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Thrush birds are caught singing like jazz musicians | Daily Mail Online

Thrush birds are caught singing like jazz musicians | Daily Mail Online


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4697086/Thrush-birds-caught-singing-like-jazz-musicians.html?mc_cid=9f160a400d
 
'It's like a Miles Davis trumpet solo': 'Swinging' birds are caught singing off-beat like jazz musicians
  • A few species of birds can sing in an off-beat 'swing time' like jazz musicians 
  • The birds may do this to make their calls to mates more noticeable 
  • It could help male thrushes to dance during their mating rituals
  • Some experts claim the birds simply get excited and lose control of their rhythm 
By Harry Pettit For Mailonline
Published: 14:00 EDT, 14 July 2017 | Updated: 14:00 EDT, 14 July 2017
A few species of birds can sing in an off-beat 'swing time' like jazz musicians, researchers have found.
Some male thrushes may do this to make their calls to mates more noticeable or even to help them 'dance' during their mating rituals.
Some experts suggest that the birds embellish their tunes simply because they get excited in mating season and lose control of their rhythm.
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Optimized by JPEGmini 3.14.2.84235 0x8dafb005
<img id="i-ba230087113abd7b" src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/14/15/4255DE4100000578-4697086-image-a-14_1500043899371.jpg" height="422" width="634" alt="The thrush nightingale's (file photo) song deviates slightly in its note timing, making it 'expressive' like a jazz swing track, researchers have found" class="blkBorder img-share"/>
The thrush nightingale's (file photo) song deviates slightly in its note timing, making it 'expressive' like a jazz swing track, researchers have found
BIRD SWING 
The Max Planck team looked into the 'amplitude envelope' of the thrush nightingale's song - its note timing, duration, and intensity - for expressiveness.
They used a mathematical technique called multifractal analysis to study the rhythms of a series of recorded nightingale songs.
The computerised analysis detected fluctuations between predictable and unpredictable states on multiple factors of each song, for instance, the timescales or notes.
Their results showed that the rhythms of the nightingale's song are patterned by fluctuations between predictable and unpredictable patterns, much like the timings of an improvising jazz musician.
The 'swinging' birds were found after scientists used mathematical analysis to study the song of the thrush nightingale. 
The nightingale's song deviates slightly in its note timing, making it more 'expressive' like a jazz swing track, the researchers, from the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, found. 
Adding expressions to birdsong may help some avians stand out to potential mates, the researchers wrote in their paper.
'Birdsong shares with music the goal to attract and hold its listeners' attention and might make use of similar strategies to achieve this goal,' the team wrote. 
Music expert and composer Emily Doolittle added: 'They could be introducing subtle variations in an effort to attract the interest of the song recipient.
'But it could also be that as they get excited they lose strict rhythmic control, or that they become less regular as their muscles fatigue,' she told New Scientist.
Ms Doolittle has previously worked with scientists to show that the hermit thrush uses a number of the fundamental musical intervals found in human music in its songs.
Some of the males dance as they sing as part of their mating display, and some researchers believe the thrush's swing beats may help their movements.
The Max Planck team looked into the 'amplitude envelope' of the thrush nightingale's song - its note timing, duration, and intensity - for 'expressiveness'.
'Swinging' thrush birds captured singing like jazz musicians
 
Optimized by JPEGmini 3.14.2.84235 0xde500c56
<img id="i-f2626631f08dbc4a" src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/14/15/4255DE2600000578-4697086-image-a-16_1500043941360.jpg" height="424" width="634" alt="The nightingale is not the only species to have been found to improvise a tune, with the veery thrush (file photo) of North America also picked out as a swing singer. Birds may sing off-beat to attract mates or even to help them dance during their mating ritual" class="blkBorder img-share"/>
The nightingale is not the only species to have been found to improvise a tune, with the veery thrush (file photo) of North America also picked out as a swing singer. Birds may sing off-beat to attract mates or even to help them dance during their mating ritual
'Music is thought to engage its listeners by driving feelings of surprise, tension, and relief through a dynamic mixture of predictable and unpredictable patterns, a property summarised here as "expressiveness",' the team said. 
They used a mathematical technique called multifractal analysis to study the rhythms of a series of recorded nightingale songs.
The computerised analysis detected fluctuations between predictable and unpredictable states on multiple factors of each song, for instance, the timescales or notes.
Their results showed that the rhythms of the nightingale's song are patterned by fluctuations between predictable and unpredictable patterns, much like the timings of an improvising jazz musician.
'This suggests that birds render their songs more expressive by subtly modifying note timing patterns, similar to musical operations like accelerando or ritardando,' the researchers said.
The nightingale is not the only species to have been found to improvise a tune, with the veery thrush of North America also picked out as a swing singer. 
The veery thrush has the most swinging birdsong of all, Professor David Rothenberg, a music expert at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, told New Scientist.
When slowed down the bird can be heard playing a long note followed by a short one in a repeating pattern.
'It's like a Miles Davis trumpet solo,' Professor Rothenberg said.
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