Are “non-human sounds/music” lesser than human music? A comparison from a biological and musicological perspective

Regina Rottner


The complexity and variation of sound emission by members of the animal kingdom, primarily produced by the orders Passeriformes (songbirds), Cetacea (whales), but also reported in species belonging to the Exopterygota (insects) and Carnivora (mammals), has attracted human attention since the Middle Ages, where birds’ calls were used in compositions of that time. However, the focus of this paper will be on sound productions of birds and whales, as recent scientific and musicological research concentrates on these two animals.

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SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia