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  • Zoe Lim

Animals and Music

Ever heard of the term Zoomusicology? It is a niche field that studies the music of animals, or rather the musical aspects of sound or communication received by animals. Different animals have different reactions to music. Some even have a preference for a certain genre of music, just like us! With science's help, let's explore some studies on how animals respond to different types of music.

1. Cows

In a study at the University of Leicester, it was found that playing music for dairy cows had an effect on the amount of milk that they produced. The therapeutic effects of music on cows makes them release a milking hormone called oxytocin! The study also found that slow music has a better effect on producing milk than fast and upbeat music. So, the next time you find yourself milking cows, be sure to play songs such as REM's Everybody Hurts or Beethovan's Pastoral Symphony!

2. Dogs

Dogs are known to have decreasing stress levels when exposed to classical music. In a 2017 study, kenneled dogs were exposed to 5 different genres of music including soft-rock, Motown, pop, reggae and classical in order to determine whether a variety of music could reduce habituation. The study suggested that the increased variety of music decreased habituation that was present when playing exclusively classical music, though the dogs responded best when exposed to Reggae and Soft Rock!

3. Birds

Parrots or birds are perhaps the most well-known form of music found in non-humans. Birdsong is a different from normal calls. Birds would break out into a song that contains more repetition with a distinctive structure to attract mates, as well as to mark and defend one's territory.

4. Insects

This may come as surprise to most of us but insects produce forms of music which humans are incapable of hearing. The music is very low in amplitude and is known as 'quiet song'. Moth species have been shown to have developed the ability to communicate using ultrasonic sounds, and this ability has transferred over to their production of soft songs, in order to initiate courtship behaviour.


Zoe is an avid fan of all kinds of music. Her primary instrument is the guitar but she is always passionately learning how to play other instruments such as the drums and keyboard. She is currently playing the bass guitar in a band and has been routinely involved in music since she was a child.

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