhering to conventional tonality; with enough practice, his talent will blossom, and like many canine pianists before him, he'll evolve into a masterful postmodern musician, even if his pitch sense is not absolute.
posted by jake at 6:34 AM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is anyone else exhausted watching that dog reach over the wood barrier with one paw? Such an unnatural motion.

I have sung with a couple of absolute pitch singers. They get fairly distressed when an organist decides to transpose a tune. On the other hand, I have hung out with Shape Note singers who accept just about anything.

Wonder if dogs can be taught transposition?
posted by grimjeer at 6:40 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


pearlybob: "And he howls like crazy (unfortunately not on pitch) when she plays her oboe. "

My beagle also howls when my daughter plays trumpet, although less so now that she's become somewhat proficient. Maybe he was just a critic all along.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:47 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm also impressed by the way the dogs (especially the reddish one) are able to hit the keys while focusing on the woman. Do they just have really good peripheral vision?
posted by orme at 6:51 AM on February 10, 2013


The well tempered terrier.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 AM on February 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


leviathan3k: "Handedness" in animals is a real subject of study. Generally most animals don't have a species-wide preference like humans do, but individual animals often prefer to reach or grasp with a particular appendage.
posted by nev at 7:25 AM on February 10, 2013


We just bought her a lap steel....looking forward to his reaction to that.

In my experience he'll either drink PBR and listen to it ironically, or decide to start an alt-country band.
posted by cortex at 8:39 AM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Impressive. Not only can the dogs identify pitches, they can also understand German!
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:53 AM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not wanting to bring up a touchy subject here, but I had a Corgi who would howl along with you and he would match your pitch as you changed it.
posted by njohnson23 at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


How to call a keeshond
posted by emeiji at 1:30 PM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


My dogmonster sings along when I play the flute. It doesn't really matter what I'm playing, but he sort of growl/hums along. At first I thought that it was a vague sign of dissatisfaction at the high pitches. But as time has gone by, I think it is less likely that he is bothered by it because he could just go to another part of the house and get away from (or at least muffle) the sound. Instead, he just flops on the floor next to me and hums along.
posted by jph at 4:40 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


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