Often, as the night-sights of fire flies fall away, leaving only the smell of clean sheets and the cool air coming through my window, I have a recurring dream. So it was with surprise that I learned that I share this dream with Lou Reed’s wife, Laurie Anderson, who recently remarked: “Wouldn’t it be great, if you were playing a concert and you look out and you see all dogs?” Unlike Ms. Anderson, I’m lazy and also have no musical talent (when I tried to learn guitar in middle school, my dog would bark at me until I stopped), so I’ve never quite got around to organizing this, but she made her dreams come true by putting on an up-coming “high-frequency concert” called Music for Dogs in Sydney, Australia. The BBC has the run-down here.
As far as this goes, I’m all for it, although I would have gone for a more intimate scene than the Sydney Opera House. But is it music? It’s well known that dogs have a much better sense of hearing that humans; in fact, the range of sounds that they can hear and interpret is four times as wide as ours. The idea here is that the music would be played at a frequency that exceeds our range, but is still within that of dogs and that they would sit there and groove on Lou Reed’s jams. I imagine, however, that it will be pretty hard to get feedback on whether the music was any good: wag your tail once for “That was siiiiiick!” or twice for “Take me for a walk!”
Playtonic Dialogues has already investigated whether silence can be music, in a discussion about John Cage’s 4’33” back in September. But this isn’t silence; it’s real sound, we’re just physically unable to hear it. So maybe it does not fall within our definition of music, but it would technically satisfy that of a dog, if they are even able to understand the conception of music. Regardless, this is a pretty fantastically out-there project that warms the heart of any dog-lover: if a dog is man’s best friend, why not take them to a concert?