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Song of the Nightingale

Member Since May 16, 1999
434 Images, Last upload Jul 15, 2015

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Nightingales are named so because they frequently sing at night as well as during the day. The name has been used for well over 1,000 years, being highly recognizable even in its Anglo-Saxon form - 'nihtingale'. It means 'night songstress'. Early writers assumed the female sang when it is in fact the male. The song is loud, with an impressive range of whistles, trills and gurgles. Its song is particularly noticeable at night because few other birds are singing. This is why its name includes "night" in several languages.

Only unpaired males sing regularly at night, and nocturnal song is likely to serve attracting a mate. Singing at dawn, during the hour before sunrise, is assumed to be important in defending the bird's territory. Nightingales sing even more loudly in urban or near-urban environments, in order to overcome the background noise. The most characteristic feature of the song is a loud whistling crescendo.

Common Nightingales are found throughout Eurasia; they are a migratory species breeding in the forests in Europe and Asia. It winters in southern Africa as far as Uganda and summers as far as Southern England.

In Greek mythology, Aedon, daughter of Pandareus, was the wife of Zethus. The pair had one daughter, Itylus. Aedon accidentally killed her and was stricken with grief and guilt. In pity, the gods turned her into a nightingale, which cries with sadness every night. Alternatively, she was the queen of Thebes, who attempted to kill the son of her rival, Niobe, also her sister-in-law, and accidentally killed her own daughter instead and so the gods again changed her into a nightingale.

Homer evokes the Nightingale in the Odyssey, suggesting the myth of Philomela and Procne (one of whom, depending on the myth's version, is turned into a nightingale.). This myth is the focus of Sophocles' tragedy, Tereus.

Ovid in his 'Metamorphoses', includes the most popular version of this myth, imitated and altered by later poets, including Chr├ętien de Troyes, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and George Gascoigne. T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land also evokes the Nightingale's song (and the myth of Philomela and Procne). Because of the violence associated with the myth, the nightingale's song was long interpreted as a lament.

The beauty of the nightingale's song is also the theme in Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Nightingale" from 1843.

Model credits: Stonemason's Village Courtyard with Dreamlight's VC lights, M4, V4 and of course, my Nightingale from "Songbird Remix Birds of Legend"

November 15, 2010
157.3 kB

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Image Comments

Nov 15, 2010 9:04:26 pm
excellent atmosphere!!! love the pov and light, picture perfect!! 10*s +

by eekdog Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 9:05:21 pm
Beautiful image.

by MNArtist Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 9:19:27 pm
What a beautiful render! And thanks for the info about the nightingale as well.

by Treasurer_and_Battle Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 9:23:35 pm
Boy this just has it all...excellent commentary and even more so excellent creation!...Like going to school...learning your history in art class...Well Done on both accounts...


by KnightWolverine Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 10:14:37 pm
Thanks for the info and sharing a very nice post. Great job.

by DavyJo Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 10:17:58 pm
Fantastic information on this interesting bird!
And the scene is wonderful!!!
Awesome sense of depth and perspective!

by alessimarco Online Now!   Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 10:31:34 pm
Gorgeous image! Fantastic pov and lighting.

by Cimaira Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 11:23:48 pm
this stunning Ken has to be one of your best well done excellent

by kelvinhughes Homepage »

Nov 15, 2010 11:44:03 pm
"It was the Nightingale, and not the Larke."
Beautiful render!

by Kerya Homepage »

Nov 16, 2010 12:40:04 am
very good scene, excelent render, well done

by Artus1971 Homepage »

Nov 16, 2010 3:57:21 am
Wonder piece of art! Excellent!

by Rhanagaz Homepage »

Nov 16, 2010 7:21:46 am
Excellent work, too bad I can't give it a higher rating than five, and it goes straight to my favorites.

by RetroDK Homepage »

Nov 16, 2010 8:34:02 am

by Seahorse Homepage »

Nov 16, 2010 8:56:51 am
Nice job! ")

by Savage_dragon Homepage »

Nov 16, 2010 2:33:09 pm
Wonderful work,very beautiful*********

by soffy Online Now!   Homepage »

Nov 19, 2010 10:49:32 am
A wonderful, great lightened artwork!

by aerrynn Homepage »

Nov 22, 2010 7:34:26 am

by SIGMAWORLD Homepage »

Jul 24, 2011 9:42:10 pm
Beautiful image. Great composition and POV. The mood and atmosphere are nicely conveyed.

by adorety Homepage »

Jan 10, 2012 1:25:33 am
excellent scene!!!

by spiderfingers Homepage »


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