Le Confident

Ideas tête-à-tête

Animal Sounds

Today I did a quick search on animal sounds. There is an incredible amount of those and once again I’m astonished how little of it is used creatively. Thinking of Olivier Messiaen, for example, makes me almost angry: he had nothing but his ears to listen to and process bird songs.

And he, albeit the most proficient, has not been the only one: Respighi, Dvorak, Beethoven, Rameau also used this incredible natural resource.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvoTz1rdO3A (at the end)

And nowadays, there is everything at our fingertips, and it’s lying around unused, like some badly inventarized book in a library, that has only been opened once, because it fell on someone’s head.

So being a great fan of bionics, I also like music inspired by nature. Messiaen’s style however doesn’t tempt me too much. That’s why I decided to collect sound databases on animals in one place for further consideration:



http://www.bl.uk/listentonature/main.html (British Library)


http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Page.aspx?pid=1059 (overview for ornithology)

http://www.animalsoundarchive.org/ (general natural sound library)

http://blb.biosci.ohio-state.edu/archive.html (general natural sound library, also Insects)

http://www.fonozoo.com/ (general natural sound library)


http://www.naturesongs.com/insects.html (Insect Sounds)




http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/a/ (Alphabetic List, Description and Soundfiles)

http://www.xeno-canto.org/ (the most comprehensive database)


Marine Animals

http://aquaticacousticarchive.com/metadatalibrary.php (overview)




http://www.animal-sounds.org/farm-animal-sounds.html (Farm Animals)

http://hissandaroar.com/free-sounds/ (Seals)

http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2userfiles/person/3559/soundlibrary.html (Insects)

http://www.cicadamania.net/ (Cicadas)

http://home.olemiss.edu/~hickling/ (Black Fire Ant)

Some of my favourites:

The humpback whale:



Magnificent Riflebird:

magnificent riflebird


Or the distress signal of a fire ant:



If you need some more quick ressources, look here for some contemporary techniques for playing instruments of the western classical orchestra.
Update: recently found out about biofeedback music like this project, with which you can use plants (and really every living organism) as midi controllers.

If you know any other sources, I’d be pleased to add them to this list!


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