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Blowin' in Birdland: Improvisation and the Australian Pied Butcherbird

Blowin' in Birdland: Improvisation and the Australian Pied Butcherbird This paper challenges the assumption that improvisation is a process unique to humans. Despite the general reluctance of biologists to consider birdsong “music,” they routinely comment on improvisation found in the signals of songbirds. The Australian pied butcherbird ( Cracticus nigrogularis ) is such a species. Analysis (including transcriptions and sonograms) of solo song, duets and mimicry illustrates their remarkable preoccupation with novelty and variety, and traces improvisation's role in the creation of their complex song culture. The author suggests further zoömusicological case studies for the relevance this research could have to other human (musical) capacities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Leonardo Music Journal MIT Press

Blowin' in Birdland: Improvisation and the Australian Pied Butcherbird

Leonardo Music Journal , Volume December 2010 (20) – Dec 1, 2010

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2010 ISAST
Subject
Articles
ISSN
0961-1215
eISSN
1531-4812
DOI
10.1162/LMJ_a_00016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper challenges the assumption that improvisation is a process unique to humans. Despite the general reluctance of biologists to consider birdsong “music,” they routinely comment on improvisation found in the signals of songbirds. The Australian pied butcherbird ( Cracticus nigrogularis ) is such a species. Analysis (including transcriptions and sonograms) of solo song, duets and mimicry illustrates their remarkable preoccupation with novelty and variety, and traces improvisation's role in the creation of their complex song culture. The author suggests further zoömusicological case studies for the relevance this research could have to other human (musical) capacities.

Journal

Leonardo Music JournalMIT Press

Published: Dec 1, 2010

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