Misha Pekar Studies the Influence of Birdsong on Human Composers Throughout Musical History


Misha Pekar’s thesis examined the ways that music has evolved over time to imitate birdsong. Based on literature showing that human beings have a tendency to imitate what they hear, particularly nature, he designed a study of the ways composers from different musical time periods, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Ottorino Respighi, Olivier Messiaen, and Jonathan Harvey, incorporated birdsong into their work. While birdsong doesn’t completely align with traditional Western theory, “given our basis on a twelve tonal chromatic scale and rational time meters,” the similarities were enough to successfully analyze the relationship between birdsong and various composers’ work. Misha found that modern composers generally have more lenient theoretical boundaries and will “change the rules of their composition to try and match the natural element they are imitating”. Classical composers, on the other hand, had more rigid guidelines for their music.

Congratulations from The Talon on completing your thesis, Misha!