May 10, 2010
Some birds make sounds that are musical to our ears.
skylark, whose melodious sounds we label as song. So it’s quite
natural to wonder whether there is a connection between animal
sounds and the music that humans create.
The deepest mystery of all: What purpose does music serve? Famed
naturalist Sir David Attenborough examines various exotic members of
the animal kingdom for clues to this fascinating puzzle.
After laying out for the audience the complex structures that
transform sound into music – musical phrases, melodies, themes, and
variations – Sir David introduces us to the animal acknowledged to
produce the most complicated and longest song yet discovered – the
With Cornell University researcher Katy Payne as his guide, he
eavesdrops on these gigantic mammals through a hydrophone dropped
into the Dominican Republic’s Samana Bay, where the whales
congregate during the winter months.
From the Caribbean, the documentary hopscotches to various points on
the globe to show viewers a diverse array of animals that make
to Australia, for the lyre bird
to Sumatra, for the Siamang
to Sweden, for the great weed warbler