Anyone who’s ever watched a horror film will know that the sound of two clashing notes evokes a visceral response in most people. Among Western listeners there’s a strong preference for consonance, which exists even from infancy; consonance is the pleasing mixture of two tones, while dissonance is their clashing. (For a good example of both, see this video.) It’s controversial whether the same preferences exist in other cultures, but new research indicates the preferences
Nymph of a Bow-winged Grasshopper (Chorthippus biguttulus) in Hamm, Germany.
Ah, spring, when the meadows come alive with the sweet trilling of grasshopper come-ons. The bow-winged grasshopper attracts females with a very specific song—so specific, in fact, that it is the only thing that distinguishes it from related species in the field. In quiet, Alpine grasslands, this system works like a charm. But as urban development encroaches on more of the grasshopper’s habitat, city noise