This Clip Is Proof That Birds Are Secretly Composers

A normal person sees these birds perched on electrical wires and worries about getting crapped on. Jarbas Agnelli looks at them and sees musical notes. Maybe he's smarter than the rest of us because the melody is utterly oh-so-sweet-that-I-could-doze-off-right-now.

Agnel explains that he was simply curious about what sort of tune he could create by transcribing the birds into musical notes. I'm more curious about what would happen if he tried the same with the freckles on someone's back. [Vimeo via Wired]


    What a beautiful accident.

      There are significant voice leading errors. The birds clearly aren't professionals.

        lol I love that you spotted that...kudos

        Well, they took composition from Debussy, then.

          ^SUCH a winning comment!

        I think the music is neat. I just somehow like it and really that's all that matters to me. However, as I can not satisfactorily find an answer written for someone who has no musical talent.....

        please explain in simple terms what a voice leading error is keeping in mind I am far removed from being someone considered a musician.

          There are certain rules that are meant to be followed when writing music with chords, which is the way most music is written. When going from chord to chord, there are certain things you shouldn't do. (Of course, one can always break the rules, but you shouldn't do that a lot because it'll just make everything sound weird. Unless you're doing that crazy contemporary stuff. That pretty much breaks every rule ever.) They're called "Voice leading errors" because there are four "voices" that make up a chord. (Sometimes, they're actual voices, sometimes they're different instruments.)

          I'm still learning about this stuff, so I apologize to all you theory geniuses if I messed something up.

          Hope this helps.

        They are birds for Christ's sake! They aren't medieval European monks! So what if the organum isn't orthodox. And if you take that into account, I think their sense of compound melody is astounding.

        no crossing voices, hollaa!


        I think he was joking.

        Screw voice leading regulations. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky didn't follow those stupid rules. His music would have been ordinary if he did! Boo yah!

        Hey way to catch the sweet bird notes buddy. Real sweet.

        Since when does "proper" voice leading constitute professionalism? Ever since the Romanctic Period, modern voice leading has broken every accountable rule there ever was for such musical devices. Furthermore, I'd like to point out that limiting music to "proper" voice leading would remove many staples from our current, renowned repertoire. This is art and has every right to be appreciated as such.

        so if you actually know about music theory you would recognize that composition need not follow text book representation of musical patterns, voice leading is a consideration, the sound is the number one concern. XD

      This proves theory that nature is full of beautiful things and nothing is accident.

        Or it proves nature is full of beautiful accidents...

        There is no theory that nothing is an accident.

          except the one that everything happens for a reason. it's fairly common

      I agree... even if it was shopped... (i don't know if i have seen that word enough yet) it sounds beautiful.

      It's called serendipity :P

    Creating beauty from chaos.
    This is what nature is all about.

    looks shopped

      You look shopped.

        Your comment accusing him of looking shopped looks shoppd

        Overshopping can result in a rip of the space time continuum.

        ... dare I say it? (whimpers in fear)

        Shoppity shoppity shop shopah shop!!

        I looked at the trap ray !!

        your face looks shopped

      Anon is right. pause at :15 then at :57. The clouds look strikingly familiar don't they? But hmm the fake birds are missing! 'Shopped! With this being said, the music is still very nice.

        Yeah because it takes birds a really long time to leave power lines once they get spooked.

        It is not shopped I was there!

        overshopping can lead to a lack of money...

    Not to pick on the post, love the video, but you call him "Jarbas Agnel", when the video clearly says "Jarbas Agnelli" :/ (check at 1:06)

    Since this is moderated comments, I wouldn't mind if you didn't post this to the site and if I'm wrong, please let me know.


      Thanks for being so observant! I've fixed the typo :)

    props for finding inspiration from something like that, but any good composer can make any pattern into music.

      Um... isn't that the point? :/

      Exactly, any good composer can make any pattern into music. Congrats on being a good composer!

      I think you're missing the distinction between a melody and a piece of music. Yes, he was observant and took a picture and made a musical theme. But how the piece plays on that musical theme is what makes it interesting. Many composers, including myself, have written songs that take their themes from birdcalls, so yes, the thematic content of the music isn't strictly their own creation. But that sequence of notes alone doesn't define the piece, it's where the composer goes with it that keeps us listening.

      That being said, I think he extracts harmonies and develops the material pretty friggin' masterfully. Interesting to listen to, I'd like to see more experiments like this.

    When viewed from a different angle, it would produce a different tune.

    what a beautiful song.
    who cares if it's shopped or not.

    I thought that was pretty genious.

    This looks shopped. I can tell from the pixels, and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.

      How can you possibly tell that this is shopped? I grow weary of the green eyed interweb critics. Perhaps if you spend more of your time developing a personality, with it may come some talent and creativity.

      Or maybe going into greater depth on your theory of the fake pixels may result in people taking you seriously. As we know allegations of Photoshop use online is a very serious business indeed. And will be met by severe punishment. Perhaps, expulsion from the internet all together.

        The cheeky sod!
        I have just noticed that Mr Agnelli adds in one or two notes where there are no birds!
        I know there's such a thing as an artistic license, but that's ridiculous!!

        ...Oh wait, the guy's made music by looking at birds on a wire, stop killing his buzz by calling it shopped.
        Some people are actually creative geniuses, and just because you can't comprehend experiencing that kind of inspiration, doesn't mean everybody is so crippled and cynical a soul.

        I don't have sound on my computer, so I shall watch this on my iPod momentarily! Avast, onwards!!!

        This clip is proof to nothing, as the whole thing is reverse-engineered.

        that was actually a inside joke that you completely missed. its a viral internet comment joke: "This looks shopped. I can tell from the pixels, and from seeing quite a few shops in my time." someone somewhere once made that comment (i don't think anybody actually knows where it was), and it has been the made fun of. the whole point is to make fun of really ignorant commenters who cry "shopped". and you failed miserably in understanding that. congratulations, comment fail

        Consider the fact that all the birds are on lines, and none on spaces. Therefore, they are all thirds apart, so it would be difficult to make it sound bad.

      ...and as always, the masses always desperate to prove themselves smarter in some way than the average person fail uterrly by decrying fakeness while entirely missing the point of the video. (Much more eloquent than I could be -->

      Very neat idea, if I had half a bean's worth of composing talent I would even try it on my own... there have been plenty of times when the cedar waxwings have hung heavy on the powerlines near my place.

      "Quite a few shops in my time". Pft. Who are you, The Photoshop Expert? First of all, it's not shopped. Pixels? Really? Try unfocused camera. Second of all, even if it was shopped, so what? It's beautiful, and demonstrates the power of nature.


        of course its shopped, half the birds are identical to each other.

        still, good clip

        Of COURSE it's photoshopped, unless he photoshopped the birds OFF the wire when he was adding the notes. It's a beautiful concept, but he was too lazy to find an actual naturally occurring melody, so he made one himself.

    Fair enough it sounds good, but it's quite clearly fake!

    Whoever said that this is photoshopped is ignorant.

      You've just been trolled

        They're not trolling (probably) cuz it really was photoshopped.

    There were some books written by Christopher Miller in 2002 and 2004 called Simon Silber: Works for Solo Piano and Sudden Noises fro Inanimate Objects: A Novel in Liner Notes, that feature transcribing birds on a wire as a form of found music. Both are rather interesting reads...

    Simpsons did it!

    The hilarity that supposedly ensues when someone sarcastically claims that an image/video/etc is photoshopped (even though is hasn’t), has run its course. Not funny anymore. Please, for the love of God stop already.

      Your indignation is obviously shopped.

    this was beautiful, but the dude who said creating beauty from chasos is a retard. It's not chaotic at all dummy. It's birds sitting on a wire. Not very good poetic description.

      As I musician, I can tell that he did this in such a way that he wouldn't need to Photoshop the birds to make nice music. First of all, he decided to make every note a "space" note, in layman's terms, which makes it much easier than if he had made some "spaces" and some "lines". Second, he arranged the rhythms in a way that he liked, which is also allowed. The positions of the birds doesn't restrict that. He also got some flexibility on how he lined up the birds to make chords; there were several places where he could have done different arrangements. Lastly, he gets to control the key signature. I'm not sure whether or not he actually did, but that would make it remarkably easy to even control the pitches. So really, despite the fixed position of the birds(which were NOT Photoshopped in), the artist actually had a lot of control. I've done this sort of thing before with random scribbles on paper.

        i wish gizmodo had a vote up button

        You said "the artist actually had a lot of control" and I agree. Those birds could be potatos on the grill, the united states congress wednesday morning, or twenty hedgehogs playing poker on the subway rails, or anything- if you control rythm,pitch, they are just a way chosing random notes. The whole process of creation comes off in the mind of the musician, and he says: for a composer it's quite average...but for crows!-it is perfect. Ask Beethoven if he used such pathetic tricks.

      I really hope that you're joking.

    This was done in the 1950's by Steve Allen, when he was hosting the original Tonight Show. A guest handed him a photo of birds on a wire and, being the brilliant pianist that he was, he immediately composed a fabulous jazz piece that went on for several minutes.

    This is beautiful! And yeah so it's shopped, but who Cares? Maybe the guy didn't have a camera when he saw those birds and just wrote down the notes. But to give it a visual of actual birds, they created a picture for it. Ever think of that? Oh and's about the song...not the picture. Stupid. -_-

    clever way to get his music heard, shopping a photo like that

    What the hell is this ? the song is shit , it's completly random ...nothing harmonious ... you suck

      I'd accuse you of being deaf, but you actually heard something out of your speakers. That being the case, you are clearly mentally retarded if you think that this is "completely random and not harmonious". The birds' locations clearly define a harmony (there's chords there--can't make chords without harmony). There is no solution to your problem other that to STFU and GTFO.

      Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym. Those who can't teach gym criticize others' creative efforts because they have nothing else to do.

      And just who made you master of all music? 50 Cent? Get the goddamned Metallica or whatever other shit you listen to out of your ears already. This piece is beautiful, albeit a bit sharp in some places on the ears. I'm no composer, but it's amazing to think that just by looking at something so simple, everyday, and ordinary and making it into something as touching as music is a skill that not many people could easily claim to have. You should learn to appreciate beauty a lot more.

      what was the point of making a comment with no insightful or thought provoking value whatsoever?
      so you go to every website that allows users to post and say the most pointless idiotic pessimistic rot you can think of? you must really hate yourself, whether you admit it or not.

      as they say nowadays, "quit hating."

    who care's if it shopped? It's still beautiful, you really don't have to spoil everything for everybody else.

      The idea is great- I have always ideas like that. Results are interesting but mostly very far from perfection, or beauty. We like it or not- nature not or very rarely works the way human beings' thoghts and dreams about harmony (I'm not talkin about living creatures' beauty, and function, but the causality, the way complexity correlates complexity-they are never simmetric/perfect) . fotoshop is real, and even if this one would be not a fake, it' so unique , so godforsaken unrepeatable that we must not believe it, cos it doesn't fit rules of nature (birds, wire, musicsheet have nothing to do with each other only in humans abstract, playful mids- yeah goddamn birds sit on wires, but it hasn't been built for them!). Also we have a symple, perfect explanation of f0t0shop what makes us able to produce these things anytime we want, anytime we dream about perfection...
      All in all: shopped xD we cant secede reality, that is what we live in

    It's a nice tune, and it'd be a magnificent phenomenon if the story were true, but its shopped; We shouldn't let that get in the way of our imaginations tho, wouldn't it be a beautiful thing if it were true?

    If you looked at it from the other side it would play backwards and say "We Love Satan!"

    I wonder what the song would be if he played the pimples on my ass.

      It is a random guess but I'd say playing the pimples on your behind would make more sense than playing the neurons in your brain because the latter would turn out to be pure silence!

        Disregard that, I suck.

        So Mr. xx (frankie), that was intelligent to use my name to reply to what I wrote. That is actually funny. Bravo, you are a genius, and I suck I guess! :-D

    Oh, wow! I don't really care if this is shopped. It made me happy.

    There is a comic about this. I think It was made by farside in like..the 80's? The idea isn'tnew either.

    REGAURDLESS, this is well executed.

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