Talking with Composer David Teie, Creator of Music for Cats

Posted by Mateja Lane

David Teie is the genius composer behind Music for Cats.

As much as one might scoff at the idea of composing music for cats, there is a real science behind it.

We caught up with David Teie and he explained how he went about creating Music for Cats.

Teie's whole life has been about music. He was originally interested in how music theory and music's indivisible elements effected humans and their emotions. This led to him asking the question: does music have the same effect across all species? He was determined to find out.

In 2009, Teie began working with psychology professor Chuck Snowdon, who was studying cotton-top tamarin monkeys and their vocalizations at the time. Snowdon recorded the many monkey vocalizations and Teie then compiled the sounds and found certain patterns that he then made into a musical composition.

The resulting music had such an effect on the monkeys that Teie wondered if he could be making music for pets.

Teie then thought of how to bring his "music for species" idea into popular culture. Teie decided he would create his next musical compilation for either cats or dogs. He settled on cats since there is much more breed distinction in dogs.

Surprisingly, David is direly allergic to cats; he has none of his own. But this removed him from being subjective in his findings. He believes pet owners are constantly projecting their thoughts and beliefs through their animals.

He began studying cats' vocalizations, specifically between mama cats and kittens. Unlike humans, cats' brains don't fully develop until after their born. So, while humans are drawn to pulsating beats in music that mimc the mother's heartbeat and blood flow, cats are not.

Teie instead found that cats are attracted to sympathetic purring sounds and suckling sounds, since that is what they recognize as comfort from their kitten days.

The albums have been received well, with a real album review in the works from a Swedish music label. The testimonies from cat owners who have put the music on for their cats have been overwhelmingly positive.

Last night, Fisher was going nuts, attacking my feet while we were trying to go to sleep. So my husband put on your cat music and within 10 seconds Fisher was lulled into an ultra relaxed state. It was amazing!

-- Maggie (St. Louis)

Pearl really enjoyed the cat tunes. The only things she meows for more is her food and the string we use to get her to run around our apartment (she's a lazy little kitty with a big appetite). When I played the music for her again this morning, this time on my laptop, she stalked around it, rubbing her face against the edges of the screen and occasionally trying to take a bite.

-- Erin McCarthy (MentalFloss.com)

In fact, the amount of positive reviews even has David Teie suspicious: "There must be something wrong..."

David Teie's next projects include music for horses and music for dogs. Unfortunately, there is a lack of study in both the way dogs communicate with their puppies as well as how mares use vocalizations to communicate with foals.

Right now, it is a race for research between horse and canine vocalizations.

Whether Teie's next project is for equines or canines remains to be seen, there are many pet owners and scientists awaiting his next bout of genius.

You can follow David Teie's projects and contribute here.

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Talking with Composer David Teie, Creator of Music for Cats