Every system has a song.

Whether that system is the collection of components in an engine. Or the hum of a collaborative team. The tap-dance of ants in an anthill. Or the sound of life in a wood.

Every system’s song is unique. Like no two performances of an orchestra are the same. The music depends on the complex interaction of who is playing, the acoustics of the hall, who is listening. And many other things.

The song of the system is its heartbeat. A readout of its vital signs. The signature of its thriving. A trace that it exists.

Some system songs you can hear very clearly. For others, you have to be listening very carefully.

Someone recently told me that fish sing to each other. Why is this news? Maybe because this wasn’t expected: we weren’t listening. But now that we know it’s there, we are changing the input range of our sensors and discovering the sea is full of living sounds. Of song.

Songs are patterns. When we know how they go, we get to know when they change.

Every system has a song. The question is, are we listening?

Further reading

  • Time for new patterns
  • Read two more articles about the sounds of fish – here and here.