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canario timbrado

A HARD TASK II,
HOW TO OBTAIN GOOD SINGERS

   
 

By Miguel Angel Martin Espada (C.N.J. and F.O.C.D.E. Judge)


1. - Selection of reproducers

1.1. - Introduction.

I think it is unnecessary to explain the reasons for the importance of the selection of breeders in our song race and in every kind of domestic animals. Unlike happens in the wilds, where there´s a natural selection of most apt, and in the breeding in great flight cages , where though the breeders are chosen (artificial selection) takes place a kind of "random mating", in a regular captive reproduction is a breeder´s task to select the birds that will form suitable pairs to achieve the goals that the fancier tries to reach.

It is obvious that although all the phases of the cycle that conforms the selective breeding of song canaries are important, the selection of reproducers represents the plinth of all the work; if we are mistaken in this phase it is very probable that the youngsters will be genetically unsuitable and, even if we work correctly in the rest of the phases, we will irremediably be condemned to the failure.

The experience, normally, will determine the degree of autonomy of the breeder at the time of selecting the birds that will make up the pairs; in this sense for the beginner is practically impossible to replace his inexperience with theoretical advice, like the sort that you´ll find in these lines, since although we will try to explain them in a clear way , without the aid of veteran breeders it will be of very little help what here it is said. In his beginnings, the success of a breeder is in direct relation to the knowledge of the fanciers that advise him ; the technical level of the advisers is more important in these first years than the genetic quality of the canaries ; it will be useless to have acquired birds of stated high quality if we do not know what we must do with them to obtain the best results.

Yet, many veteran breeders are incapable to select suitably their reproducers and to process the crossings; in spite of counting on many years of experience, knowledge of the song of the race, musical sensitivity and exceeded mastery in the techniques of preparation for each one of the phases that the young canaries go through since they begin to emit their subsong until, after the phase of review or plastic song, they get to mature song.

It is in these cases when the assistance between breeders must work. These kind of relationships is characteristic of small associations or specialized clubs which main objective is the improvement of the race (in this type of groups of breeders usually is developed a healthy canaryculture based in the confidence and good faith between its members). The existence of this type of associations explains why many breeders begin to harvest successes from its same beginnings in canaryculture in spite of their inexperience, resuls that without the aid and help of the rest of members of the association would have taken years ; as long as, tired to buy canaries every year and to receive season after season contradictory advice and briefings without obtaining results, had not decided to throw the towel and to dedicate themselves to raise other varieties or, even, to leave upset this hobby.


1.2 - Objectives.

Let us remember that in the previous chapter of " A hard task... " we spoke of the objectives to fulfill and then we said:

" Our objective is the attainment of canaries that, within the parameters marked by the standard of the race and by means of a good and melodic voice, are able to detach, with good diction and ample pitch registry and through the total mastery of their vocal faculties , a series of tours as rich and varied as possible, considering their organic and physiological limitations, and always prevailing the quality to the quantity of notes "

This objective is common to all the breeders of song canaries, independently of the race that each one cultivates


1.2.1. Parameters of the song according to the race standard

It is fundamental to delimit, according to the standard of each race, the type of song that we wish that our canaries emit. Within our race, we also saw that we could find three different approaches about how the songs of the canaries should be , regarding the tours of the judgment form. Briefly we spoke of:

1º) Breeders that looks for songs in which take part all, or as many as possible , of the tours present in the judgment list. They could have like ideal form the following one:

JUDGMENT LIST

Timbres ...............................(9)

5

Rolled Variations .................(18)

9

Water like timbre...................(9)

5

Jingle bell ............................(9)

4

Flourishes ..........................(27)

16

Slow flourishes ...................(27)

17

Bell ....................................(9)

3

Clucks ...............................(18)

12

Castanet .............................(9)

4

Cojoint variations ................(27)

16

Slow Water ........................(18)

3

Semibound Water .................(9)

3

Impression ...........................(3)

3

TOTAL

100


2º) Breeders that select their birds song on the base of the tours of noncontinuous rate, supporting the variety of the repertoire in the multiple forms of expression of limitless phonetic text tours (flourishes, cojoint variations) and whose possible ideal form could be:

JUDGMENT LIST

Timbres ................................(9)

 

Rolled Variations ..................(18)

 

Water like timbre ...................(9)

 

Jingle bell .............................(9)

 

Flourishes ...........................(27)

23

Slow flourishes ....................(27)

25

Bell ......................................(9)

 

Clucks ................................(18)

15

Castanet ...............................(9)

 

Cojoint variations .................(27)

23

Slow Water .........................(18)

7

Semibound Water ..................(9)

4

Impression ...........................(3)

3

TOTAL

100


3º) Finally, those that prefer intermediate songs, between the two previous positions, looking for the matchless beauty of the tours of noncontinuous rate and limitless phonetic text but preserving in the song some of continuous rate. Their ideal form could be:

JUDGMENT LIST

Timbres ................................(9)

3

Rolled Variations ..................(18)

4

Water like timbre ...................(9)

3

Jingle bell .............................(9)

 

Flourishes ...........................(27)

20

Slow Flourishes ....................(27)

22

Bell ......................................(9)

 

Clucks ................................(18)

14

Castanet ...............................(9)

 

Cojoint variations..................(27)

20

Slow Water .........................(18)

6

Semilbound water ..................(9)

5

Impression ...........................(3)

3

TOTAL

100


However we must clarify that these are just examples of possible birds as the amplitude of the standard allows that on these three generic variants it can be as many ideal forms as breeders.

We have already indicated our ideal birds as members of Club Timbrado City of Zaragoza (Spain) and, since the present article is adressed to those breeders that share our way to understand the Spanish Song Canary, is the second position the one that we will assume like objective to obtain, thus our ideal form is:

IDEAL JUDGMENT LIST
OF C.T.C.Z.

Timbres ................................(9)

 

Rolled variations....................(18)

 

Water Tone ...........................(9)

 

Rattle Tone ...........................(9)

 

Floreos ................................(27)

23

Slow Floreos ........................(27)

25

Bell ......................................(9)

 

Cloqueos .............................(18)

15

Castanet ...............................(9)

 

Joint Variation ......................(27)

23

Slow Water ..........................(18)

7

Semiligada Water ...................(9)

4

Impression ............................(3)

3

TOTAL

100


In our club we tried to reach the objective of all breeders of song canaries through the selection of the song on the basis of the improvement of the noncontinuous rate tours, mainly the discontinuous ones, eliminating in our birdrooms the Timbrados that use as support and/or basis of their song continuous rate tours (metallic timbre and rolled variations) and even, in the case of the strictest and most demanding breeders, to the exclusion like breeder of every bird that emits any tour of continuous rate in its song. The specialization in the noncontinuous rate tours causes an unsuspected development of the musical creative faculties of our canaries, obtaining , with such variety of notes and the matchless and innate musical talent of the canary of Spanish Song, awesome compositions that make us wonder how is possible that such small animals are able, by themselves, to compose so beautiful and delicate melodies without any type of song education. Evidently, there are a few canaries able to emit this type of superb song, less than we wish, but every year there are more and more excellent birds that pass the strict selective process they are put under.

Making more specific our initial objective, we try the attainment of canaries that in a innate way and without the aid of adult birds, basing its song on the richness and variety of the noncontinuous rate tours, with predominance of those of limitless phonetic composition (flourishes, slow flourishes and cojoint variations), and by means of a good and melodious voice (* 1), are able to detach, with good diction and total musical mastery, made clear through the total dominion of their vocal faculties and ample pitch registry, a series of rich and as varied as possible tours, considering their organic and physiological limitations and always prevaling the quality of the notes to their quantity

Lets also remember something that we have already said and that it is of capital importance in our selective work: " What the canary inherits is the innate predisposition to make an undetermined series, but determinable, of tours, that will be shaped in a melody through a period of subsong, marked by the morphology, more or less suitable, of the bird and by the factors that have surrounded him during the maturation process ". We work in the improvement of that innate predisposition or genetic pattern of song, selecting and using like breeders only those canaries coming from families that base their song on the tours of noncontinuous rate and that, in the case of the males, demonstrate clearly their aptitudes in that direction of song.



1.2.2. The voice.

It is clear that the base of every song canary is its voice. A good voice implies an apparatus of perfect song, a truly complex mechanism of sonorous production and in which they take part multitude of devices.

Figure 1

The air stored in the lungs and air sacs is expelled by the canary. Before arriving to the trachea, where trachea is branched off in the bronchi, we found the syrinx , device of bird phonation equivalent to our larynx.

 



Figure 2

In the syrinx we find a complex mechanism driven by a sophisticated muscular system (* 2) that, together with the action of the external pressure of the air contained in the clavicular air sac (that surrounds the syrinx and causes that this one is in a pneumatic atmosphere), allows that several membranes, denominated tympanic (* 3), are tightened and, when the air is expelled from the lungs, these membranes vibrate producing the sound (* 4). The tone or frequency of the sound will vary by the action of the muscles that enervate the syrinx through the greater or smaller tension of the tympanic membranes. Afterwards the sound goes to the trachea, where it can also be modified, traditionally it has defended that the tone of the sound can be varied in the traquea by means of its elongation or contraction , although the scientists do not give too much value to this affirmation (* 5). To its passage by the larynx, according to its greater or smaller opening, also the tone can undergo modifications.

Finally, the sound arrives to the bucolingual cavity, where we believe (* 6) takes place its definitive articulation and its transformation in the different sounds that we perceive and that, according to its duration, structure and complexity , we denominate calls, cries or songs (* 7). We should consider, also, the role as box of resonance that the esophagus plays (when it´s full of air , forming the denominated crop or gullet of song, can act on the superior part of the trachea, modifying the tone).



Notes:

1 When we speak of voices usually we add an adjective that makes reference to its sonorous characteristics or, said in a more correct way, its musical color or timbre; thus we speak of bright voices, metallic, hollow, deep, watery, slanted or regañantes, sweet, flute like etc. The timbre of voice will be determined by the instrument , the apparatus of song, and we find here the main differences between the three races of song internationally recognized; since the specialization of the voices favors the predominance in the song of those tours whose timbre or color agrees in greater measurement with the characteristic of the race. The Roller canary is selected towards hollow and deep colors (not to confuse with deep tones) and dominates specially the tours of hollow timbre; the Malinois, selected towards watery tones, is characterized by its water tours; and the canary of Spanish Song, that emphasizes in the bright and metallic colors, dominates the execution of the tours of metallic texture. It doesnot mean that in these races, within the own characteristics of its specialized apparatuses of song, we couldn´t talk ,as well, of specializations towards different timbre within the margin that allows the generic one of the race and without entering the identificative timbre of the other races. Thus, we find the Roller Gluck line, or the watery one. Finally, within our race and according to the preferences of the breeder, we find lines specialized in flute like flourishes, flourishes of fight or "riñas", tours composed with water, etc., etc. There´s, so, a predominance of tours in the songs that, like direct consequence of the specialization, entails that the breeder makes in his birds a selection looking for those voices (and devices that produce them) more suitable to obtain his type of favorite song.

2 In the muscles that act in the operation of the syrinx we can distinguish two external muscles, the esternotraqueal and the traqueolateral, and five pairs of intrinsic muscles. It is discussed by the scientists which of these muscles are mainly in charge of the operation of the syrinx. For the defenders of the passive operation model (Miskinen) they would be the muscles esternotraqueal and traqueolateral . For the defenders of the active operation model (Chamberlain) the weight of the operation of the syrinx would fall to intrinsic muscles. Finally, there are authors who consider that both models are insufficient to explain the complicated operation of the syrinx.

3 We distinguish between internal and external timpanic membranes, a set in each one of the halves of the syrinx. It seems that in the canary the fundamental role in the sonorous production is carried out by the internal timpanic membranes.

4 Evidently the pressure of the expelled air must reach a certain threshold or value to make vibrate the timpanic membranes and, therefore, produce sound; in other case would practically be impossible for the bird to control the sonorous transmission. To greater pressure of the expelled air, greater volume or intensity will have the sound.

5 It looks like that to produce some of the pitch modulations that canaries and other species of passerines make with the trachea, this one should be much longer or, at least, to have the possibility to enlarge itself in much greater measurement.

6 Although we do not know how the sonorous articulation takes place exactly, we just have to notice the movements of the bill of our canaries to realize that the bucolingual cavity takes part somehow in the production of those sounds which, by onomatopoeic analogy, we say that are formed by vowels and consonants. When we exactly know how the articulation of sounds in the song of birds takes place, if it is bucolingual, lingualpalatina, guttural, etc., we will have taken a great scientific step.

7 The musical sounds emitted by a bird we know that are characterized by a certain tone, intensity and timbre or color. It is necessary to consider that the air also acts as filter of the sounds, and we should consider its influence when analyzing how the sound is perceived by our ear, and in the same way will be necessary to analyze the acoustic properties of the means in which the sound is transmitted (phenomenaof reflection, refraction, reverberation, etc.).

 

 

   
   
© Miguel Angel Martín Espada

 

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