The best analogy is bird song. The animal kingdom depends on mind to mind for ordinary communication and i expect to see that here. Yet for distance signalling, a bird song format works admirably. It all works well together.
In the meantime we have recordings of their music and that has taught us to respect the whale community by proving existence.
All very good.
Different instances of the same unit can vary in length (the yellow units above gradually expand with each repetition), yet share enough sonic traits to be classified as a common unit.
Neumatic musical notation from the
Musical notation becoming more precise from the 10th to 14th centuries
The top row contains individual examples of each unit. The colored glyphs below were created by tracing the “averaged” shapes that resulted from overlaying the many occurrences of the same unit across Knapp’s recording.
Each solid horizontal line in the staves of standard musical notation represents a different number of Hertz along a logarithmic frequency scale. These whale song sonograms share the same logarithmic scale, conveniently allowing us to combine the two visualization contexts.
We can apply this approach to any song from the eleven different humpback populations. Here is a song I recorded off the coast of Maui:
One theme over five years, collected by Katy Payne. Each of these hand-traced sonograms is an “averaged” combination of all the theme’s phrases recorded in each respective year.
One theme over five months, collected by Katy Payne