'Very few animals learn anything from humans. The dog, the mule, the horse, the ass, the parrot, the blackbird and a few others are the only animals to receive even a semblance of education, and that can only be called education in that it isn't clearly anything else. Compare, I beg you, the teaching given to animals with that given by the universities to young human undergraduates, and you will have to admit that it is not worth speaking of and couldn't possibly widen or make easier the knowledge that an animal can pick up through its work and steady industry. But what about music? Horses have learned to dance; spiders have remained underneath a piano during the whole of a long recital put on for them by a respected master of the keyboard. And what then? Nothing. Now and then people will mention the starling's musicality, the crow's ear for a tune, the owl's ingenious harmony as it taps on its stomach to accompany itself — an artificial method yielding only slender polyphony.
'As for the oft-cited nightingale, its musical knowledge would make even the most ignorant of its listeners shrug his shoulders. Its voice is not properly placed, and on top of that it knows nothing about clefs, or keys, or modes, or time. Has it any talent at all? It is possible; it is even probable. But one has to say that its artistic grounding is very much inferior to its natural gifts, and that the voice it is so proud of is really a very poor instrument and of no worth in itself.' -- Eric Satie, 'Memoirs of an Amnesiac'
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