zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog sound music Florian Nock

Our Humans’ Musical Past

Where does our musicality come from?

There are some human beings, myself included, who would argue that they could not live without music. It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy singing in a choir (like I did for many years), whistle or hum a tune to yourself or just listen to some good music: music is part of our lives. And it is important to highlight and make major events like inaugurations, celebrations, preparation for battle, funeral ceremonies, birthday parties, etc. more memorable. But what exactly is music and, in addition to humans, aren’t there musical animals as well, howling, warbling, singing, chirping, crooning their melodies into the world? —>


Nose Blowing

And other strange sounds

Sounds accompany many kinds of activities. The buzz of a mosquito in the bedroom comes to mind; and then there is the clashing of horns of mountain sheep in combat, the chewing of food, the knock on the door, sounds in courtship, territorial claims in birds, monkeys and other animals. etc. Come to think of it there aren’t really terribly many animals that are totally silent; worms perhaps and, with very few exceptions, spiders, but certainly not fish. —>

hear silence noise korea

To hear or not to hear

Those menacing sounds of silence

For the inauguration speech of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un we handful of western professors teaching in Pyongyang at that time were shepherded to the event and seated on a huge balcony overlooking the huge Kim Il-Sung Square with its hundreds of thousands of participants. It was obviously important for the local TV-bosses to show that there were also foreigners, who were celebrating and honouring the new leader. The only problem was we were placed only a few metres away from the enormous loudspeakers and throughout the great new leader’s speech I kept my ears covered with my hands. Continue reading