, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 199–223

Rhythm and melody in gelada vocal exchanges

  • Bruce Richman

DOI: 10.1007/BF02382570

Cite this article as:
Richman, B. Primates (1987) 28: 199. doi:10.1007/BF02382570


A scheme for describing how gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) use rhythm and melody in their vocal exchanges with each other is presented. It is argued that four different levels of description—phonological, whole sound, rhythmical, and syntactical—are necessary for an adequate account of geladas' use of rhythm and melody. Many examples of gelada rhythm and melody are demonstrated from sonagraphs. It is argued that geladas use rhythm and melody in their vocal exchanges in ways that are similar to how humans use rhythm and melody in speech and singing. Geladas make use of rhythm and melody in human-like ways todesignate utterance acts, todistinguish kinds of utterance acts from each other, toparse utterances into smaller units, and toresolve emotional arousal conflicts through the structuring of rhythm and melody.

Key Words

Geladas Vocalizations Syntax Rhythm Melody 

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Richman
    • 1
  1. 1.Cleveland HeightsU.S.A.