Music of Birds

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Music inspired by bird song.
Bird song has inspired poets and musicians over many centuries. Their communication with potential mates, rivals and predators became music to the ears of most humans.

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Music of the Birds
Lang Elliott
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The nightingale can sing up to 300 different songs. The canary breathes 30 times a second to replenish its air supply.  

The Gamelan music of Indonesia has been compared to birdsong. 

These are a few of the many pieces composed imitating bird song.


Please let us know if you know of any more.


Beethoven Sixth symphony, 2nd. movement. (Analysis and information)
Delius - On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. (Information)
Dvorak - String Quartet No. 12 ("American"), third movement. (Information)
Clement Janequin - Le Chant des Oiseaux. (Information)
Joseph Haydn - The Seasons - (Oratorio)

Prokofiev - Peter and the Wolf. (Analysis and information)
Messiaen - Quartet for the End of Time.
The first movement Liturgy of crystal has violin and clarinet explicitly imitating birdsong.
(Analysis and information)
Also the third movement, Abyss of the birds.
Mozart - Magic Flute. (Analysis and information)

Respighi - Pines of Rome. (Analysis and information)

Respighi - Suite for orchestra, Gli Ucelli (the birds).

Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending. (Information)

Vivaldi - Four Seasons (Summer). (Information)

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber - Sonata Representativa ('Representatio Avium'), for solo violin. (Information)

Shakespeare's "Love's Labours Lost" closes with the song "When daisies pied," containing the lines "Cuckoo, cuckoo!' O word of fear, Unpleasing to a married ear."

All the above music is available from
(See separate pages for details).

Questions? Contact Alison Pryce