|Roger Searle Payne|
|Born||January 29, 1935 (age 87) New York City , New York , US|
|Education||Harvard University ( BA , 1957) Cornell University ( PhD , 1961)|
|Occupation||Zoologist, researcher, science administrator, conservationist|
|Employer||Ocean Alliance , President|
|Known for||Discovery of whale song amongst humpback whales|
|Spouse(s)||Katharine (Katy) Boynton ( m.1960; div.1985) Lisa Harrow ( m.1991) |
|Parent(s)||Edward Payne Elizabeth Payne|
Roger Searle Payne, an American biologist and environmentalist, was born on January 29, 1935. He is most known for his discovery, in 1967, of whale singing among humpback whales, which he made in collaboration with Scott McVay. Payne went on to become a prominent player in the global movement to put an end to the practice of commercial whaling.
Do whales make music?
Player That Is Built In According to scientific research, male humpback whales collaborate to compose songs. Katy Payne was the first person to recognize the variations in pitch and rhythm that were occurring in the collective calls as complicated music – eerie songs that were constantly changing. Katy said in her interview with NPR, “I had never heard anything like it.”
Did you know that whale songs can be translated into music?
0 License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic When researchers first started examining the clicks, moans, and screams of humpback whales, it needed the eye of a mathematician to see a pattern, says David Rothenberg at Medium. The soaring, ocean-wide singing of humpback whales is frequently compared to music.
Rothenberg tells how a network of underwater microphones that had originally been constructed to detect Soviet submarines was the first to bring whale music to the ears and brains of whale biologist Roger Payne and assistant Scott McVay. Hella McVay, who is a mathematician, was able to see the structure of the cetaceans’ cries when her husband laid out the printed sonograms (which map the pitch and texture of sound) on the floor of his living room.
“Amazing! It keeps happening! “— I quote her. The group created a notation system and then used hand tracing to recreate the sonograms, which allowed them to obtain a reduced version of the structure. In August of 1971, such study was initially published in the journal Science.
- The study of whale songs, however, has only become more in-depth since that time.
- Scientists have come to an understanding of the process by which songs are transmitted from one living species to another across huge ocean basins.
- This process results in each of the 11 populations of humpback whales throughout the world having their own distinct song.
The songs are also a continuing source of motivation. Recently, Rothenberg, a musician, collaborated with Michael Deal, a graphic designer, to convert whale melodies into musical notation. Payne and McVay had previously drew designs that resembled notation from Gregorian chants from the 10th century, then Rothenberg and Deal pushed the shapes a little farther in order to make them more similar.
- ” We built a visual notation system, where each discrete sound unit in a specific population’s common song is allocated its own stylized form and color,” Rothenberg adds.
- “We used this system to analyze the songs of populations throughout the world.” A new CD that features the work of the partnership in both music and design has just been made available.
This is a brief excerpt from a song that was recorded in its entirety by Paul Knapp Jr. in 1992, just off the coast of Tortola. The whole version may be found in Rotenberg’s article, as well as in the following section of Deal’s online shop: Michael Deal When listening to a recording of a humpback whale song that Rothenberg made off the coast of Maui in March of 2010, the method makes repeating patterns in the song more noticeable to human hearing.
- Rothenberg has a one-of-a-kind connection with whales because of his work.
- Not only does he record their songs and make an effort to notate them, but he also occasionally plays along with them.
- In an article published by The New York Times, he discusses his mission to accompany singing humpback whales with clarinet music and convey their sounds beneath the seas.
When I immerse my microphone and speaker in the water to interact with the whales, I almost always get a terrible sense of isolation. Here I am, generating a peculiar sound and broadcasting it underwater in the vain hope that a whale would recognize the connection between what I’m singing and what I’m playing.
The majority of the time, they choose to ignore me completely; nevertheless, at the best of moments, and such a moment is just as uncommon as playing along with human musicians, we could make some genuine touch with one another. On his album “Whale Music,” he includes a recording of one of his all-time favorite moments.
In addition to this, he explains how whale songs may often sound rather peculiar, contrary to what the majority of people believe. It is more “electronic than melodic, a broad range of the types of strange noises that humans call music today,” and the soaring shouts are interspersed by bizarre squeaks and groans, clicks and moans that make it more “electronic than melodic.” Finds Worth Sharing Music Whales Recommendations for Video
Did the Paynes record Whale Music?
The sound of a whale crying out into the water may often seem ethereal, beautiful, and otherworldly all at the same time. In the case of humpback whales, there is in fact something that is astonishingly calculated about their songs; this is something that scientists were not even aware of until around 50 years ago, and it is something that they still do not completely understand today.
During that time period in 1968, Katy Payne, who was a researcher in acoustic biology at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and her husband Roger, who was also a biologist, met Frank Watlington, who was an engineer for the United States Navy, while on vacation in Bermuda. They were introduced to one another by a common acquaintance who had the expectation that the Paynes and the Watlingtons may get along well due to their shared interest in whales.
Only a few years prior, in 1965, humpback whales had already reached the point where they were considered to be in danger of extinction, prompting the International Whaling Commission to declare a temporary stop on commercial killing. Watlington welcomed the pair onto his vessel and played the recording he had made of a male humpback whale while working with hydrophones, which are specialized types of underwater microphones.
- The recording may be found here.
- The Navy was employing the hydrophones at the time in the process of listening for hostile submarines using them.
- Katy stated to NPR, “I had never heard anything even somewhat like to it.” “Oh my God, each of us had tears rolling down our cheeks.
- Because the noises are so beautiful, so strong, and so changeable, we were just utterly captivated and awed by them.
We found out later that each of those noises came from a single kind of animal. Just one animal.” Watlington had been careful to conceal the recordings out of concern that the songs of the humpback whales might be used to track them down and kill them.
Instead of keeping them for himself, he gave them to the Payne family, who later discovered that there was more to learn from them than anybody had first thought. Katy created spectrograms, which are solely visual representations of frequency spectrums, in an effort to better “see” the sounds. It was in the spectrograms that she first became aware of a structure as well as what seemed to be melodies and rhythms in the sound.
As she would come to learn, the vocal patterns of humpback male whales (they are the only ones who sing) aren’t random, and whales in a group will sing a song in nearly the same way as one another. The whales’ songs will evolve over time, changing in rhythm, tone, and duration as a result of the whales listening to and responding to one another.
To put it another way, it’s almost as if they’re participating in one continuous session of songwriting. Katy Perry suggested that the reason the songs alter could have something to do with—what else?—attracting females, but researchers aren’t quite certain why the tunes shift. In a manner somewhat unlike to human courtship practices, the males may get rewards for their inventions.
It was difficult to provide evidence that this occurrence was in fact taking place. The Paynes spent years traveling the world and recording whales while also creating their own music at night. They were inspired by the sounds of the ocean as they traveled.
The album of humpback whale songs that was recorded by Roger, Katy, and Frank was published in 1970 by Capitol Records. To this day, it is the nature sounds CD that has sold the most copies in the history of recorded music. Several years later, during a gathering of Greenpeace in Vancouver, an anti-war activist played the whale songs for the director of the organization at the time, Rex Weyler.
The young group at the time was seeking for a cause to rally around in order to get environmental activities off the ground. That was the moment when Save the Whales was established. Fast forward to earlier this year, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) suggested revising the method in which humpback whales are categorized in accordance with the Endangered Species Act.
How do humpback whales sing?
According to experts who have created a mathematical approach in order to study the secrets of whale music, humpback whales utilize their own unique syntax, also known as grammar, in the intricate melodies that they sing. According to the group’s findings, human beings are the only other creatures except whales who employ hierarchical structure in their language.
- This means that phrases are nested inside bigger, more repeating themes.
- This approach is reminiscent to scientific recommendations made in the 1970s; nevertheless, the new computer analysis promises to corroborate this and offer an objective measurement of the structure and complexity of the songs.
- Male humpback whales are responsible for producing songs that can span anywhere from six to thirty minutes.
These vocalizations change quite a little from one season to the next, and during mating season, it is believed that they aid attract potential female companions. Marine scientists’ attention has been captivated for decades by the spooky sound they make and the patterns they create.