So what did you think of my Whale impression? Was it any good? No!? Well fine, see if I care.
All jokes aside, let’s talk about whale songs and how they relieve stress.
Despite what the name suggests, whale songs are not whales going around singing opera to each other. Like other mammals of the sea (dolphins, porpoises and such) whales use sound for echo location and to communicate with each other. Since sound travels faster and much further underwater than it does in the air, whales can “talk” to each other even when they are miles apart (without things like phones, walkie talkie’s etc). Some whales like the humpback whale use their songs to find and attract potential mates during mating season, so I guess you could say they are wooing their mates with song.
If you want learn more about whale songs you can check out this wikipedia article called, “Whale Vocalisation,”. They even have some recordings of different whale songs there.
Now lets us get into the heart of the matter, how whale songs help people relax. If you read this article on npr.org, titled, “Recordings That Made Waves: The Songs That Saved The Whales,” it will tell you about a biologist named Roger Payne first “discovered” whale songs completely by accident back in the 1960’s. When Payne started studying whales back in 1966 he met a Frank Watlington, a sound engineer and military researcher, who gave him a recording of whales which he had gotten by accident when he was trying to record dynamite explosions. At first Payne had no idea what he was listening to. It was only after listening to the recording for an extended period of time that he realised that the whales were rhythmic and repeated sounds, in other words they were technically singing.
Over time Payne began distributing his recordings to musicians, composers and singers, in an attempt to spread the word and get the world to notice whales and stop hunting them. It took many, many years but it worked, now only a handful of countries still hunt whales legally.
Now let us come to another article from theguardian.com titled, “Saved by the whale,” by Alice Wignall. Here they start off with the sad fact that the popularity of whale songs began to go down, why? To put it simply, it had gone out of style. But then it goes on to talk about how Whale songs started to make a bit of a comeback (mind you the article was written in 2007 so the stuff is dated, nevertheless it is relevant). The rest of the article goes into the history of how whale songs were discovered, how whale songs were making a comeback as an alternative for of stress relief and how there was evidence of this stress relief.
According to the article there is evidence that whale songs can stop babies crying, and that the sound soothed fetuses, women during childbirth and even people who were dying. All of these seem to point towards the likelihood that whale songs can indeed make you feel less stressed.
I would like to make this post longer but I can’t think of anything else to write, so let me end it here. Go ahead and try listening to whale songs for yourself, if all goes well, you’ll feel better afterwards.