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On The Generation Of Animals   


smoothness and roughness, flexibility and inflexibility. We must
inquire then into the causes of each of these distinctions.

We must suppose then that the same cause is responsible for high and
deep voices as for the change which they undergo in passing from youth
to age. The voice is higher in all other animals when younger, but
in cattle that of calves is deeper. We find the same thing also in the
male and female sexes; in the other kinds of animals the voice of
the female is higher than that of the male (this being especially
plain in man, for Nature has given this faculty to him in the
highest degree because he alone of animals makes use of speech and the
voice is the material of speech), but in cattle the opposite obtains,
for the voice of cows is deeper than that of bulls.

Now the purpose for which animals have a voice, and what is meant by
'voice' and by 'sound' generally, has been stated partly in the
treatise on sensation, partly in that on the soul. But since lowness
of voice depends on the movement of the air being slow and its
highness on its being quick, there is a difficulty in knowing
whether it is that which moves or that which is moved that is the
cause of the slowness or quickness. For some say that what is much
is moved slowly, what is little quickly, and that the quantity of
the air is the cause of some animals having a deep and others a high
voice. Up to a certain point this is well said (for it seems to be
rightly said in a general way that the depth depends on a certain
amount of the air put in motion), but not altogether, for if this
were true it would not be easy to speak both soft and deep at once,
nor again both loud and high. Again, the depth seems to belong to
the nobler nature, and in songs the deep note is better than the
high-pitched ones, the better lying in superiority, and depth of
tone being a sort of superiority. But then depth and height in the
voice are different from loudness and softness, and some high-voiced
animals are loud-voiced, and in like manner some soft-voiced ones
are deep-voiced, and the same applies to the tones lying between these
extremes. And by what else can we define these (I mean loudness and
softness of voice) except by the large and small amount of the air
put in motion? If then height and depth are to be decided in
accordance with the distinction postulated, the result will be that
the same animals will be deep-and loud-voiced, and the same will be
high-and not loud-voiced; but this is false.

The reason of the difficulty is that the words 'great' and
'small', 'much' and 'little' are used sometimes absolutely,
sometimes relatively to one another. Whether an animal has a great
(or loud) voice depends on the air which is moved being much
absolutely, whether it has a small voice depends on its being little
absolutely; but whether they have a deep or high voice depends on
their being thus differentiated in relation to one another. For if
that which is moved surpass the strength of that which moves it, the
air that is sent forth must go slowly; if the opposite, quickly. The
strong, then, on account of their strength, sometimes move much air
and make the movement slow, sometimes, having complete command over
it, make the movement swift. On the same principle the weak either
move too much air for their strength and so make the movement slow, or
if they make it swift move but little because of their weakness.

These, then, are the reasons of these contrarieties, that neither
are all young animals high-voiced nor all deep-voiced, nor are all the
older, nor yet are the two sexes thus opposed, and again that not only
the sick speak in a high voice but also those in good bodily
condition, and, further, that as men verge on old age they become
higher-voiced, though this age is opposite to that of youth.

Most young animals, then, and most females set but little air in

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