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date: 27 March 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The concept of “interspecies improvisation” is introduced as a way to communicate by using music from the human species with other musical species, especially those with creative and complex songs such as catbirds, nightingales, and whales. Just as musicians from one culture can jam with people from other cultures with whom they might not be able to speak, spontaneous creativity in music can dare to make the leap between one animal and another. If performer and listener alike take improvisation seriously as a compositional tool, then such music ought to be taken seriously. And because music communicates in emotional ways we can never quite explain, interspecies improvisation may be a promising way to communicate with creatures with whom we cannot speak. Sonograms of two specific duets, one between clarinet and white-crested laughing thrush, another between clarinet and humpback whale, are analyzed in terms of identifying musical order and meaning. In conclusion it is suggested that making music with other species is one way to make nature more valuable and more worthy of our care and attention.

Keywords: interspecies improvisation, sonogram, humpback whale, clarinet, duet, communication, evolution, emotion, sonogram, nature, animal music

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