The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, just round the corner from here, has a wonderful collection of apparatus for the mechanical imitation of bird-song, the Cabinet des Appeaux. So much so that many of the hand-made polished and finished wood, metal and glass objects suggest their own fantasy well beyond the mere reproduction of birdsong. The glass cylinder and funnel with flask and tube is for the melodious recreation of the sound of the linnet. Various rattles and wind-blown items cover a wide field of sounds. But as we know from John Bevis’s wonderful A-Z of Birdsong, and the label shown here from one of the cases, the linguistic notation and representation of birdsong is constantly changing. The museum is slightly too crazily knowing about itself, slightly too aware of its own quirkiness to be a place of real discovery, slightly too undusty. Maybe it suffers from too conscious a reading of le Douanier to Breton for its own good, when all you really want is for the place to be falling to pieces. It also has thistles on the seats of its chairs, which we had seen at the Musée de la Vie Romantique, and which seems to have become generally a more gentle negation of purpose, without ropes and cords tied around the arms. SC

photo copy

Source: Birdsong