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The Washington times. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1902-1939, September 22, 1907, Magazine Section, Image 48

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026749/1907-09-22/ed-1/seq-48/

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F T 11
U I ft3Vte W RI I iJ t lu 1 1i 1i i SJC of
i l t y i i
m 1UY t
f i 7 j f f
rW QULD you you set seta setwilful
wilful 1 J a trap to catch catchI atch atcha
r sutlbeam sutlbeamJV beam beamI beam1Yo
11111113 I a s sun u n
I No JV 0 sootier s oner perhaps perhapsf perhapswould perhapswould
f would you you think of under undertaking u undertakiug 4 r rtakiug
takiug to reduce a birds birdsf birdsS01lgto birdssong
f song S01lgto to cold type or scorbig scor scorI scor scorillg
I lil big by exact musical nota notalion notafion a aLion
lion the joyous trills and andJ acrdwarblirrgs nd ndfarbliizgs
J warbllngs = that tlz thinfill t fill the for forWfl forest f or orest
Wfl est and the meadow meadowYet meadowYet meadowYet
Yet for years Henry HenryOldys H Henryr enr enr07dys
r Oldys assistant biologist biologistof biologistof biologistof
of the the United Uni ed States De Department Depmt11i DePartmcnt ¬
partment pmt11i llt cif o f Agriculture Agriculturehas A gricliitureS
has S been doing that thatFor thatI thatFor
I For years ears he has been beenlistening beenisr beenlistening
listening isr l ing with wirTz the soul sou of pfa o ofa f fa
a poet the ear e ear r of a musi musician mllsidOlI musicram ¬
cian cram and ih the note lI note i book of a scientist saiclItistto to the themelody tICmelodyot themelody
melody melodyot of birds birds jotting jotti lgdown down their songsnoting songs songstwting songs songszotillg
noting g guntil comparing drawing drarw lig inferences inferencesuntil illfcr lccs lccsuntil
until today he probably knows more moreabou moreabouNATtJRoitLLY about aboutATURALLY aboutN
ATURALLY a birds sang scngmeans means a whole whololot whololotm lot lotmojje lotmo
NATtJRoitLLY N mojje m mo < < 5e a to Mr Oldys than to the t e untutored untutoredlistener I11ntutoredI untutoredlistener
listener listenerTo listenerTo I tencr tencrTO
To him thotwo the two beautifully boautltuUyclear clear but rather ratherplalntle ratherplaInUe ratherplalnU
plalntle plalnU e notes noto of the chickadees love song or the thebreezy thebreezy thobreezy
breezy bravuras bray bravuras ras of th6 Ul Carolina wren or or the mourn mournful mournful mournful ¬
ful tones of the wood peewee Inevitably In vltnbly suggest all alleorts allIorta allcore
core of Intimate details of the birds habits and ap appearance appea appearanco ¬
pearance pea co incidents incidents of ottholr their courtship their t clr rivalries rivalriestheir dalrlestheir rivalriestheir
their homabtiildTng om bblk ng their theIrparental parental caros carosVery carosVery caresVery
Very oftart ot ho wrote some time ago we are arewont arewont areWont
wont to asorlbe to a a bird a character In keeping keeping with withthe wIth wIththe withthe
the quality of its voice voiceOttio voiceThG voicehe
Ottio he sonorous tones of the grosbeak rosbealt suggest suggeststrength suggest6trengthand suggeststrength
strength 6trengthand and power thoflulat the quiet meditative notes of the thewood thoood thewood
wood ood thrush seem to indicate a philosophical phU sophleal sober soberminded sqber sqbermlnaed soberminded
minded nature ature the therich > rich tender contralto of the blue bliiebird bhiebird bluebird
bird is suggestive of ora a peaceful affectionate dlsposi dlspositlon dlsposltlon dlsposition
tlon the plaintive melody of tho wood peewee seems seemsto fl seems seemsto c cto
to be the sad sigh sl hotthe of the griefworn grI rwotn spuU spuUSeme soul soulSeme soulSeme
Seme birds bIrd birdsthe the song sparrow sparrow sparro the bobolink 1IQbOUnknnd 1IQbOUnknndthe and andthe andthe
the house hou e wren for fqr Instance Inllta Instanceappear 1c npV appfiar 8ri to bobubbling bobubblingover b be bub bubbling bubblingover Ung Ungover
over with 1th happiness Others such as the meadow meadowlark meadowlark meadowlarkud
lark larkud fend a d field field sparrow are apparently oppressed with withthe withthe withthe
the weight of this lifes sorrows Borrows s rrows while while the poor little littleecreecU littlezcreecl littlescreeck
ecreecU owl utters a wail that might come from the thedepths thedepths thedepths
depths of amoet profound despondency despondencyAll despondencyII
All II the popular renderings ren erIngs Into words or syllables syllablesof
of the calls lls or1 orsonss songs of certain birds as for instance
AeBeb A8 > ie HBebWhte Beb White of otthequall ofthe the quail are ate largely 1ar o y a n question questionof Quc qucstl n not nof
of livtf 1Sb18 r 1rrt imaginationgven Imagination ImaginationBvon glQetlon glQetlonmvun
> Bvon the whlppeprwlll wiilp rw1U according to t Mr Oldys Oldysdoes Jdyii JdyiiOM y ydoeR
does doeR OM not really rePJt1dautand dt dtiand demand iand the tb corporal punishment v nlshment of ofWilliam orWUliam ofwiiliam
William WUliam Hfs B1 pong ohg has bas five notes tos mote frequently frequentlythan freqUO frequentlythan4hree tly tlythan
than4hree than threo o and Jhobas ho has been b n known tojropeat to 1repeat r leht iit lt I 1160 1160timed lO lOtimes l lt1me
times t1me apparently without Jth8 t stopping for o breath breathOne b breathone eat eatOne
One of Mr Oklys Ok1 s favorites Is s jhe the bc cardinal cardlnql gros grosbeak gro grobeak grosbeak ¬
beak whose iulland full and chlstfo chlstfoIB
OS6 strong remarkably clear teldstlois hlst Q QIs
Is only to be heard h xd at his home In Znthe the wodds words o ds Mr MrOldys Mr
Oldys described do < r1be4 him very verym much ch as as a musical critic criticmight cr critic criticmight Uc Ucmight
might a human concert anger as having havlslgpowerful havlslgpowerfulbet powerful powerfulyet owlrtulret
yet velvety tones and singing without witho t soilconscious soilconsciousness soltcO1SOIousfleas aolkconsclous aolkconsclousriess ¬
ness fleas tricks or mannerisms mannerIsmsa a song ong ong as as brilliant as nsliLs nsliLsAPpearanoe his hisAppearance kilnnppearanoo
nppearanooThe APpearanoeThe Appearance AppearanceTh
Th The groaijdak o1ak has none of the unpleaslrigtonos unpleiuslric lton tones s and and andcracked
cracked notes of the thernther rather overratod wood woorthrushfhe woorthrushfhesings thrush t Johe Johesing > he heclngs
sing wjth th less Ie premeditation pre necJI t tlon and an his quality qualltylsnot qun11ty qualitynot Is Isnot
not so thin thinTo thinTo thinTo
To be besure sure sur the wood ood thrush has some good good phrases phrasesand phras phrasesand s sand
and occasltmali occasionally occaSiO 1al1 some beautiful1 low chest notes notes but b bttt9s t tprefaces
9s t prefaces each phrase ph o with th several clucking cluckini notes
to T I Icr > +
cr eI GWh s > t i j fL fLg
g 5 7W 2 jl 3
7 r r
atdrrr r di Z O arse arsebird he kj clapJ clapJbird
bird music musicthall than any air man in the country countrjTo countryTo
To the initiated Mr Oldys declares declaresbird declaresbird declaresbird
bird melody has a coherent musical struc structure structure strucLure ¬
ture It is J the result of evolution e1Jolul on j there thereis thereis thereis
is evidence that its development m mparallel has been beenparallel beelzparallel
parallel to that of o human 1m man music music1 music along the thesame thesali thesautelines
same sali sautelines e lines and in the same general direc direction direction direction ¬
tion tion
Each feathered vocalist has his own ownrepertoire ow owrepertoire own ownrepertoire
repertoire and his own individual ind ividual degree degreeof degreeor degreeoff
off of or musical skill Sonie birds of o f a specks speckscan Jpeciiscdlt
can cdlt can sing much better than others have lr lrbettcr fwrbetter T Tbetter
better voices more brilliant technique andshow and andshow nd ndshaw
show more artistic temperament than oth others others otlrers ¬
ers of o f thesame species speciesSome speciesSomc speciesSonic
Some birds tooare too are merely brilliant brilliantperformers brilliantperf brilliantperformers
performers perf nners while others are really clever clevercomposers clevercomposers clevercony
composers cony osers Tricks of o f the human composer composerare c composerare mpoJer mpoJerare
are not unknown I to bird musicians musiciansIn musiciansIre
In 11 ijie ize courseofhis course courseof of his study sttldylVlrOldj studyMrOldyshas studyMrOldyshaslearned MrOldys has haslearned llaslearned
learned that so many themes an4phrts antf phrufts phruftsare phr j jare s sare
are common to birds and men that it it is isa isaqtlCSti01z a aquestion a4tiestrorr
question which originated them themand JCtnand liern liernand
and usually adds to each a note that is too high for forhim forhim forhim
him on which his voice breaks seriously marring marringthe D1arrlnB D1arrlnBthe marringthe
the effect of an otherwise pleasing song His voice voiceIs volcoIs voiceis
Is rather thin arid fiat but b t he is a friendly frJen ly little Uttlechnp Uttlechnpand chap chapand chapand
and that probably has much to do with his popularity popularityFriendly popularityFrIendly popularityFriendly
Friendly and fearless too toois Is tho fluffy little l1tUe chicka chickadee chlckade chickade ¬
dee de with his football shock shock of f hair Ho Is an active activebusy acUvebus activebusy
busy bus little littlebody body and doubly welcome because he isone Is Isone Ison
on one of the earliest comers Before Betorothe the other other bird birdHave birdHave birds birdshave
Have come his quaint chlckadeedeedeedee chlckn eedeedeedee Is bet better better bettor ¬
ter received thus t tea i a n far more elaborate song zong later In Inthe inthe inthe
the season seasonHis seneonHIs
Y YHis
His first song son Is a very ery pimple one later he teas liasseveral l1asscveral teasseveral
several tho most familiar consisting c slsUng of two very ery clear clearnotes clearnotes clearnotes
notes each preceded by b a high inspirational note no to re remarkable remarkable re remarkable ¬
markable for its purity and andswcetness andswcetnessEqually sweetness swcetnessv swcetnessEqually sweetnessEqually v
Equally Interesting is Mr Oldyz Oldys lys description of the themeadow theme themeadow
meadow me dow larks songs Apparently A 1renUy there are are several severalof severalr severalof
of r them thembut but the singer singing sInging with a quavering quaveringnote quav quaveringnote itng itngnote
note and frequently tr qucntly wandering from trom the thele key generally generallyseems gen generallyseems rllly rlllyscems
seems to toreach reach his goal in fear fear and n trembling tremblingSometimes trombltsSoIne tromblInaSoihetimes
Sometimes SoIne lmes it sounds like l1k a windmill thirsting for foroil torall foroil
oil again like an aged wheelbarrow Yet Y t when whenone whenone whenone
one Is sure that ho Is neither le1thc of these MTV Mr Qldys Qldysgravely Ohfysgravely Oldysgravely
gravely assures assures us his storing la quite enjoyable enjoyableHo enjoyableHe enjoyableHe
He sings with a nppare1 ppareul effort effort and has a habit habltot habltotIIngmarked of ofgiving ofgiving
giving IIngmarked marked emphasis to tho first firstnote firstnote r t tnote
note of a phrase and sliding to the theend the theend theend
end end of It with a lack ok of precision fijw
Studied Studied51iiP
51iiP M
ooa 772ur L Ja7 r
J Jph
ph JypJ o 4 e ifJ
de 22 Qa 7f L k bP
a 23oZOHecr o hlYedr hOnL7QbdeL o 1r el I
C 6 b Jb z h1np oli 7b 1C1r iqh f fr ff
7 7r r y
f t tI
I 1 1f 1t
t f r
me Of Aae d 7er C Ti
A v c2 and andr
r UIGJ OI 0J aarpon
cj 11 fiiL 1 1z sic
< 4
i s
which leaves one on in doubt as to whether n nend a aend send
The more he studies birds the more Mr Oldya Oldyasays Oldyssnyf5 Oldyasays
says ho realizes the distinctions dlsUnctk > ns cot men meMly sly be between betWeen between ¬
tween tWeen the different species but Individual differences differ differences ditterences ¬
ences between birds of the same species speciesHe sPeciesHe specesHe
He quotes the particular song of 11 < a particular particularRock narttcularHock rttcular rttcularRock
Rock Creek wood thrush thrw which was made made up of a acombination acomblnstlcu acombrnaUen
combination of notes that be never heard any other otherwood otherwood otherwood
wood thresh use In fact each bird has a reper repertoire repertoire repertoire ¬
toire of Its own ownIn ownIn ownIn
In fact the more he studies It it the more ilr ilrOldys MrOldys Ir
Oldys 01 ys is impressed with the resemblance of bird birdmusic bIrdmusic birdmusic
music to human music and the more probable probableseems probableems probableseems
seems ems his theory at first merely tentative that the theevolution theeolution theogolutton
evolution of the two has been parallel their devel deveIopment development cevlopment ¬
opment along the same lines and that they are aretending aretending aretending
tending toward the same Ideals IdealsHe IdealsHe dealsHe
He points out that bird and man are the only onlytwo onlytwo onlytwo
two creatures crea xres that us separate notes of a deter determinate determInate determinate ¬
minate pitch in n their music mu le and that birds atone of ofall oraU ofan
all the animal creation are capable of beta being taught taughtto
to reproduce human melodies melodiesIt meled1 meled1It melodiesIt
It is s only to the most casual ear Mr OIcly as asserts asserts asserts ¬
serts that all the birds of the some species appear appearto ap a ar arto r rto
to sing the same notes Dotes1n in the same me way He clatrus clalrusalmost c1atruSalmost clatrusalmost
almost as wide a diversity in the musical capability capabilityof
of o individual birds of tne same species as in chat chatof thatof C1t C1to
of o human individuals individualsFROM 1ndlv1dua1sFROM individualsFROM
Wood thrushes sang 8 g sparrows and chewinks chewinksparticularly chewinkJparticularly chewinksparticularly
particularly show every eve gradation from mastership mastershipto
to mediocrity in composition execution and temper temperament temperamenL temperamen ¬
amen It is s a far cry from rom the chewlnk thatknows that thatknows thatknows
knows only one short simple phrase to another anotherchewlnk anotherchew1n1 anotherchewinl
chewlnk that after an effective pause follows a amelodious amelodIous amelodious
melodious theme in a a major key with another in inits inits n nIts
its relative rel tlve minor key keySome keySomo H H20mo
Some birds like the canary and mocking DIre oirdnavo DIrenave nirdnave
nave beautiful be utttul voices and great skill skillin in n using them thembut thembut thembut
but show little or no appreciation a of musical form lormOthers formOthers orm ormOthers
Others like the wood thrush and cheWInk with withsmaller withsmaBer withsmaller
smaller compass and far less brilliant execution executionrank executIonrank executionrank
rank higher as composers composersThe composersThe composersThe
The catbird Is merely a clever imitator He be belongs beIonss belongs ¬
longs to the class cl s of brilliant performers Up to a acertain acertaIn acertain
certain point he c cm in imitate any song he hears hea but bu
he has iiis limitations lJmltat1 ns His first cousin the mocking
bird is the Cissy Loftus of o the feathered tribes He Hecan rican decan
can imitate any one of them But he lsnot ia not a com composer composer composer ¬
poser He has no song of his own
On the subject of bird plagiarists Mr Mr Oldys Old is
both eloquent and amusing He claims that th the
chickadee borrows both from the phebe and the
katydid katydidIn katydidIn
In n spite of his uncomplimentary description of
the meadow larks song he tells how one greeted
him in the morning with a n finished production evi ¬
dbntly borrowed with ith a slight alteration In n the th
timb from Handel and how one of his brethren brethrenshewing hretbr brethrsnsheaving > n nsh81I1g
sheaving a decided preference for music with a
strong stroD strong rhythmical r thmlcal swing sang a bar or two tWoaU all he
had learned leanledo of Scusas Washington Post Marchsang March Marchsang Marcbng
sang ng It with 8 < i decided meadowlark accent to be besure besure
sure but admirably ac1mlrablyall ail things considered
Cheney heney in his Wood Notes Wild Wild tells of a
chfvdnL that thatStUlg sang a theme based upon th the i ti 1
millar old tune Rock k of Ages and calls attention
to a song of a blackthroated green warbler which
sings a slightly altered version Of a phrase phr lle frets
Larbca LartKurdWatch Larbttird rd Watch Ahoy
Mr Olds stands reydy r dY from his own observa ¬
tion to corroborate Cheney He himself knew a
certain Baltimore oriole that was evidently amitiar
with the old ld song Ong hNot Not lc 1 Joa T C8 os and opines that a aheard
Kentucky warbler ot h1i iu at ua1ntance ma may lave
heard Griegs Peer Gynt t suite wifore he originat ¬
ed a brilliant and rapid enrol which is 1 suspiciously
like a passage therein thereinHowever therelnIoIowevor thereinIjloweter
However < it might be
a question whether it was
Greg Gr16 or the warbler who wh was the kleptomaniac
Certainly the bird might claim the phrase an an in
nerttance from a long llue of ancestors reaching re clung
back to a 0 time when Grieg and his musical hll
oscphy oscphr were undreamed of ofBIRDS otBIRDS ofBIRDS
Then too ns Mr Oldys < lds whimsically points nut IJL
If we consider considerthat that Annie Rooney Is based b scd u uptJu
the slumber song motif of Die Walkure and tLa that
the melody ot o Where here Did You Get That Hat is 1
taken from Parsifal and Die Meistersinger m n
each of whch wh cl11t it occurs as a cornet phrase that the th
first two lines of Abts When the Swallows Home ¬
ward Ply F y and Fescos An die Entferente are
twins and that hat Grieg and Sullivan make common commonuse commonuse
use of a phrase two bars in length the one in hit hi
Arablsche Tanz Tan the other in Princess Ida it 18 I a
hardly fait for or humans to accuse birds birdsHe birdsHe birdsHe
He prefers to toca11 call it unconscious cerebration cerebrationsprightly cerebrationpointing cerebrationSpointing
pointing out that when birds can produce such
sprightly prIghtJ1 melodies as as those of a 8 song sparrow sparr ° w wrin or orring orrfn ornot
ring rfn on a simple theme such beautiful chromatic chromaticchanges chromatIchanGes
changes changes as one one of the thrush family amu they they y doMr do not not notniIted notneed
need to o steal from mere mortals mortalsMr mortalsMt
Mr Oljflyssays OJ ysS3s he has heard from his bird com cowposors comDOSOrs composers
posers many a a theme that a human musician cow co
asa effectively rand and certainly in his collection of oJ
bird melodies melodlesmany many man a musician might well find In Inspiration Insptration inspiration ¬
spiration spirationIn
In this collection he has of otcourse course expressedthe expressed expressedthe
the bird melodies in the t se notation of the musicalstaff musical musicalstaff musicalstatr
staff He confesses nfesses that he
c owes the birds uu uuapology I1Ulp usapology
apology lp logy for this He dislikes transferring theirsongs their theirsongs thf > ir irsong
songs to paper for he says that while the notation
is accurate the songs lose so much that his tran transcrlptlon transcrlptlon transeription
scrlptlon IB to be regarded regards as merely suggestive suggestiveHe suggestiveBel suggt Uve UveHe
He can after aft offer r merely the notes The Thepeculiar Thepecull Thepeculiar
peculiar pecull r tone qualftles that are the charm of the thewoodland theood1and thettoodland
woodland concert cannot be reproduced 3produced in black ad adwhiter adwhite andwhlt
whlt whiter Nor can the human ti volcb YOle oieb reproduce them th m at atall atall
all U accurately Of instrumfnts lns UrIints the flute and an i the theviolin theviolin theviolin
violin come nearest ne nHt to doing them justice and the thenan thean theman
man nan an who vhoo knows and loves lov < s them and a d will patiently patientlyern aCnntl aCnntlrn
fern ern rn of his feathered friands may In time whistle whistloeir hlstlo
Xlr dr songs songsMr songsMr songsMr
Mr Oldys himself can reproduce much mu h of t111r thirmusic th t111rmusIc < ir irmusic
music so exactly as to deceive det lve the human ear i + nd ndsome d dsome dsome
some of it so so accurately accurate as to deceive the birds birdsthemselves Llrll LlrlltbemselveP

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