NZ Birds vs Extreme Pitchshifting

National Radio in New Zealand has a lovely daily ritual where just before the news they will play a recording of a native NZ bird, and I just discovered that their website has the full collection available for listening to, but also helpfully includes a photo so that next time you’re out wandering around in the bush you can put a name to the face, so to speak – the specific page is here

One of my favourite native NZ birds is the Tui; They are beautiful to look at & are reasonably common wherever there is bush (even in cities) but the sound they create is just so amazing – if you heard a single sound in isolation it is unlikely you would think that a bird created it, more likely an ARP or a Synthi!
Heres an example recording from my library:

Tui mp3

What makes Tuis vocally unique is the fact that they have two voice boxes, and as the pioneering ornithologist Guthrie–Smith observed “much of the Tui’s singing we cannot hear, the notes too high, I suppose, for our human ears, for I have often watched the bird’s throat from but a few yards distance swelling with song entirely inaudible.” I havent as yet recorded a Tui with a microphone like the Sennheiser 80X0 which could capture those frequencies that we can’t hear, but its still interesting to pitchshift the Tui down, as it gives your ear more time to hear what those sounds are made up of….

Tui one octave lower mp3
Tui two octaves lower mp3
Tui three octaves lower mp3

Heres another piece of Tui vocal, with pitch shifted versions:
Tui 2 mp3
Tui 2 one octave lower mp3
Tui 2 two octaves lower mp3
Tui 2 three octaves lower mp3

And another:
Tui 3 mp3
Tui 3 one octave lower mp3
Tui 3 two octaves lower mp3
Tui 3 three octaves lower mp3

Apart from hearing the rhythmic & tonal effects more clearly its also interesting to note the reverb which isnt so apparent at normal speed….

Now this is where it gets a little weird, see it seems there is a talking Tui by the name of Woof Woof, who lives in a bird sanctuary in Whangarei… dont believe me? Well go check Woof Woof’s videos out here

4 Responses to NZ Birds vs Extreme Pitchshifting

  1. Hugo says:

    Very interesting! Some of the 2-octave down sounds actually sound quite human to me.

  2. Pingback: Designing Sound » More than 50 Articles/Tutorials about Sound Design, Film and Recording, Plus Wooshes Sound Desing

  3. avmaier says:

    I recall a lecture in marine biology back in college where a professor sped up/pitch shifted some whale songs and the result sounded like bird song!

    I wonder if you get the opposite effect by extreme pitch shifting birds to the lower end…

  4. Kristie says:

    Fascinating and yet terrifying! Tui pitch shifted 3 octaves down really sounds like some kind of monster 😀

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