Nothing is nicer than waking up to the dawn chorus each morning. Despite never having seen sheet music in their lives, birds sing truly beautiful melodies and even harmonise with each other. It’s what makes nature such a marvel. But what would happen if you gave a flock of birds actual instruments?
This thought may never have occurred to you or me, but luckily for us, it did occur to French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. He filled a room with guitars hooked up to amplifiers, birdhouses hanging from the ceiling, and birdseed scattered around liberally. He then released seventy zebra finches into the room and sat back to record the result.
The birds were completely free to engage in natural bird behaviour. Admittedly, they couldn’t leave the room but they could fly, nest, perch, eat and generally go about their business. Naturally, some of the birds started to land on the strings of the guitars and that’s when the magic happened.
Completely unintentionally, they filled the room with sounds from the guitars. It was a beautiful musical interpretation of the day-to-day life of birds. Their own very melodic whistles, hoots and coos blend with guitar sounds to create an utterly unique musical composition.
It’s wonderful that everyone on the internet gets to enjoy this wonderful experiment, named From Hear To Ear. The video has been viewed over 250,000 times across different YouTube channels. However, some lucky people actually got to experience it live. Monsieur Boursier-Mougenot took his exhibition on tour, creating the musical aviary in Paris, Milan, New York and Montreal.
All the animal lovers out there concerned about the welfare of the birds, fear not. The birds are set free and new ones are captured for each new venue. There is also a vet on standby who regularly monitors the well-being of the show’s feathery stars.
For Monsieur Boursier-Mougenot, this show represents the fulfillment of a dream he has had since childhood. He explains, “Looking through the window, my feeling was that I want to make music from these birds on the wire. And 30 years later I did this.”