Rhythmic categories across primate vocal displays

Gamba, M., Raimondi, T., De Gregorio, C., Valente, D., Carugati, F., Cristiano, W., Ferrario, V., Torti, V., Favaro, L., Friard, O., Giacoma, C., & Ravignani, A. (2023). Rhythmic categories across primate vocal displays. In A. Astolfi, F. Asdrubali, & L. Shtrepi (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th Convention of the European Acoustics Association Forum Acusticum 2023 (pp. 3971-3974). Torino: European Acoustics Association.
The last few years have revealed that several species may share the building blocks of Musicality with humans. The recognition of these building blocks (e.g., rhythm, frequency variation) was a necessary impetus for a new round of studies investigating rhythmic variation in animal vocal displays. Singing primates are a small group of primate species that produce modulated songs ranging from tens to thousands of vocal units. Previous studies showed that the indri, the only singing lemur, is currently the only known species that perform duet and choruses showing multiple rhythmic categories, as seen in human music. Rhythmic categories occur when temporal intervals between note onsets are not uniformly distributed, and rhythms with a small integer ratio between these intervals are typical of human music. Besides indris, white-handed gibbons and three crested gibbon species showed a prominent rhythmic category corresponding to a single small integer ratio, isochrony. This study reviews previous evidence on the co-occurrence of rhythmic categories in primates and focuses on the prospects for a comparative, multimodal study of rhythmicity in this clade.
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