Pick Music Your Pets Will Enjoy

August 22, 2013 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Species appropriate music for soothing your domesticated beast: Science is unlocking the secrets of music appreciation in mammals other than humans. We have recently become intrigued by the research of Charles Snowdon, University of Wisconsin, published in the Journal of Biology of the Royal Society. Starting with tamarin monkeys who showed no response to human music, they were able to compose music that predictably made the monkeys agitated and other music that predictably relaxed the monkeys. The researchers propose three complimentary theories in mammalian music appreciation.

1. We appreciate music that mimics the rythms of our own hearts 2. We appreciate music that mimics our own vocal ranges
3. Our minds are hard-wired with species specific responses to certain tones (especially alarm tones such as screaming)

Operating on these theories, professional musicians have been experimenting with creating music just right for cats. Cats obviously have higher vocal ranges than humans, and they have much faster heart beats.

Here are some examples of what they have come up with:
http://www.musicforcats.com/samples/spooks_ditty.mp3
http://www.musicforcats.com/samples/cozmo_air.mp3
http://www.musicforcats.com/samples/rustys_ballad.mp3

While art and science may be creating music that is more cat or dog appropriate, Charles Snowdon says pets may never appreciate music the way humans do. While cats and dogs have very good absolute pitch (the ability to recognize a note), he says they lack relative pitch (the ability to recognize a sequence of notes in an altered key).

Musicforcats.com has used these music appreciation principles to compose and produce music more likely to have your intended effect with your favorite felines. So what about dogs? Some argue that dog breeds are so varied in their own vocal ranges, that their music would almost have to be breed specific, not just species specific. It also turns out that the vocal ranges of dogs are similar to those of humans and that dogs do respond somewhat to human music. So, until someone starts producing music just for jack russell terriers, they’re saying classical music is a good choice for soothing the family dog. How music affects you may be a good indication of how it will affect your dog, but not your cat.

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