What a simple and perfect motive…for a bird

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Chickadee

What a perfectly wonderful motive. This is the Black-capped Chickadee’s call and since April these tiny birds have been going strong outside my window.  Of course I’m leaving out some important information that would make it quite difficult for us to emulate this brief sound.

I always thought the loneliness this song evokes was the result of the wide major second, in this case a sharpish B to an A. But further investigation reveals that the call actually begins on a slightly flat C that quickly (instantly!) slides to a sharpish B then to an A. But because the C is so brief it doesn’t influence the perceived wide major second. But isn’t it those little details—some may call them quirks—that gives a song its memorable character?

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About Mark

American composer of music.
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