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About Mosquitoes and Music
July 31, 2010   Rwanda

A Report by Danny

Bzzz. The Rwandan mosquitoes are nasty sophisticated little aviators. The walls of our hotel room are smeared with mosquito residue. But don’t let it fool you: those are the remains of the great-great-great-grandmothers of the nowadays Rwandan mosquitoes, which are faster, smarter, and one-hundred-percent immune to any insect repellent lotion, spray, or ointment they are trying to sell you in the West. The modern day mosquitoes can feel your pulsating bloodstream from many many a meter away, and they coordinate their assault in such a worldly-wise manner that a cigar-smoking chimpanzee on a unicycle reciting Psalms might seem rather dumb. But the worst thing about them is that they reportedly carry the eukaryotic protist of the genus plasmodium parasite, commonly known as malaria. Mind you, only female mosquitoes actually bite and transmit the disease. So much for gender balance in Rwanda.
The wall of our room at the guest house
(heavily photoshop-ed to look much worse than it is)
We have spent a good deal of money on malaria-prevention pills, insect repellent role-ons and a queen-size mosquito net. However, a particularly shrewd she-mosquito managed to penetrate my cocoon at night and hummed loudly around my right ear. While I was trying to figure out in which pitch she was humming, she had already stung me on my forehead.

Our anti-mosquito anti-malaria anti-wallet supplies
So I decided to do some research about music and mosquitoes, and stumbled upon an enlightening post on the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra blog, which basically informs us that Mr. Mosquito and Mrs. Mosquito might not do the mommy-daddy thing unless they hum in a harmonically perfect musical interval:

Question: does a mosquito’s hum alternate between D and F?

So tonight, before going to sleep, I’m going to detune my guitar, or more precisely, tune it wrongly, play and hum Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by Crash Test Dummies, open the windows wide, and hope for the best.
Topics: Rwanda