“Rasų Radijas” presents a new monthly show by “Sodas 2123” residents called - “Unarcheology Radio” hosted by Demetrio Castellucci. The first radio gallery appearance is a playlist compiled from whale sounds recorded in different parts of the world. It will air on the 3rd of August at 8PM.

Unarcheology Radio #1

“Rasų Radijas” presents a new monthly show by “Sodas 2123” residents called – “Unarcheology Radio” hosted by Demetrio Castellucci. The first radio gallery appearance is a playlist compiled from whale sounds recorded in different parts of the world. It will air on the 3rd of August at 8PM.
Tracklist and a text compiled by Demetrio slightly reveals the outstanding world of whale songs:
1. Inside an Ice Cave – 13/3/2016 – Baltic Shore (recorded by Jan Eerala)
2. Maui Whale Two
From: “New Songs of the Humpback Whale” by David Rothenberg and Michael Deal (2015)
3. Killer Whales vocalizations
From: McMurdo Oceanographic Observatory
4. Madagascar Whale One
From: “New Songs of the Humpback Whale” by David Rothenberg and Michael Deal (2015)
5. Weddell Seals (Underwater)
From: “Antarctica” by Douglas Quin –(1998)
6. Beluga Whale Calls
recorded in Cunningham Inlet at Somerset Island, Nunavut.
7. Solo Whale
From: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1979)
8. Tonga Whales
From: New Songs of the Humpback Whale by David Rothenberg and Michael Deal (2015)
Sound travels faster in water than in air. The speed of sound in air under typical conditions is about 343 meters per second, while the speed of sound in water is about 1,480 meters per second.
The first sound of this mix is from the frozen Baltic Sea and has been recorded in a swell by Siikaranta shore, Reposaari Finland. The field recordist, Jan Eerala, made a hole in the ice bank and placed the microphones under the ice shelf. The second recording has been taken in Maui in 2010. It’s from an album called “New Songs of the Humpback Whale” presenting the most recent songs of the humpback whales. These animals change their songs over time and no other mammals (apart from the bowhead whales) use constantly changing sound sequences as a sexual display. The songs follow a distinct hierarchical structure. The base units of the song (sometimes loosely called the “notes”) are single uninterrupted emissions of sound that last up to a few seconds. These sounds vary in frequency from 20 Hz to upward of 24 kHz (the typical human range of hearing is 20 Hz to 20 kHz). The units may be frequency modulated (i.e., the pitch of the sound may go up, down, or stay the same during the note) or amplitude modulated (get louder or quieter). However, the adjustment of bandwidth on a spectrogram representation of the song reveals the essentially pulsed nature of the FM sounds.
A collection of four or six units is known as a sub-phrase, lasting perhaps ten seconds. A collection of two sub-phrases is a phrase. A whale will typically repeat the same phrase over and over for two to four minutes. This is known as a theme. A collection of themes is known as a song. The whale song will last up to 30 or so minutes, and will be repeated over and over again over the course of hours or even days. This “Russian doll” hierarchy of sounds suggests a syntactic structure that is more human-like in its complexity than other forms of animal communication like bird songs, which have only linear structure.
All the whales in an area sing virtually the same song at any point in time and the song is constantly and slowly evolving over time. For example, over the course of a month a particular unit that started as an upsweep (increasing in frequency) might slowly flatten to become a constant note. Another unit may get steadily louder. The pace of evolution of a whale’s song also changes—some years the song may change quite rapidly, whereas in other years little variation may be recorded. Whales occupying the same geographical areas (which can be as large as entire ocean basins) tend to sing similar songs, with only slight variations. Whales from non-overlapping regions sing entirely different songs. As the song evolves, it appears that old patterns are not revisited. An analysis of 19 years of whale songs found that while general patterns in song could be spotted, the same combination never recurred.
In the case of killer whales (third recording) time-frequency contours of stereotyped pulsed calls are group-specific from matrilineal lines (group with same mother) to pods (living group consisting of a number of matrilineal lines) to clans (larger groups sharing calls). There are a number of call types within these groups, which are thought to be learned in the pod, and for the most part, these types have been classified by humans from listening and looking at their spectra. For killer whale sounds classification by eye and ear is quite consistent, and this type of classification has been useful to reveal group-specific acoustic repertoires and matching vocal exchanges.
The fourth song is from Humpback whales recorded in Madagascar in 2007. In the fifth song, the Weddell seals are producing trills, whistles, low frequency buzzes, and chirps under the Antarctica’s ice.
In 2017-2018 the McMurdo Sound underwater observatory observed that they also emit ultrasounds, sound frequencies that humans can’t hear.
Researchers are still studying if the seals are using ultrasounds for echolocation, since it’s still unknown how can they navigate and hunt during the pitch-black dark antarctic winters.
The sixth song is a recording of calls of adult and juvenile beluga whales, at Cunningham Inlet in the Canadian Arctic.
Nicknamed “canaries of the sea” by early whalers, Beluga communication system is one of the most complex in the animal kingdom, and also takes place in an habitat almost pitch-black for half of the year.
The seventh song of this mix is from “Songs of the Humpback Whale”, in 1979 ten million copies of it were pressed at once, when a magazine inserted a flexible “sound page” inside the back cover of all of its editions in twenty-five languages. The last song is from Humpback Whales, recorded in Tonga in 2008.
“Unarcheology” (unarcheology.com) is a pact of relationships over the Internet, curated by a group of people based in Vilnius, Lithuania, publishing original music and mixes of sounds captured from the cities and the valleys.
“The Sound Gym” is the headquarters and the studio gallery of “Unarcheology”.
The program consists of performances, movie screenings and installations.
https://www.unarcheology.com
https://www.instagram.com/unarcheology
📷: the cover of Payne and McVay’s 1971 Science article, showing the structure of twelve minutes of a humpback whale song, colors added by Michael Deal.