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Lydian Birdsong

In my backyard, two black-capped chickadees sing an unintentional Lydian song that sounds like “Better Man” by Pearl Jam. Click on the score below to listen and loop.


The Eb-bird sings his phrase while the F-bird answers, and the Eb-bird answers that; then there is a measure of silence. Are any females listening to these guys? In such a situation, which of them is truly the better man?

Los Doggies covered the chickadee song on the album e’rebody using the whole tone interval, but above the birds are singing minor thirds--which sound like the 3rd and 5th of a major chord. In the crowded urban areas, the birds’ interval tends to widen, while in the woods, they sing the smaller whole tone. Basically, city-birds have something to prove.

My blackheads sing Pearl Jam and take other requests off Vitalogy in exchange for bagel seeds. Somehow these two competing males are much more songful than the two local church bells racing to announce the dissonant hour.

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