From chimpan-A to chimpan-Z


In hard-hitting news that I am 100% not making up, the Canadian National Post reports on a story about a U.S. “scientist” from UW-Madison who has been conducting research on what kind of music monkeys are into. From the article:

Two university professors in the United States sought to find out whether monkeys would appreciate 30-second clips of music specially created for them more than popular music created for human listeners. Previous studies have found that monkeys prefer silence to any human music with a tempo, including German techno songs and Russian lullabies.

Frankly I think most sentient species prefer silence to German techno songs and Russian lullabies, but this gets better:

The human versions of songs used in the experiment included 30-second clips from Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Metallica’s Of Wolf and Man and Tool’s The Grudge. Researchers studied their responses for five minutes after each song played.

While Metallica and Tool were used as examples of music humans find arousing, the monkeys found the crunchy guitar chords calming. Eating, grooming, and engaging were indications the monkeys were relaxed.

Fair enough.  In fact, the monkey at the top of this post looks like he might have spent the better part of the 80’s rocking out to Metallica, maybe a little too hard — if you know what I mean.  The article goes on to explain, however, that the putative UW-M “researcher” collaborated with his friend David Teie, a cellist in the National Symphony Orchestra, to create music specifically designed for the monkeys’ enjoyment.  Here is the first clip:
which I believe was meant to inspire some sort of simian George Crumb-Merce Cunningham collaboration.

OK, there’s no way to prepare you the second piece of music for the monkeys:
And again, I am totally not making any of this up.  About the monkey music, the article goes on to say:

When the primates heard the monkey versions of both songs, on the other hand, they reacted as the researchers predicted they would. The monkeys urinated, shook their heads and stretched, indicating an increased state of arousal.

Funny, I did the exact same thing after hearing that last clip.

In the name of science, I would like to suggest a slightly different program for the monkeys, one sure to gain their undivided attention:

smiling monkey


Dr. Zaius

Can I play the piano anymore?

Of course you can!

But I couldn’t before…


I took lessons from David Teie for two summers and he was always talking about his research!

Fascinating stuff, but frankly I don’t know what they hope to achieve other than making monkeys wet themselves.

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