The sounds of birds have inspired a surprising variety of musical compositions during the centuries, according to Luis Baptista, chairman of the department of ornithology and mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Mr. Baptista said some bird songs have been found to use the same eight-note scale as Western music. Others use a five-note scale common to Chinese music. Several researchers have concluded that Beethoven borrowed the opening phrases of the rondo in his violin concerto from the European blackbird, and simulated the song of the yellowhammer with a flute in his Sixth Symphony. They also believe Mozart's "A Musical Joke" was patterned after his pet blackbird.
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