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Friday, September 17, 2010

the music cats make

Sometime in Boston in 1852, a learned gentleman going by the name of "Fellnus" thought he'd share some more of his arcane musings on the nature and history of catkind, including how they translated into the modern musical scale. . .

From To-day, Charles Hale, ed. (Boston: Redding and Co., 1852) volume I page 207, "The Birth and Parentage of the Cat."

* * *
We have more false notions of music made by Cats than we are aware of. We do not take into account the difference of taste of the present day with that of antiquity. What to us is an unmeaning Mioxde (Curator's note: I can't find a definition for this word), was to the ancients a significant sound, and as from their connection with the Temple, the character and language of Cats was necessarily closely studied - of course the Priests had better means than we have of discovering the true meaning of the performers.

AEsop understood the language of animals, of course those who preceded him and from whom he acquired his knowledge must have been thoroughly versed in that which they heard daily and often at night. The arts are subject to change, as is every sublunary thing.

Our music is subjected to certain divisions which we call tones and semi-tones, and we are apt to think all music must be arranged by the same rule. But this does not follow, and it is unjust to condemn the music of Cats because it is not executed with the same harmonious progression or Cadenza that we demand in our own. Attention to the following scale will give an idea of the Cat gamut:

Mew—to attract, to win. Piano, the note g.
Miou—to complain, plaintive. Patetico, or Piangevolmente, the note d.
Caterwaul—to express feeling. Passione, the note a.
(When this note is accompanied by an occasional squeak, it is called Catena di Trilla, or a chain of Trills.)
Squal—to express strong emotion. Forte, Contutta la forza, the note e.

1 comment:

Katnip Lounge said...

He forgot the sibyllant "HISSSS" and the roaring "purrrrrrrr".
And what about the stacatto "eh eh eh eh" when a Cat spies his prey?