Puddy tats

Puddy tats

So I’m learning the fiddle, scraping away quite merrily now for a week or two, and I think I’m starting to get a nice tone out of the thing, learning to relax the bow hand, putting a couple of jigs together that actually *sound* like jigs, etc etc, but the main indicator of my progress has been that my three cats have started paying attention to my playing. They sit there enraptured, like my little "audience" (but please, let’s not go down THAT particular conversational alley - these are cats, not Pavlov’s Dog 😉 ). Y’know, I actually think they quite like it…..either that or they’re too petrified to move….which is weird, because they’re not at all interested in my guitar or mandolin unless it’s string-changing time.

Anyone else have pets who double as music critics?

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My dog sings along to harmonica, and the missus’ concertina.


Has it crossed your mind, plinkey, that cats have a historical link with fiddle strings which might be holding their interest?

(yes - I know it was made from sheep, but it was called catgut).

Sully used to have a dog- Bunco - which would occasionally dance when he played banjo.

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My dog sings with me when I play harmonising notes. If I play out of tune he doesn’t bother. Think he’s making up the words though!

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There’s nearly always some kind of Irish trad CD or tape on in my Drosophila lab when I’m working there…but I don’t *quite* yet know how to gauge the flies’ response……


hmmm…I’m sure there’s a paper in there somewhere…

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Danny - surely you can tell if they get a buzz out of it?

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One of my cats loves the fiddle, one is not bothered either way, and the other runs a mile as soon as she sees the case opening.

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All of my family head for the hills when they see me opening the fiddle case.

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My cat gets irritated when I play the guitar too loud - she prefers to have a quiet room when she’s sleeping (i.e., most of the time).

My dog attacks me when I play the flute. I guess he has some reason in that.

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People often remark that my fiddle-paying is rather good for only one and a half years of practice. Well, I think it’s all my cat’s fault. When I started playing she used to run away the moment I took the fiddle out of the case. So I really had to improve fast, otherwise she possibly would have moved to our neighbours. Now she stays put whenever I play but I still have the feeling that she doesn’t particularly like it.

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There is a singing dingo in these parts down the Stuart Highway a bit at Jim’s Place, a roadhouse at Stuart’s Well. His name is Dinky and he is an international celebrity. He is a seasoned performer and he won an international competition and became a question in Trivial Pursuit. People come by the bus load from near and far to hear him sing. He climbs onto the piano keys and sings when someone plays it (of course it kind of cramps the player’s style to have a dingo standing on the keys, but he doesn’t mind if the music is not p-e-r-f-e-c-t).

Well I was at Jim’s Place the other day with some rellies visiting from Cairns. Dinky was there curled up beside the piano but he wasn’t putting on a show for a bus load of tourists or anything. There were just a couple of customers, apart from us, in the roadhouse, when he uncurled and climbed the chair onto the piano keys, shuffled his feet to make them play and sang a couple of howls before climbing down and curling up asleep again. We gawked and laughed. He obviously loves it.

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My cat quite likes it when I play the flute. Not whistle though - don’t have a clue why. And just today I started to learn fiddle (thanks Eleanor!!). He (my cat) walked in, took one luck and ran out again. Hmm….I wonder why…….

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My cat does a runner as soon as a concertina appears. They are intelligent animals!

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I learned fiddle for a while some years ago but was so bad at it that I gave it up. My family hated me practising. Our cat, however, would appear from nowhere as soon as I started playing and would climb onto my knee, snuggle up adoringly, and refuse to shift until forced to when I stood up. It is VERY difficult to play the fiddle with a large cat on your knee…. (but I would have been bad at it anyway).

Jane R

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I tried to tempt Mrs Plinkey into playing an instrument - she once made some throwaway remark about liking the whistle, so I bought one for her. Didn’t last long, but we noticed that next-door’s dog would go into fits of barking (or, as we put it, "laughter") everytime she played it. But it dosen’t respond at all to any of my various horrible-racket-making efforts on guitar, mando or fiddle.

Gotta go, cricket’s starting up again……

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Cat’s don’t like whistles. Some sort of overtone or something - they tend to freak.
They don’t mind fiddle or flute - even with me playing.
Guitars and mandos - I don’t think they even register
They aren’t keen on the double bass - I think they think it’s some sort of nasty man.
Kazoos = "Dinner’s Ready!"

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I took up the ‘violin’ for a while when I was about 11. Our cat used to freak out , run round like a mad thing, and knock over the music stand. I took the hint, and switched to cello - I couldn’t handle the violin screeching, either. 🙂
Didn’t Charles Darwin do some studies on the effects of music on earthworms?
Bit of a tangent, but another thing cats can’t stand the sound of, is velcro. Frightens them out of their wits…

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I can’t believe so many people have cats !

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I have a parakeet who starts bobbing his head up and down the minute he sees me pick up the fiddle. When I start to play he sometimes swings around and around on his perch and hangs upside down. He really likes when I play in third position.

My dog could care less.

Mary

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Guess I should have said my dog could not care less.

Mary

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Nobody has cats. Cats have you.

"Mine" ignored all music, except whistle, which she loved. The higher the pitch the better.

KFG

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Can’t resist this one, perhaps the cats are so enraptured by your fiddle playing because it sounds like another cat!

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They think you have another cat trapped in the strange little wood box, injured and screaming for help, and they are waiting for you to pull it out so they can lick its wounds.

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My Zebra Finch loves to sing along with my whistle. He seems to like Darby Gallagher’s the best. The dog, and everything else rushes for the door when I pull out the Piob Mhor. They are def an outside instrument.

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There is nothing more beautiful on a christmas eve than opening a huge bay window, and playing Carolan’s Farewell, all the people gathered ‘round after a rousing Christmas dinner, each one with cups of hot punch in their hand, and the mutt of the house comes bouncing along and starts singing right in the middle of the Carolan tune. Ha! That’s something I’ll never forget. Even now he seems to like Carolan’s Faewell, and its the only one he’ll "sing".

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I’ve lived with cats all my life and I noticed long ago that some of them absolutely love to hear whistling and others are indifferent or even irritated by it. So when I meet a new cat, I always do the whistle test to see which kind I’m dealing with. I wonder what other characteristics might correlate, but getting a cat to respond to a personailty questionnaire is a bit of a challenge. They get offended if you probe too much.

My cat is the whistle-loving type and she also likes singing, especially if it’s harmonized. If we’re singing four-part harmony with friends, the cat will come and sit right in the middle of it, looking up at the faces in wide-eyed wonderment.

When I got a new guitar a few years ago, the cat apparently noticed it was something different and came to check it out. She listened for a while, then jumped up beside me and sniffed at the peghead. After a minute, she decided it was okay and rubbed her cheek against it several times – the universal cat ritual of acceptance and claiming ownership – then hopped down and trotted off to check on the rest of her staff.

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When I started playing the fiddle, my cat would usually curl up right next to my feet. But then when my fiddling got better, she would discretely leave the room… Go figure!
Now she seems to ignore me completely when I play. In German, one can refer to horrible music as "Katzenmusik" - "cat music". Maybe that’s why she loved it in the beginning. 😉

The other day, when I was messing around with the box I borrowed from a friend, she was all curious when I got it out of the bag. She wasn’t even interested in the bag - and that means something since she usually invades any kind of instrument case around within seconds. But as soon as I played the first note - never seen her run that fast (except when I come with the vacuum cleaner)! 🙂

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Everybody’s a critic.

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One of my cats, who is not normally a lap cat for the most part, will jump onto my lap and sit on my knee directly in front of the banjo.

While that makes it somewhat difficult to play the banjo, it is rather comical to watch, because she’ll sit on my knee even if that’s the foot I am tapping, and she is bouncing up and down.

What she is thinking wanting to be that close to a loud, obnoxious instrument, I’ll never know 🙂

Pete

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maybe she’s jealous of your banjo ; )
My dog who passed away would sing with me when I played. Funny thing though, he’d be in tune.

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My husband’s family had a very neurotic cat that lived in the basement and hissed, spluttered and growled at itself most of the time. It didn’t seem to like anyone but my husband’s mother even though everyone in the family was kind to it. During college, my husband decided to take violin lessens and surprised his family by playing, "We wish you a Merry Christmas" for the family at Christmas. His playing was comical all by itself, but the cat emerged from the basement (which it hardly ever did) on top of that and started happily rubbing against his feet and legs in a most uncharacteristic way. I guess he was " playing her tune". Needless to say everyone who knew anything about the cat was in stitches.

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The cat of a girl from our session peed in her fiddle case. I think that’s quite a statement!

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I used to have a budgie that would sit on the head of my guitar and sing his little heart out when I would play. Come to think of it, he sang to the vacuum cleaner, too.

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My cats love the piano and mandolin, but run away if I get out the accordion or concertina. Whaddya mean, they must be musical then?