By Lauren Lopez
David Teie received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He went on to conduct and play the cello in both the National and San Francisco Symphonies. In 2005, Teie premiered his Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra with the Anchorage Symphony. Since 2014, he has been the conductor of the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. But in 2005, Teie turned his composing away from humans and started focusing on other species.
First, he developed music for cotton-top tamarin monkeys with the help of the University of Wisconsin. This was the first time that any species other than humans demonstrated an appropriate response to music. He composed the music like he would for humans, but made it higher pitched and faster so it would be catered to the monkeys. The monkeys responded by moving faster through their environment.
In 2006, Teie began studying cats. Over the past six years, he has composed species-specific music by incorporating sounds felines will respond to, such as birds chirping or cats purring. He also matched the music to cats’ natural frequency to further personalize the songs. All of this was done with limited money, so Teie wasn’t able to bring his project to its full potential. Now, he hopes his Kickstarter will provide the money needed to produce his first full-length album of music for cats.
According to a post on his website, Teie believes “every species has an intuitive biological response to sounds present in their early development.” But Music for Cats is not only about the felines’ enjoyment. A portion of the money raised with Music for Cats goes to the Paw Project, which is an organization that advocates against declawing cats.
Music for Cats is generating a lot of buzz online. Their website boasts a plethora of positive reviews from various users. Karey Harris from Fort Worth, Texas, wrote, “I work at an emergency veterinary hospital. Today we had a patient in incredible pain. He was on as much pain medication as we could give him, but he just couldn’t get comfortable. I put on Rusty’s Ballad for him on repeat, and he’s currently sleeping. Thank you so much for what you’ve created!”
“Last night, Fisher was going nuts, attacking my feet while we were trying to go to sleep,” wrote Maggie from St. Louis. “So my husband put on your cat music, and within ten seconds, Fisher was lulled into an ultra-relaxed state. It was amazing!”
It’s often assumed that animals enjoy the same music as humans. But in fact, they have very particular tastes. With Teie’s research and work, cats, as well as other species, can enjoy music attuned to their likes.