Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pop tunes for whales

This is fascinating:  humpback whales sing to each other, not uncommon in the animal world. But all the males in a population sing basically the same song at the same time, which is not so different from hit radio. What's more, the songs change from year to year: they get bored, I guess, and switch to a new tunes. The new tunes are transmitted, culturally (!), from group to group, as the latest hits spread across the oceans. That's just amazing to me. The link has recordings of the latest hits in whale songs. It reminds me a bit of the Gubaidulina Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings that I've been listening to recently. A lot of extended techniques: microtones, multiphonics and slides, but very much an integrated piece. Here are various YouTube versions, and the great album on iTunes from Rino Vernizzi.

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