Cartoon insects playing music

Cartoon insects playing musicSome insects are well known for the sounds they make and certain insect sounds – like those of grasshoppers and cicadas – have been likened to music over the years. In fact, insects are a crucial part of what’s been called “nature’s symphony.” So, let’s look at how insects have inspired music.

Insect Inspired Songs?

Insects are mentioned in songs across the musical landscape. From country icon Dolly Parton’s song, “Love Is Like a Butterfly” to rock legend Alice Cooper’s “I Am the Spider.” Bug songs can be found for every music taste.

Some notable ones include:

  • Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain
  • System of a Down and Slipknot both did “Spiders
  • Smashing Pumkins have “Tarantula
  • Patti Smith did “Fireflies
  • Chubby Checker and U2 performed “The Fly
  • Metallica and Swedish House Mafia have “Moth to a Flame
  • The Doors recorded “The Mosquito
  • The Rolling Stones performed “The Spider and the Fly
  • The Flaming Lips did “Watching the Lightbugs Glow
  • Sinead Lohan sings “Bee in the Bottle
  • Dave Matthews Band is known for “Ants Marching

In regard to the last song, “Ants Marching” was used to address themes of monotony in daily life, using how ants march as a metaphor. Matthews has called the song their anthem.

How Have Insects Influenced Music?

Jazz musician David Rothenberg finds the music of insects so fascinating that he has spent the last few years performing duets with them. Rothenberg has examined, written about, and performed with cicadas, beetles, and crickets. His study of the rhythm insects create (and how it affects human music) can be found in the book and CD Bug Music. Rothenberg has also studied whale songs and why birds sing.

Much like Rothenberg, Finnish composer Kalevi Aho finds insects to be so musically inspiring that he has incorporated them into a variety of projects. He wrote an opera called Insect Life based on the Czech play, Pictures from the Insects’ Life. His Seventh Symphony, the Insect Symphony, contains six movements that take on the life of a different insect – grasshoppers, dung beetles, ants, parasites, butterflies, and mayflies. The symphony features a variety of styles and sounds to reflect the insect for which each movement is named.

In classical music, “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is probably the most famous. While most people assume it was an independent composition, the Russian composer actually created it as an orchestral interlude in his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan. The piece has been covered by saxophonists, flutists, and even thrash metal bands.

“Flight of the Bumblebee” is best known for its incredibly fast pace, designed to evoke the way bees fly. That has led to many performers trying to play it faster than anyone else. Pianist Sunny Li has a memorable version in which she plays the piece on two pianos.

Call the Pest Experts at Arrow

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