Hollis Taylor

Hollis Taylor
Macquarie University · Department of Media, Music, Communication & Cultural Studies

About

19
Publications
2,578
Reads
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106
Citations
Citations since 2017
3 Research Items
79 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023051015

Publications

Publications (19)
Article
Full-text available
Song in oscine birds (as in human speech and song) relies upon the rare capacity of vocal learning. Transmission can be vertical, horizontal, or oblique. As a rule, memorization and production by a naïve bird are not simultaneous: the long-term storage of song phrases precedes their first vocal rehearsal by months. While a wealth of detail regardin...
Article
Violinist/composer Jon Rose builds on How musical is man?, ethnomusicologist John Blacking's classic monograph on the Transvaal Venda people, with the question, ‘How musical is Australia?’. To answer his provocation, in 2002 Rose developed Australia Ad Lib, a website that advocates for a wide concept of what constitutes contemporary music praxis. T...
Book
How and when does music become possible? Is it a matter of biology, or culture, or an interaction between the two? Revolutionizing the way we think about the core values of music and human exceptionalism, Hollis Taylor takes us on an outback road trip to meet the Australian pied butcherbird. Recognized for their distinct timbre, calls, and songs, b...
Article
Full-text available
Music maintains a characteristic balance between repetition and novelty. Here, we report a similar balance in singing performances of free-living Australian pied butcherbirds. Their songs include many phrase types. The more phrase types in a bird's repertoire, the more diverse the singing performance can be. However, without sufficient temporal org...
Article
Are the movements of the Australian Albert’s lyrebird “George” best identified as dance, “dance,” proto-dance, or functional gestures? I draw on the tools of biosemiotics to shed light on human signifying practice vis-à-vis dance – specifically, how humans make sense of avian dance, how they compare and contrast it with human dance, and what a defi...
Article
The Great Fences of Australia project of Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor finds the duo crisscrossing the continent in pursuit of their instruments. They draw on bass and cello bows to reveal the sonic properties of diverse fences, including the iconic Rabbit-Proof and Dingo Fences. Their bowed fence explorations are the result of a collision among the b...
Article
This article examines the meeting point of Olivier Messiaen, Australia and birdsong, particularly as it relates to the transcription of pied butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) vocalizations. It draws upon correspondence from Messiaen to the Australian ornithologist Sydney Curtis, printed here for the first time, as well as two recordings not prev...
Article
Full-text available
A lyrebird chick was raised in captivity in the 1920s in Australia’s New England Tablelands, or so the story goes. The bird mimicked the sounds of the household’s flute player, learning two tunes and an ascending scale. When released back into the wild, his flute-like songs and timbre spread throughout the local lyrebird population. We count oursel...
Article
In this article I investigate how and why birdsong is regularly excluded from definitions of music. I argue that to claim human exceptionalism for this capacity is highly premature, since so few avian species have been investigated in any depth. A catalogue of objections to the contention that birdsong is music suggests numerous intra- and inter-di...
Article
Full-text available
The wind is our universal musician and has been recognized as such for millennia. If the wind can play a fence as an aeolian harp, then a violinist armed with a bow could also cause these gigantic structures to sing. Thus, an American woman and an Australian man set out to explore and perform on the giant musical instruments covering the continent...
Article
Full-text available
Bowerbirds are named for the structures they build, paint, and decorate. This photo essay documents the efforts of three species of Australian bowerbirds. The influence of sexual selection is pertinent, as the female bowerbird performs her concomitant function as art critic.
Article
This paper challenges the assumption that improvisation is a process unique to humans. Despite the general reluctance of biologists to consider birdsong music, they routinely comment on improvisation found in the signals of songbirds. The Australian pied butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) is such a species. Analysis (including transcriptions and...
Article
Full-text available
Definitions of music invoking the human cutoff point are reviewed. The pied butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis is suggested for a zoömusicological case study on how birdsong might be like the human animal�s music (whether homologous or analogous). Portamento as an impediment to �off-the-shelf� musicology in the case of birdsong analysis is discusse...
Article
A study of the FFT-based spectrogram including one based on a 4-dimensional graphical display that includes phase. The study concludes that the FT and FFT are not suitable for most spectral analysis problems.

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