Animals Make A Lot Of Noise, But Do They Make Music?

From cicadas to whales - sound ecology in Connecticut and beyond.

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Cicada and a light switch - a love story.
Photo:Chion Wolf
John Cooley
John Cooley is a biologist at the University of Connecticut. He studies cicadas - traveling around the country to track emergences. This is as close as he's ever gotten to eating one. Photo:Chion Wolf
Colin McEnroe
Photo:Chion Wolf
Patrick Skahill
Photo:Chion Wolf
Chion Wolf
Chion Wolf
Animals Make A Lot Of Noise, But Do They Make Music?
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Animals Make A Lot Of Noise, But Do They Make Music?
Cicadas are kind of the metal band of nature's sound scape. They have a big sound. On a good night, they'll drown out everybody else. And they have a thrilling back story involving sex and protracted comas. 
 
Today on the show, we'll give the cicadas their due, but then we're going to ask longer, deeper questions about the audio part of ecology.
 
What sounds do animals make and what's the impact of human noise pollution? You'll hear rain forest birds and elephants and even the sounds of an ant colony. But maybe you'll think in new ways about the structure and purpose of those sounds. 
 
Toward the end of the show, you'll meet composer Emily Doolittle who uses animal sounds in her music and, to that end, explores the ways in which each bird or elephant makes its own individual music.
 
You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.