Leisurely Chimpanzee Drumming Formally Considered

Some chimpanzees drum, and some humans analyze that:

Charlotte-CureChimpanzee drumming: a spontaneous performance with characteristics of human musical drumming,” Valérie Dufour, Nicolas Poulin, Charlotte Curé [pictured here], and Elisabeth H.M. Sterck, Scientific Reports, vol. 5 2015. (Thanks to Elizabeth Oberzaucher for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Strasbourg, France, at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Strasbourg, France, at Biomedical Primate Research Center, Rijswijk, the Netherlands, and at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, write:


“Here we report an episode of spontaneous drumming by a captive chimpanzee that approaches the structural and contextual characteristics usually found in musical drumming. This drumming differs from most beating episodes reported in this species by its unusual duration, the lack of any obvious context, and rhythmical properties that include long-lasting and dynamically changing rhythms, but also evenness and leisureliness.”

Here’s a recording of some of that drumming:

And here’s detail, from the study, or how it can be visualized graphically: