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musical cuckoos

The Sandman 09 Jun 09 - 04:28 AM
GUEST, topsie 09 Jun 09 - 04:54 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 09 Jun 09 - 06:04 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Jun 09 - 06:54 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 09 - 06:59 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 09 Jun 09 - 07:00 AM
Will Fly 09 Jun 09 - 07:05 AM
Ernest 09 Jun 09 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 09 Jun 09 - 07:16 AM
Tug the Cox 09 Jun 09 - 07:28 AM
Will Fly 09 Jun 09 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Gordon Tyrrall 09 Jun 09 - 09:05 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 09 - 09:25 AM
Will Fly 09 Jun 09 - 09:42 AM
Stringsinger 09 Jun 09 - 10:02 AM
Elijah Browning 09 Jun 09 - 10:36 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 09 Jun 09 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 09 Jun 09 - 11:38 AM
The Sandman 09 Jun 09 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jun 09 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 09 Jun 09 - 03:29 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 09 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Jun 09 - 07:00 PM
Rowan 09 Jun 09 - 08:02 PM
Tradsinger 10 Jun 09 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Jun 09 - 11:59 PM
Bernard 11 Jun 09 - 07:41 AM
Elijah Browning 11 Jun 09 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Jun 09 - 08:53 AM
The Sandman 11 Jun 09 - 01:02 PM
The Sandman 11 Jun 09 - 03:47 PM
The Sandman 11 Jun 09 - 03:53 PM
Kent Davis 11 Jun 09 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 12 Jun 09 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Lars Skriver, Denmark 16 Jun 09 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Jun 09 - 03:51 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM
Ebbie 16 Jun 09 - 06:10 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Jun 09 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Jun 09 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Jun 09 - 01:27 PM
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Subject: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:28 AM

I have heard two cuckoos this year,one was a d minor cuckoo,the other a c major cuckoo,fortunately they were singing at different times in different places,
could mudcatters repoort on their cuckoos,does anyone know whether,choice ofr intervals in cuckoo song is hereditary.
I suspect my d minor cuckoo,is the offspring aof aprevious d minor cuckoo,that I heard some years ago


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 04:54 AM

I have a little two-note whistle carved in the shape of a bird (bought in a charity shop, but it looks maybe eastern European). It makes what sounds to me like a perfect cuckoo call, though I'm not sure what key it's in - I don't suffer from perfect pitch I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:04 AM

Might also depend on which warbler they are reared by!


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:54 AM

Well Capt.

Are you SURE that was a D-minor and not a C#-minor?

Put in "cuckoo" at freesound.org and see which comes closest to your local ones....let me know.

I get something closer to an E .to. C#.....OR G to E...

.... diminished thirds

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 06:59 AM

d minor,definitely.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:00 AM

I haven't heard a cuckoo for sooooo many years. I used to hear them all the time when I was little...

They were saying on the news yesterday how our bird population is declining, robins and sparrows now, as well as songthrushes...and many others...The RSPB are asking people to record all the wildlife they see, to get a picture of what's happening around the country.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:05 AM

PEDANT ALERT.......

Hmmm... the cuckoo sings two notes (or at least the one round may way does) - so how can you tell from the interval what the chord could be? Are you mentally imagining the 3rd note of a triad...

(gets coat)


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Ernest
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:15 AM

Ask here

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:16 AM

I forgot the blue clicky ... few are willing to cut and paste.

Free Sound Project

About 30 cuckoo sounds - some short some long.

Which one appears in a Major interval to you Captain?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:28 AM

The first Cuckoo I heard was diminished, the second augmented. The third was completely cukoo....demented.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:25 AM

I think I must have been demented. The "PEDANT ALERT" bit in my last post was describing me - not The Captain!


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,Gordon Tyrrall
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:05 AM

Dont want to be a pedant either - but I dont think "diminished" is the right musical term.I think the cuckoo sings something like G to E - a minor third (it doesnt mean its singing a minor chord though of course).You need a third note to suggest a major/minor chord.
I heard my first one last weekend while rock climbing at stanage but as I was half-way up Hollybush Gully at the time I couldnt care less about what notes it was singing.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:25 AM

fair point Gordon,so i will restate,and say I have heard two different cuckoos one singing an interval of a major third and one singing an in terval of a minor third.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:42 AM

Catch 'em while you can, Dick - the male bird is the singer and, when he's found a mate and enjoyed connubial bliss, he stops singing.

Silence is the sound of a satisfied cuckoo.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:02 AM

My favorite is the version Jean Ritchie used to sing. Instead of the two note minor third,
it starts out with an interval of a fourth at the beginning of the tune which I find the most attractive.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Elijah Browning
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:36 AM

I've recorded morning doves in preparation for a version of The Cuckoo\Pretty Polly I've been working on. Near as I could gather, there are no cuckoos in North America, at least not as far north as I am. The morning dove is the American cousin and the song crossed the pond and came to nest in the mountains of Appalachia. I'm out on a limb on this. All puns aside, I am looking for corrections if I'm wrong on any of the above, ornithologically or musically. Maybe I've got it right. Maybe I'm just cuckoo.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:13 AM

Starlings and other birds have also been known to imitate tractors, road drills, car horns etc..etc...


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:38 AM

And there's The Lyre Bird


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 12:31 PM

RIFLEMAN,I used to hear a starling that imitated my squeaking wheel barrow,and another one that imitated the telephone,which was very annoying,as I would be running inside to answer it.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 03:12 PM

I've heard cuckoos on the Elbe River in germany and in Ireland - a rural hotel in County Clare. Birds don't have to follow our scale, you know. They can sing intervals 'between the the keys' of an instrument. I believe that the few cuckoos I've heard were singing almost-major intervals.

There are American cuckoos, but they don't sing cuckoo. They make an unmusical 'gluck.'


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 03:29 PM

The Clare cuckoos that frequent the valley around our house (at least five individuals) all sing a major third interval, not all at the same pitch though.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM

"The first Cuckoo I heard was diminished, the second augmented. The third was completely cukoo....demented. "

A cuckoo Cuckcoo..I like the sound of that, Tug. :0)


The Canadian Cuckoo

The Australian Cuckoo

The Cuckoo with no voice

A Cuckoo fiddlin' around in the nest...

The Clog Dancing Cuckoo

:0)


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 07:00 PM

Thanks for the links, Lizzie. I enjoyed the music.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:02 PM

In Oz, birds in various types of forests and woodlands will start singing very early in the morning; the phenomenon is known as "the dawn chorus". Research by ornithologists with tape recorders has shown that all the birds in a particular area will pitch their own calls relative to the first bird that starts the calling; when a taped call is played (using a variable pitch playback) before the first bird starts, the pitch of all the subsequent chorus is varied according to that of the first call.

Perhaps the Capt.'s cuckoos have been promiscuous in their listening?

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Tradsinger
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:53 PM

From the recordings I heard, cuckoos nearly alway sing a minor 3rd interval, from E to C sharp or perhaps a little flatter than C sharp.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 11:59 PM

But if there's a rock dove cooing A's in the forest, then C# to E is major, part of an A major chord.

If the rock dove coos G#, then it's a minor chord, C# E G#, an inversion of C# minor.

Hamlet was right - there are more things in heaven and earth than our known to our philosophy.

(It was Hamlet, right?)


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 07:41 AM

It must be more than forty years since I last heard a real cuckoo...

Does 'D Minor'/'C Major' refer to the drop from 3rd to root, or 5th to 3rd?

When composers include a cuckoo call, or suggestion of one, in a piece of music, they tend to assign it to the 5th - 3rd of a triad (or implied triad)...

Haydn's Toy Symphony being just one example... She Begs, She Moans (!!) is another, thought by many to have been 'borrowed' by Oh Carol Anne from an English song 'The Cuckoo'.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Elijah Browning
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:50 AM

Thanks leeneia. I'll stick to morning doves then. We have plenty of "rock doves" too, otherwise known here simply as pigeons or "rats with wings"


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:53 AM

I know what you mean.

I saw some video recently where people were actually feeding them! Shudder!


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:02 PM

the drop was from third to one.
I recorded a version of the cuckoo[an English version from Dorset],on my first lp, The Dunmow Flitch with concertina and clarinet,I am trying to get it up on youtube.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:47 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGoYfU2-A54
here is me singing it back in 1980.
I havent listened to this for 25 years,quite a surprise


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:53 PM

IN a letter appearing in NATURE, vol. xxii. p. 76, I stated thatâ€"“All the cuckoos here intone in a minor key except one, which alone does not flatten the 3rd of the tonic. The key is in all cases precisely D of concert pitch, as proved by a tuning-fork, and the first note is F on the fifth lineâ€쳌. This year I find that, while the cuckoos here generally intone in D minor, as above, there is one again that intones in D major, and two others in C major and C minor respectively. Some that I casually heard in other places in the neighbourhood intoned in D minor.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Kent Davis
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:55 PM

Elijah Browning,

Here is a picture, a range map, and a recording of the yellow-billed cuckoo, which is widely distributed in North America:http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/308/_/Yellow-billed_Cuckoo.aspx

The black-billed cuckoo is also widely distributed:http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/307/_/Black-billed_Cuckoo.aspx

Hope you find it useful. I don't know enough about music to know whether they are singing a D minor chord or whatever, but I do that "the cuckoo, she's a pretty bird, and she warbles as she flies".

Kent


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 05:15 AM

Ahoy there captain...you're looking might spry for being 130 plus years old.



Nature Magazine has an amazing search feature -

perhaps you can give a better compass bearing than the one your listed -

I cannot find your letter anywhere.



Much less in one from the 1870's - your reference noted above. - NATURE, vol. xxii. p. 76



Current Issue
>
Volume 459 Number 7248


http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html

Nature - Current Issue - Vol. 459



Sincerely,

Gargoyle



Might say - you are a true phenomenium of Nature - never having a last good-bye....so to speak.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,Lars Skriver, Denmark
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:32 PM

Hello Englishmen! I'm very glad to see that this topic is being discussed somewhere in the world.
        I'm a Dane, living in Jutland. I've tried in vain to get information in Denmark about the cuckoo interval. I have observed that the Danish cuckoos most often sing a diminished third, as is to be heard in F. Delius'orchestral music "On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring" or as the two first notes in "When Johnny comes marching home" or in "The keeper would a-hunting go". But this spring I have once very clearly heard a cuckoo singing again and again a quarter – as the two first notes in "Hey ho, nobody home" or the two first words "We'll take (a cup of kindness yet)"in the last line of Robert Burns' song.
        Can it be true that there is no printed matter to be read about these varieties and whether they are dependant on heredity or time af day/year or weather or geography or something else?
        Please excuse my poor English. I hope it's understandable.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:51 PM

LARS - Thank you - FOR A VERY SIMPLE way to explain the intervals by relating them to well known - (almost universal) tunes.

Perhaps - you could lend your year to the "Blues Scale" discussion of intervals - I have been cogitating for examples (specifically my search - midi already in the DT - for Mr. Seed)

Free Sound Project

http://www.freesound.org

Has several recordings from Denmark - about thrirt in all

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 05:22 PM

listen to the cuckoo hornpipe, and the cuckoo Waltz, major thirds.
Cuckoos do that as well.

quote Gargoyle[Might say - you are a true phenomenium of Nature - never having a last good-bye....so to speak.]
Gargoyle,I have you rumbled,lay off stalking me,and sending me emails about the last Goodbye.


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:10 PM

"I am looking for corrections if I'm wrong on any of the above, ornithologically or musically. Maybe I've got it right." Elijah Browing

OK! Here goes: It's "mourning" dove, not morning dove. :)


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 06:30 PM

Sometime ago there was a plague of blackbirds (in Newcastle I think) who learned to imitate car alarms - bastards.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 07:29 PM

Capt. - are you sure that magazine you were an authority for was not: Au Natural and devoted to a featherless cuckoo frequenting northern Europe in the summer?

Sincerely
Gargoyle

Who calls it livin' when no woman's given - to a man that's been liven - 130 years? (Gerschwin)


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Subject: RE: musical cuckoos
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 01:27 PM

Kent Davis, thanks for the links to info on American cuckoos. Their songs are more complex than I thought.

People with sensitive ears need to turn down the volume before clicking on the song of the Yellow Billed.

Here's a link to my favorite cuckoo song:

melanie the delightful


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