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Arp's avatar

Can animals appreciate music?

Asked by Arp (3516points) October 6th, 2010

It seems that one of my cat’s always chooses to relax with his ears pointed at the speaker when Chopin is on, which got me thinking, do animals have the capacity to appreciate music, or even organize sound vs. noise?

I have played harsh noise music, and another one of our cats, after the initial response of “gah wtf”, tend to relax in a similar method to the first, pointing his ears at the speaker, while the others get away as far as possible. Is it possible that cats might actually have musical preferences?

What about other animals? For example, frogs, who don’t have “ears” in the same way we do, and instead have a membrane type thing on the sides of their heads?

Maybe we have found our generations next musical critics, they don’t base their experience on how good the band’s last album was :P

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14 Answers

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

I don’t know if they appreciate it, but it does affect them. There was an experiment with rats where they were supposed to go through a maze with music playing. First, they tested out classical music, and rats could find their way out of it with no problem, and faster than if there were no music. Then they played hardcore rap music, and the rats went crazy, and were not able to find their way out of it. They repeated this same experiment several times and always came up with similar results. The rats responded better to classical music than rap.
As to whether they appreciate it, no one knows. But it does affect them.

Cruiser's avatar

My dog used to come lay at my feet when I played guitar.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It seems that mine do.I have two cats and a dog.They all like classical and will come onto the room where it is playing.The cats seem to have specific tastes in other music.If I have Norah Jones on,the female will come in and keep me company.If I play Howlin’ Wolf the male will visit.It’s kind of funny how they react.It’s like calling their name :)

bob_'s avatar

It is my understanding that they do. In fact, I know a joke about it:

A musician is flying over Africa, when his plane fails and he has to parachute. He lands safely, but is quickly surrounded by lions. He then remembers that music relaxes animals, so he takes out his violin, and starts playing for them. They sit and listen intently, when all of a sudden one jumps in from behind and mauls him to death. As the rest of the lions leave, one complains to another: “man, the deaf one always ruins the concerts for the rest”.

Seek's avatar

My husband’s old dog, Bub, loved music, and would sing (well, howl) along to his favourites. I think we’ve all seen birds that danced to songs on the radio.

lemming's avatar

Birds for one are very musical. They like when you play music and even sometimes bop around to it, and they copy tunes that you whistle to them. You can even see it in the wild, there not doing all that churping for our benifit. You should look up parrots whistling on you tube, try cockatiels, it’s very cute.

Cruiser's avatar

@lemming My parakeets used to light up when I played my music. They especially loved blues music…or maybe that was because that is mostly what I played. But they would whistle along and jump all over the place to the music. One would fly over the speaker and walk back and forth across the top bobbing his head. It was a riot to watch. I wish I owned a video camera back then.

Katexyz's avatar

I don’t know if they can appreciate the music, but I know my border collie likes to “sing” along with anyone playing the recorder.

crisw's avatar

Yes- there was actually a fascinating study done of parrots who dance to music.

downtide's avatar

Here’s a funny thing. Sitting in the car on a long journey with my dog, who’s called Xena. Then this song came on the radio and every time they sang “Have you seen her?” she pricked up her ears and stared hard at the speakers, because she thought they were singing about her.

Austinlad's avatar

My cat definitely responds to classical music. I often leave my clock radio on when I leave because I he likes to sleep near it. He’s especially fond of Rimsky-Catsakov, Poochini, Bitehoven and of course Wagner.

sliceswiththings's avatar

My cat used to howl in the car on the way to the vet, but if we put opera on she was quiet.

28lorelei's avatar

My dog howls her heart out whenever the accordion is played. She will sit right next to whoever is playing when she does this. It’s hilarious to watch. She also howls if staccato is played on violin (but nothing else for violin).

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