Whale Songs Sped Up

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Leah Kruszewski
Whale Songs Sped Up

Whale Songs Sped Up:  Pitch, Tempo, and Our Perception of Music

Just in case you 're looking a musical way to waste some time on the internet this weekend… 

A team of scientists has been recording whale songs and speeding them up into music that is easier to hear over computer speakers and more digestible to our ears in terms of tempo.  

Here’s a humpback whale at normal speed (I had trouble playing some files from the webpage but they worked when I downloaded them -- just click on the three dots at the right and the download option appears)

 [[{"fid":"32233","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{},"2":{},"3":{}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"3"}}]]

And the same call 4x faster

And one more recording of a fin whale, sped up 24x

[[{"fid":"32234","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"4"}}]]

(More info on the science behind these recordings here: http://dcs.whoi.edu/)

If you thought it sounded like a bird, you’re not the only one.  Here’s a twitter post by melodysheep that cleans the sound and speeds it up even more, to 7x: https://twitter.com/musicalscience/status/1017880123972829184

For comparison, here are a couple bird songs slowed down: 

[[{"fid":"32235","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"5"}}]]

Wood thrush: https://youtu.be/4M9Svod4FfE 

Compilation: https://youtu.be/bj36koXYJLs 

This one’s a little weirder and sillier to listen to, but it’s a fun take on the subject:

Whales and Nightingales: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5OCCuCIMbA

It’s crazy how much pitch and tempo affects our perception of what is music.  Not to mention the fundamental commonality between calls of two very kinds of animals.  Thoughts or comments? Have you seen other videos or read other articles on the subject?

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