We’ve spoken about cats’ artistic pursuits before. We’ve also talked about theremins.
Today, those two threads come together.
It’s not a new video, having been posted almost six years ago, and it leaves a few questions unanswered: “Was the second cat seen at the end inspired to take up the theremin too?”, “Did anyone think to get the cat lessons?”, and most importantly, “Why aren’t there any more videos showing the evolution of this cat’s musical prowess?” There is one more video of the same cat, but since it was posted the same day, it doesn’t give us much insight into how the cat developed its skills.
Whoops, correction: there is a later video, posted two years later:
Given how quickly the cat loses interest, I think it’s safe to conclude that the cat’s human didn’t make any effort to keep the cat engaged: no lessons and no regular musical sessions. A shame. The world needs more feline involvement in the musical world.
Andrew Lloyd Webber aside, not much attention has been paid to offering cats opportunities to develop their musical skills. Oh, there are a few in the rap world, and a few more in rock and even in improvisational jazz:
But it’s actually easier to find music by humans for cats than it is to find music by cats.
The less said about the “cat organ” the better, and the various incarnations of the “cat piano” (Android) or iOS) are only slightly less unnerving.
Of course, no discussion of cats and music would be complete without a mention of the famous Keyboard Cat.
Consider him mentioned. Personally, I find him demeaning: the feline equivalent of a white actor performing in blackface. If you disagree, and you need more Keyboard Cat in your life, ThinkGeek has the official Keyboard Cat toy in stock. As I write this, it’s even on sale.
Still, we’ll always have Nora the Piano Cat:
And remember: Dreams Are Real
Early on in my mechanical music collection, I came across a short article in a magazine whose name, unfortunately, I can’t remember, but I made a photocopy which still hangs over my desk, behind the computer. In this article, the contraption (identical to Wiki’s La Nature 1883-dated machine) was described as a Felinophone, Model 7, circa 1875, and the writer, one Sylvester Gato of Teotihuacan, Mexico, explained, he was trying to build one, but “My problem is this: I’m having trouble finding enough cats in the neighborhood with different pitched voices to get the proper sound…Grizzly old tom cats seem to have the lowest pitched voices, and young females the highest.” Then, Senor Gato asked for help from any reader who might have found a solution to a similar problem.
Interesting choice of pseudonym, considering how much trouble El Gato Sylvester had with Speedy Gonzalez.
That aside, I can’t imagine Senor Gato’s the only maker of cat organs or felinophones with that problem. Perhaps they should form an affinity organization to allow them to trade cats. I can just see the posts to their mailing list: “I’ve got a surplus of C#s. Am willing to trade 2-for-1 for F, F#, and/or G.”