Monday, May 16, 2016

Music For Dogs, Anyone?

Given that Music for Cats was a runaway success, will Laurie Anderson’s Music For Dogs be the next big thing in the species appropriate music scene? 

By: Ringo Bones 
She is not just the “mere” widow of the late, great Lou Reed; Laurie Anderson is also renowned for her inventive use of technology – from her 1981 hit O Superman to her appointment as NASA’s first artist-in-residence. Laurie Anderson is indeed one of America’s most daring creative pioneers her eclectic multidisciplinary career has spanned the worlds of art, theatre and experimental music and has seen her create works as a writer, director, visual artist and vocalist. But will her Music for Dogs for this year’s Brighton Festival be the next big thing when it comes to the still unoccupied scene of species appropriate music? 

“Wouldn’t it be great if you’re playing a concert and you look out and everyone’s a dog,” Laurie Anderson mused while waiting backstage with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. True to form, Anderson made her outlandish dream come true: first at the Sydney Opera House and again in New York’s Times Square earlier this year, making headlines around the world. The 20-minute long piece has been specifically designed for the canine ear, including frequencies audible only to dogs, as well as other sounds for humans to enjoy. It looks like David Teie’s Music For cats is not the only happening thing in the species appropriate music scene. 

Speaking of how dogs react to music, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization - or CSIRO - published research results back in 2012 on the result of a study conducted in cooperation with various veterinarians across Australia on the subject of how dogs react to music. Upbeat music / up-tempo music tend to make dogs more restless and animated while quieter slow tempo music – especially those with violins and cellos by Bach and Mozart – tend to make dogs more relaxed and rested and Laurie Anderson’s 20 minute piece falls into this category. One of the unexpected results of the CSIRO research, dogs have shown a preference to campfire music with guitar and harmonica because they not only howl along with the music but also smile if they get tired with singing along with the piece.