Mew-sic to their ears: Cellist raises $240K to compose music for cats

When cats listen to music, do they prefer the soothing sounds of their kittenhood, or a beat they can dance to?

See Full Article

Wait a second – do cats listen to music?

They could, soon, thanks to the work of composer and professional cellist David Teie.

Teie, who lectures at the University of Maryland and has been a member of the National Symphony Orchestra for 20 years has just developed “Music For Cats,” a series of intriguing, oddly soothing tracks designed specifically for felines.

Teie has long been fascinated by why music can affect us so deeply. After all, it’s really just a series of sounds and beats, artfully arranged.

“I was trying to figure out what it was about music that appeals to humans. So I took music apart, you might say,” Teie told CTV’s Canada AM from Washington on Wednesday.

After a few years of research, he came up with a universal theory. It states that music taps into our emotions by replicating the sounds and rhythms we heard in the womb and infancy: for example, the rhythm of our mother’s heartbeat,or the sing-song of her voice as she soothed us.

Teie decided the same must be true of other animals too.

“If I’m right, I should be able to write music for another species,” he surmised at the time.

“I first started with tamarin monkeys. That turned out to be successful, so after that, it seemed that cats were the next thing.”

What’s great about cats, he says, is that they are essentially the same across every breed.

“Whereas with dogs, I’m afraid I’d have to write different music for the little dogs and then big dogs,” he said.

“And besides with dogs, I’d be afraid they might want to sing along if it was effective. So cats seemed the choice to go with if I wanted to have one music to fit all.”

Teie admits he doesn’t spend a lot of time with kitties -- “actually, I’m allergic to cats” – but he created his music based on what is already known about felines.

So for example, there are sounds similar to birds chirping mixed with bits of staccato violin, to produce an energizing effect in some pieces. Other more relaxing compositions include purring and suckling sounds in the frequency range that cats use to communicate.

Teie says in his tracks, there is always a layer of music added for humans. That’s because he found that his first attempts at monkey music were really irritating to listen to. And if humans find cat music irritating, they aren’t going to play it for their pets, Teie realized.

After lots of feline focus group testing, Teie admits not every cat responds to his compositions. But it seems there are plenty of cat owners who hope his music will work for them. He recently launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising US$35,000 to make a cat music album. He hit that mark in just 38 hours. In the month that followed, he has raised more than $240,000.

The plan now is to record the album in January, mix it in February, and then release it to backers soon after.

Teie is going to use the remainder of his funds to take on the challenge of creating music for dogs and has already been in contact with the Dog Cognition Centre at Columbia University. He’s also considering music for horses.

Eventually, if all goes well, Teie would love to bring species-specific music to animals in zoos or other captive environments, to see if the music would help relax them.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Adam West honoured at Comic-Con

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- There are typically a lot of Batmen at Comic-Con, but only one was the subject of a star-filled tribute. Filmmaker Kevin Smith, producer James Tucker, actors Ralph Garman and Lee Meriwether and about a thousand fans paid tribute to the late Adam West at the pop-culture convention Thursday night. Source
  • Big Brother Canada to return for sixth season in 2018

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The fans have spoken and Global TV says Big Brother Canada will be returning in 2018. The fate of the series was in doubt after host Arisa Cox said in June that the Canadian edition of the reality franchise was going on hiatus and would not return next year. Source
  • Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington dead [Photos] [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Linkin Park rocker Chester Bennington has taken his own life following the death of his good friend Chris Cornell. The singer’s body was discovered at a Palos Verdes, California residence on Thursday morning and sources tell TMZ Bennington had hanged himself. Source
  • RuPaul, Lupita N'yongo part of 2018 Pirelli calendar's all-black cast

    Entertainment CBC News
    For the first time since 1987, the 2018 Pirelli calendar features an all-black ensemble of influential artists. Shot by British photographer Tim Walker, the calendar features internationally acclaimed actors, singers, and personalities dressed up as characters from the whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland. Source
  • 'Sounds stupid as hell:' HBO's Confederate, by Game of Thrones showrunners, earns early scorn

    Entertainment CBC News
    HBO has attracted harsh criticism for its newly announced series helmed by the creators behind Game of Thrones. The cable network announced Wednesday that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are set to co-write Confederate, an original series with an alternate-history take on slavery in the United States. Source
  • Details revealed in deaths of two stunt pilots in Tom Cruise movie

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A full investigation on the deaths of two renowned pilots in the Tom Cruise’s American Made film has been exposed, RadarOnline.com can reveal. In a study, The Hollywood Reporter looked into the fatal incidents, first reported by THR, to see what really happened on the set of the risky war movie. Source
  • WATCH: Halle Berry downs half pint of whisky at Comic-Con panel [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO — Taron Egerton is no match for Channing Tatum in a fight and Halle Berry can hold her liquor. Those are just a few of the messages Comic-Con audiences got Thursday at the Hall H panel for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” that kicked off the annual fan convention. Source
  • Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington dead [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Linkin Park rocker Chester Bennington has taken his own life following the death of his good friend Chris Cornell. The singer’s body was discovered at a Palos Verdes, California residence on Thursday morning and sources tell TMZ Bennington had hanged himself. Source
  • Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington dead at 41, says coroner

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who sold millions of albums with a unique mix of hard rock, hip-hop and rap, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, the Los Angeles County coroner says. Source
  • Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington dies in L.A. at 41

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who sold millions of albums with an ever-changing mix of hard rock, hip-hop and rap, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, the Los Angeles County coroner said Thursday. Source