MUSIC AS A BRIDGE
.A communication platform between species
Music is an universal expression, that transcends the need of a shared language and the frontier of race and (potentially) species. It is a powerful vehicle of emotions and intentions. Through the pioneering work of artists and researchers, music has been revealed as a particularly appropriate pathway of communication with the Cetacea.
To give only a few examples: Musician and founder of Interspecies Inc, Jim Nollman has engaged in many spontaneous jam sessions with wild orcas, resulting in unique interspecies dialogue. For the past 35 years, this organization has been developing a musical common ground between orcas and human beings and put into evidence how quickly the orcas are able to comprehend the structures and intentions of human music and then improvise with musicians in a meaningful way. Nollman recounts one specific encounter, which lasted about an hour: (the orca) ventured within a few feet of the speaker to initiate an animated call-and-response with the (electric guitar). Not unlike an improvising jazz musician, (the orca) quickly started to deconstruct the harmony and timing of a 12 bar blues tune.
As for Jack Kassewitz, himself a musician and co-founder of the Speak Dolphin Foundation, he brought into evidence the musical nature of dolphin language. By plugging in high-quality recordings of dolphin vocalizations in a musical software that acts as a tuning device, he stumbled upon a fascinating discovery: the software revealed the vocalizations to be richly layered - what the human ear only perceived as a single whistle was actually composed of layers upon layers of notes. He then enlisted the University of Miami, asking graduates of the Music Department to help him decipher the unorthodox pieces of sheet music. The result was bewildering, each piece revealing itself as an actual musical score. Far from being random, the notes arranged themselves into harmonics and surprisingly beautiful melodies. According to Kassewitz: "This is not to say that dolphins create music. Rather, this unexpected discovery brought forth the intrinsic musical qualities of dolphin language."
Deeply inspired by these findings, we wish to expand upon this wondrous legacy and collaborate with musicians of all persuasions to keep exploring music as an exchange interface with marine species. In addition, we will apply the EMF technology to simultaneously measure the emotional impact of the musical interaction on the musician, the cetacea and the environment. We will privilege directional hydrophones (rather than ambient ones) in order to capture the full scope and intention of the vocalizations emitted by the Cetacea to the musician.