What could this cute video of a guy playing Bluegrass music for a fox possibly have to do with our subject matter here at this site? A lot more than you might think. “I’d been touring and playing hundreds of shows a year for nearly 20 years,” said the musician in question, “so it was amazing to suddenly spend all this time at home. And it’s nice how people seem to appreciate live music even more after the pandemic!” People and animals, too, it seems. Is the fox actually enjoying the music? It sure seems to be. *Can* animals enjoy music? There is a long tradition of music having an effect on animals. Remember the old saying, “Music calms the savage beast”.
There is a figure in folklore called a “wolf charmer”. One particular sort could control wild wolves by playing music for them. And in Vienna and thereabouts in the Middle Ages it was customary to perform the “Wolfssegen”, in which the opening chapters of the Gospel of Saint Matthew were sung on Christmas Eve to ward away wolves. In France, those who could control wolves by means of playing a flute were called “Meneur de Loups”, i.e. “wolf leaders” or “wolf masters”. Reckon any of them played a banjo rather than a flute?