MetaSB2. Can dogs hear music?
Reasons why dogs CANNOT hear music as music
The answer to the question can dogs hear music as music is "No." There are many good reasons to support this absolute denial.
It is true, of course, that dogs can hear the sounds during musical production, but this is insufficient since recognition of the sounds AS music is required. Or is it?
Suppose you are listening to very odd sounds as an average adult human. The sounds are highly unusual and occasionally drop out from your hearing altogether, and then they return. You can discern no particular pattern of musical interest to you during your experience of the sonic event. It turns out you were listening to ancient Martian music. The Martians had excellent hearing even into the thirty thousand Hertz range beyond human hearing capacities. These Martian abilities to hear in higher frequencies explains the dropouts of sound while you were listening because you can only hear to around twenty thousand Hertz.
Did you just listen to and hear Martian music? Well, you definitely heard something, but did you hear music.
➢ Is it required that the individual hear it AS music to be perceiving music?
Consider a more down to Earth example. Suppose you have never heard Gamelan music. Here's a sample (click on it) thanks to YouTube.com, where not only can you listen to it, but you can also learn its history: History of Gamelan Music. Some people may not recognize this as music but think it is just someone banging on metal. Suppose that happens. Did the person hear Gamelan music? Most people's answer would be, "Yes, the person heard Gamelan music, but they just didn't recognize it as music."
➢ Why can't the dog situation be like this one?
The reply is that the typical adult human has the capacity to hear music, even if she or he doesn't recognize it as music, but the dog does not have the relevant capabilities. The human who did not understand what he was listening to might change her or his or their mind. Someone could explain to the person the history of Gamelan music, and music theorists could convince the person that what she is listening to has a lot of types of connections within and between the elements so that we can find comparable structures each supporting the position that the Gamelan sonic event is a musical product.
➢ So, what are the relevant capacities an individual needs to be capable of hearing music as music?
Behavioral evidence for the dog never hearing music as music is that no dog ever responds by dancing in rhythm to the music or has any other behavior that would suggest or indicate that the dog hears these sounds as music. Dogs don't have a favorite tune, for example.
➢ What are the requisite characteristics to qualify as a possible music perceiver?
We know for sure what counts as a satisfactory sufficient condition for music perception, and that is to have normal humans of adequate age and comprehension and regular sensory abilities, such as can hear sounds.
Reasons why cows CAN hear music as music
Surprising to this dogs 🐕 cannot hear music as music thesis, it may well be that cows do because there is some evidence that may indicate such.
It turns out that when slow, soothing, and consistent music by Mozart or Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" or "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. is played to cows in their stalls that this increases milk production by 3%. The effect is not achieved with fast, disruptive music. Let us presume that these are established facts.
As philosophers, we can just take off from here and find out what's true later. Suppose that milk production went down when listening to intense Black Sabbath recordings. Would this show that cows don't like or enjoy listening to Black Sabbath over Mozart or R.E.M.? Well, it would not have to prove this. All we are agreed upon so far is which music increases or decreases milk production in cows. Yet by itself these circumstances fail to prove that these are cow's preferences, meaning what they prefer when given a choice between two or more items.
To prove this, we know that if cows get small shocks of uncomfortable electric charge compared to much larger shocks that this will cause milk production to go down more than softer shocks. It does not follow from this that Bossie the cow prefers the more minor electric shocks since Bossie's preferences are for no electric shocks at all.
➢ Are there any good examples of sounds perceived as music that most (humans) would reject those sounds as music if not for musical intentions from the performer producing the sounds?
- * Jack hammers: Listening to 12 hours of jackhammers is not likely going to sound like music to anyone. However, if Peter Gabriel during his performance of his song "Sledgehammer" were to incorporate a jackhammer snippet in for percussive effects, then the same snippet of sound that most people (that's everybody really) would reject and deny was music, may now find within this musical context of the performance of "Sledgehammer" that these sledgehammer sounds count as music under these circumstances.
- * Banging on can lids by Drummer intentionally making music using old plastic buckets upside down
- * The Michigan State band playing "Ring in the Holidays/Carol of the Bells" using some sounds that workers produce at a construction worksite.
- * Gene Kelly (middle height), Dan Dailey (tallest), and Michael Kidd tap-dancing starting at 2:06 minutes into video clip in a musical way with trash can lids on one foot.
These are examples of manipulating for music purposes more typically heard as non-musical sounds. This means these sounds in their more ordinary environments may yet remain non-music. It is only when they can be strung together in a musical way that they at least appear to be music such as dog's woofs singing out "Jingle Bells."
- * Perhaps another example that meets the criteria comes from the scenario envisaged in the Martian High Frequency Objection. In this scenario Martians can hear music that consists of high enough frequencies that no humans can hear them. Therefore if the judges are human they all agree they cannot hear any music being played. Therefore the criteria have been met. All humans agree they hear no music meeting the second criteria yet Martians can hear this high frequency music as musical sounds. This then are sounds perceived as music that most (human) judges would reject as being music (that they can perceive with their ears alone.
Reasons why cows CANNOT hear music as music
The question of whether cows can hear music as music turns out to be both a philosophical as well as a scientific question. We can resolve the philosophical question by deciding what is meant by music and importantly determining what constitutes non-music and their exemplars.
It is incredibly difficult to characterize what perceptual capabilities, to what degree and to what level of cognitive processing from fully cognizant of one's cognizance, etc, to unconscious mental states to the even more unconscious non-mental states that constitute high level cognitive/perceptual processing of edge detection in the visual system, and so on.
Even limiting the question of music perception only to members of the species homo sapiens, when do humans during their phylogenetic development become perceivers of music?
It is said humans shall we say show interest in the drumbeat may come from whenever we become perceptually aware and at least conscious thereby satisfying a necessary condition for hearing/perceiving music can hear the mother's heart beat while still in the womb prior to birth and this fact is sure to be true of virtually all human fetuses who survive birth.
So, do the babies perceive the mother's heart beat as music? Not if the mother's heartbeat does not qualify as music, they don't.
Does a mother's heartbeat, as perceived by most surviving fetuses, qualify as music such that it could then be perceived as music?
What if we have conclusive reasons to think that a mother's heart beat does not qualify as music, does this prevent a perceiver as perceiving it as music?
Is there a difference between what qualifies as music and yet could still be perceived as music?
The answer to these last couple of questions is unclear.
- Consider the made up scenario based on similar examples actually recorded in jazz history books on Charlie Parker's musical ears. Charlie Parker often listened to sounds as if they were in a musical context, as inspired from a true story where Parker might sometimes exclaim that was a B♭ after hearing a spoon dropped on a metal tray.
- Yoko Ono's "Toilet piece/Unknown" where she uses flushing toilet sounds (presumably edited together) forcing one to reflect upon the musical aspects of sonic flushing events, perhaps even hearing it in a new way in a musical context embedded inside of what all agree counts as music, even if still not such great music, i.e., disliked by many as music.
The philosophical question becomes more scientific when we ask what cognitive and perceptual abilities do normal humans have that permits them to perceive music as music. What properties determine how human persons with self-consciousness and with standard perceptual abilities within a wide range, i.e., 20/20 vision is not presumed as required for music perception.
Resolving the scientific question whether cows perceive music as music
We perform the following double blind experiment. Play the cows soothing sounds that are not music and see how this affects milk production. If one can achieve the same increases or decreases by playing non-musical sounds that are equivalent in some determined manner and achieve the same milk production results with non-music that sounds comparable in some determined ways to music, then there is less reason to believe the cows are being effected by music and not just by pleasing or agreeable to cows 🐄 sonic non-musical events that lower their stress levels and increase milk production.
Ockham's razor and parsimony (simplicity) considerations require that one should prefer the explanation that cows do not perceive music as music if science can show that comparable non-musical sonic situations for cows have similar effects as music does on milk production.
- As reported at Modern Farmer magazine, third paragraph.
- When cows were played “soothing songs like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" [or] "Everybody Hurts," they showed an increase of three percent in their milk production. The Stress Free Cows: Whether you know it or not, even animals are stressed. According to the study, cows find it easy to release oxytocin, which is a hormone that is related to the milking process, when they listen to music. This is because they feel their stress reducing second by second when they have music in their ears. It distracts them and allows them to stay calm when the milking process is on. The magazine suggests songs like Concerto for Flute and Harp in C Major by Mozart and Perfect Day by Lou Reed in order to get more milk from the cows. Such soothing tones ensure that the cows are properly distracted from being stressed so that their milk productivity is improved. ” ("Researchers Says That Cows Give More Milk When Listening To Music" paragraphs two and three at Mindblowingfacts.com)