18 May 2015

More on alphabetical consonants to describe bird songs

In a very haphazard way, I am still trying this out (see previous post about Cheeseburgers).

So far, it is working in that it makes sense to me.

How it works is, that instead of assigning a recognizable word as a mnemonic for a bird song or to describe a bird song, one creates a description of the song such that each syllable starts with a consonant representing the pitch relative to the other syllables.  Consonants closer to the beginning of the alphabet represent a pitch lower than the following syllable which starts with a consonant closer to the end of the alphabet.

Seems simple; but not quite because it's too irritating to try to remember a bunch of pitches on the same note or the notes in the same syllable are so close together a bunch of wee wee wee's drive me crazy.

So, let's try using some other notations to break up the wee wee's with some other consonants. Let's say the consonants used in this way don't have to follow the rule where position in the alohabet represents relative pitch. Let's use:
- a hyphen between notes on the same pitch
- a ' to say the next pitch is higher
- a , to say the next pitch is lower

For example, this morning I awoke to a lifer singing outside a little ways off in the distance. It seems the White-throated Sparrow has at least two song patterns that can both be described by the mnemonic 'Oh Ca na da, Ca na da' etc. The word 'Canada' is a series of repeated notes on the same pitch or a descending series. Nothing in the words 'Oh' and 'Canada' tells on what pitch does 'Canada' start relative to the 'Oh'. And nothing indicated if the song is the type with all notes descending or the first interval ascending then repeated pitches on the 'Canada'

I heard (kinda, more-or-less): too wee, wee-dee-wee, wee, wee-dee-wee ...

Following my rules
- the first note on 'too' is lower pitched than the first 'wee'
- the second 'wee' is the same pitch as the first 'wee'
- and the wee-dee-wee's are all on the same pitch.

The bird I heard started on A flat then went up a minor third. Can you hear it in your own head? This is the ascending song. 

The descending song could be described as : wee see dee bee-dee-bee bee-dee-bee bee-dee-bee.
So three descending pitches to start then repeated pitches. 

Ok enough. Going to look for catbirds now. 


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