Artifact Title: Animal Songs

Medium: Sound

Creators: Karin Edvardsson Johansson, Elin Lisslass

Publisher: Caprice

Album Title: Lockrop & Vall├ątar

Year: 2011

Image credit: Public domain

TERA Curator: Gabriel Dharmoo

Animal Songs

Take a moment to listen to this video. The sound you hear is a Swedish form of singing during cow herding. The high-pitched voice is melodic and folk-like, some listeners imagine it must be a flute. The tinkling sounds are produced from the cows moving, engaging the mechanism of bells around their neck. Some listeners imagine it to be a percussionist, delicately improvising with an elaborate set of bells. The grunt-like sound is the mooing of a cow, but some listeners imagine it to be another human in pain. Without the context, the cultural references and the visual representation of a sonic-landscape, interpretations of what a sound is can vary widely. We tend to familiarize sounds by associating them with what is most obvious to us. But animals, such as cows, have some level of musical or sonic agency. What is the boundary between intentional and accidental musicking, when the agents of a sound ecology are non-human?