Birdsong and Beethoven

Birdsong doesn't just sound lovely - it's also good for us. Have a listen to our some of favourite birdsong musicBirdsong and Beethoven You'll have noticed a steady increase in birdsong over the past month of so. As the days grow longer (and warmer), our feathered friends get down to the very serious business of breeding, in which song plays a big role.

For us mere eavesdroppers, the pleasing tunes that now fill the air are something in which we can take great pleasure; as well as sounding beautiful, these songs bring with them a feeling of hope and rejuvenation. Along with catkins and leaping lambs, birdsong is a classic sign of spring.

Beethoven, by all accounts a great lover of the natural world, used his compositional skills to weave the songs and calls of birds into his music. The second movement of his Symphony No. 6 (‘Pastoral’) includes renditions of the Nightingale, Quail and Cuckoo (listen now). These three birds were represented by a flute, oboe and clarinet respectively and sound remarkably similar to the real thing: the “wet my lips” song of the Quail is particularly impressive.

Vivaldi found inspiration in the tinkling song of the Goldfinch, so much so that he dedicated an entire flute concerto (Il Gardellino) to this little songbird’s voice (listen now).


For more on why listening to birdsong is good for us, turn to page 114 of April's The Simple Things.

Buy your copy now, or have a flick through our sampler below: