From two to five frequency peaks, representing sustained portions of white‐throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) song, were derived using a Ubiquitous Spectrum Analyzer for each of more than 300 recorded songs from 58 different birds. After conversion to cents, a logarithmic unit, each bird’s song data were averaged and placed into three distributions: largest interval in whole song, largest interval between adjacent notes in each song, and all intervals between adjacent frequency peaks in each song. These three distributions plus another from African shrike data previously published by Thorpe did not significantly correlate with a distribution derived from commonly used Western musical scales. It is therefore suggested that utilization of Western musical notation may lead one to overemphasize the ’’musical’’ quality of bird song.
Skip Nav Destination
March 01 1977
Bird song as music
Charles W. Dobson;
J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 61, 888–890 (1977)
Charles W. Dobson, Robert E. Lemon; Bird song as music. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 March 1977; 61 (3): 888–890. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.381345
Download citation file: