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Monkeys Like Monkey Music, Apathetic to Human Music

Chuck Snowdon of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, teamed up with musician David Tele to compose music specifically for tamarin monkeys. The music is based on the note patterns, dissonance and timing of tamarin vocalizations and the emotional states these vocalizations produce, much like some believe human music evolved from human vocalization. This monkey music doesn’t even sound like music to most people. But evidently human music doesn’t sound much like music to monkeys either.

During the experiment, many types of human music was played to the monkeys, with no reaction, good or bad – the monkeys simply didn’t care about the human music one way or the other. However, the monkey music created strong reactions in the monkeys, similar to the reactions people have to human music.

“Lots of primate research laboratories use radios to provide what is called ‘enrichment’ for their animals, but you can’t expect another species to be interested in our music just because we are human,” Snowdon said. “Why should a tamarin find our music comforting? I find the monkey music quite irritating,”

Read more and listen to samples of the tamarin monkey music at The Guardian UK:
Scientists create music that helps monkeys chill out
Monkey melodies inspired by the animals’ calls had a calming effect, hinting at how human music may have evolved

The University of Wisconsin-Madison News:
Monkeys get a groove on, but only to monkey music

posted by Trout Monfalco