Insects: musical crawling and Buzzing

Insects don’t have anything to do with music? There are numerous songs and bits of music that deal with insects like this. Insects also play an important part in the construction of music. Any of the composers was fascinated by crickets, bees, ants, hornets, beetles and butterflies. However, animals also have a tough time in existence today. The Loss of biodiversity is endangered.

How Insects Play Music

Insects are a real all-rounder. As part of the SWR2 Insect Theme Week, we’re also dealing with what insects have to do with music. And that’s better than you would have thought. Silkworms are a material for excellent string. Termites created the first didgeridoo in the eucalyptus forest.

Locusts, for example, have excellent hearing – in their legs. And the sounds of insects inspired composers to create pieces of music as early as the 15th century.

Silk sounds
Silkworms can produce the material for the highest quality fabrics. The silk thread is tear-resistant like a steel cable – and therefore ideally suited for instrument strings. Chinese plucked and string instruments, for example, used to be made from the precious material

Insect Concerto
The composer Gregor A. Mayrhofer wrote a concert for insects and orchestra. It is intended to draw attention to the death of insects. The academics of the Berliner Philharmoniker performed the concert together with the insects. At SWR2, the composer is in conversation about the musical power of insects and the crickets’ singer wars.

Music from the perspective of a mosquito
How might our human music making affect a common mosquito? Jan Ritterstaedt reports on open air concerts and serenade music – from the perspective of a mosquito.

The didgeridoo: an instrument made by insects
Hollowed out eucalyptus trees are what we know today as a didgeridoo. Its inventor: the termites. They like to eat the soft core of the tree, what remains is the hard shell. And then the Aborigines started making music on it.

Watch: How Bugs works with music

Playlist: insects in music
In our playlist we have found what musically crawls and flies. The flight of the bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov should not be missing, but there are also small, lesser known pieces on the subject of insects to be found here.

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The referendum “Save the bees” in Bavaria at the beginning of the year had so many eligible voters joined as never before in a comparable company. The way for a referendum for more biodiversity in the state is clear. But not only in Bavaria and Germany as a whole are worries about the dramatic decline in insect populations. Insect mortality is a global problem. Our music scene provides information about why butterflies, beetles, hornets and other animals have such a hard time, what we lose with them, but also how they have been honored in numerous compositions in music history.