Monkeys like Metallica over Mozart – but monkey music is better

Monkeys like monkey music. Cellist David Teie of the University of Maryland and National Symphony Orchestra composed several tracks based on sound files of tamarin monkey calls.

Researchers found that when the tamarins were played his “calm” pieces they became more relaxed and sociable. Similarly, they found his “fearful” piece upsetting.

Although the tamarin songs don’t sound much like music to us, Teie said he wasn’t just imitating the monkey’s calls. “The very nature of music itself is that it’s stylized, that it almost extracts the emotional parts of the sound and makes it impossible to identify.”

Teie used the same patterns to create the monkey music as he uses when composing human music, and he wrote out each song for the cello so that other cellists could play it too. [Wired]

Tamarins have previously been known to dismiss even Mozart, prefering silence instead. They didn’t respond at all when researchers played them Nine-Inch Nails, Tool or Samuel Barber.

They did seem to find Metallica relaxing, though. Which show that the monkeys have some taste.

Via Pharyngula.


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