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Play That Monkey Music
September 2, 2009 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Monkeys react to music composed specifically for them, using monkey calls. Cellist David Teie, working with psychologist Charles Snowdon, has created music based on monkey calls that successfully affects the emotional state of tamarinds. Turns out that they don't like human music, except possibly Metallica. What can you do with this information? Well, you could buy - or, hey, create - music for your cat.
posted by mygothlaundry (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
They like post-haircut Metallica? No false metal for monkeys!
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 AM on September 2, 2009


Cat music is an interesting idea. Maybe something will get little cat C. over the sulk re: the new collar and get her out from under the chair.

Incidentally, I sort liked the happy monkey track (though it grated for a second or two about halfway through). and I'm not at all sure what this means.

Check you for lice?
posted by jquinby at 8:31 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Monkeys don't like Mozart! MOAR EVIDENCE AGAINST EVOLUTION!!ONEONEELEVENELEVENHUNDRED!!
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2009


Ok, so mister fancy monkey needs his own cello concerto composed for him now? Mozart's not good enough? You can't be bothered to evolve into pants, but you absolutely have to have Yo-Yo Ma over here play you to sleep with your own private lullaby. La-dee-da.

Stupid monkeys are think they own the place.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:35 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


My cat, Jessie, is a big fan of Terry Fox.
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 8:38 AM on September 2, 2009


From the data point that monkeys react to things that sound like monkey calls, it is an absolutely ironclad conclusion that cats will enjoy music.
posted by DU at 8:39 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


...it is an absolutely ironclad conclusion that cats will enjoy music.

QED
posted by jquinby at 8:41 AM on September 2, 2009


Monkeys are idiots.
posted by swift at 8:55 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey it's DU! *waves to DU*
posted by nola at 8:56 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The most interesting part of this article is they music they chose to test for response. What is it about Tool they thought monkeys would respond to (aside from its general awesomeness)?
posted by Eumachia L F at 9:02 AM on September 2, 2009


cEvin Key is a decade ahead of these folks: Music For Cats was released in 1998.

NOTE: I have not subjected my cats to this music. I cannot vouch for it's cat-friendliness, though Amazon.com customers like it.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:09 AM on September 2, 2009


mygothlaundry: "...that successfully affects the emotional state of tamarinds."

Tamarind is an Africa-native fruit that looks like a date. Tamarin is a small arboreal primate.
posted by Plutor at 9:10 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cool post.

I really like the monkey music they came up with. What's interesting is that it's not so disparate from traditional western classical music in that it's not in any way random or even that 'cacophonous', esp considering what's been written in the past several decades or so.

And the findings of the experiment do not at all surprise me. As humans have evolved - and indeed as music has 'progressed' - our cognitive reception of it has evolved as well; i.e. humans of the 19th century would certainly prefer silence over metallica (and indeed many 21st century humans might prefer silence to, say, Strouse). Of course the issue is much more complicated in humans, and involves a great deal more subjectivity as things like, oh I dunno, culture play a major factor - but species are 'hard-wired' in some capacity to respond to a very limited spectrum and organization of sound and sonic structures.

Anyway, the music they came up with is genius. Very, very cool.

Also this: George Crumb's 'Voice of the Whale.'
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:17 AM on September 2, 2009


My cat loves techno. Most of the time he ignores whatever's playing, but when I'm bumping techno he'll charge into the room and rub against the speaker and sleep on the bed.

He also thinks he's a dog.
posted by cloeburner at 9:29 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about a job composing music for cows?
posted by yaxu at 9:37 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


9 out of 10 monkeys agree with me that Master of Puppets is the best metal album ever. The tenth monkey is gay for Rob Halford, not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by Mister_A at 9:46 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tamarind is an Africa-native fruit that looks like a date. Tamarin is a small arboreal primate.

Oh drat. Still, have you ever played Metallica to your fruit trees? Maybe it would work and you would get giant happy tamarinds of joy. Or, maybe not.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2009


So what happened to David Teie? The Cat Music link keeps talking about him in the past tense, like he's dead or gave up his research or something. What gives?
posted by scalefree at 9:52 AM on September 2, 2009


Our cat who thinks she's a human loves rock music. She'll come in from another room and sit on her perch near the stereo speakers and fall asleep there. She won't do this for any other kind of music.

Neither of the cats reacted to any of the cat music samples provided in the link above.
posted by hippybear at 9:53 AM on September 2, 2009


Is it bad that I really, really liked the fearful monkey music? This is going to save me a ton of cash on Autechre tunes.
posted by anigbrowl at 9:59 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, I thought they meant this, not what sounds startlingly like a primate Brian Eno collaborating with (even more) hairy-knuckled John Cale.

I don't care what species you are, that's some good music makin'.
posted by ford and the prefects at 11:05 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about a job composing music for cows?

I clicked on "Please send me jobs like this", but there was no category for Bovine Composer. Strange.

Maybe it's because the internet knows that I am apparently a tamarin monkey.

P.S. That picture is rawsome!
posted by nosila at 11:29 AM on September 2, 2009


Okay, but do monkeys have rhythm? Snowball the dancing cockatiel inspired a study that has caused scientists to reconsider the theory that humans are the only species that can dance in time to a beat. This bird has better moves than a lot of humans, and he "bows" at the end. I'm attempting to post the links below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJOZp2ZftCw
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103629651&ps=rs
posted by cowpattybingo at 11:42 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, crap. I'm apparently not techy enough to even be allowed to post on metafilter. How embarrassing.
posted by cowpattybingo at 11:46 AM on September 2, 2009


i.e. humans of the 19th century would certainly prefer silence over metallica

If people liked Wagner, they'd like metal.
posted by rodgerd at 12:05 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am so disappointed that the metallica video didn't involve chimps headbanging to Master of Puppets.
posted by empath at 2:10 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come, Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana...
posted by brundlefly at 5:36 PM on September 2, 2009


This was a very interesting article. Thanks!
posted by Scattercat at 7:27 PM on September 2, 2009


Trying again on this post and its links:
Okay, but do monkeys have rhythm? Snowball the dancing cockatiel inspired a study that has caused scientists to reconsider the theory that humans are the only species that can dance in time to a beat. This bird has better moves than a lot of humans, and he "bows" at the end. I'm attempting to post the links below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJOZp2ZftCw
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103629651&ps=rs
posted by cowpattybingo at 10:19 PM on September 2, 2009


I came back to say, I just put in the 5.1 surround version of Yes' Fragile album, and my rock-loving cat sought out the "sweet spot" for the surround picture and is currently sitting there in meatloaf pose, squinty-eyed and purring while listening to it.

I have a very strange cat.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on September 3, 2009


My old dog loved acoustic guitar, live or on the stereo, but mostly live. Whenever anyone was sitting around playing guitar he would snuggle up happily against their legs and sigh with joy. I never could figure out what it was about it - the music? The vibrations? The happy atmosphere in the room? - that he liked so much but it charmed the hell out of my musician friends.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:50 PM on September 3, 2009


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