Working Toward a Completely Discontinuous Timbrado Song
Working Toward a Completely Discontinuous Timbrado Song
I wish I could read Spanish because I think that if I could, I could better understand the liquid state that the timbrado continues to be going through in Spain. I should like to try to explain the situation as I understand it. Perhaps continued interest in this topic can help us with our work on the beautiful song of these birds. As I understand it, the timbrado in Spain has divided into at least two different groups and possibly more variations of both of these. As I understand, there is the original type of timbrado, with a flurry of activity centered around Madrid, with a unique voice quality, as well as unique vocabulary. Long timbers, and unique variations of many of the Notes which can be compared to traditional European birds, but with this unique voice quality which has been labeled timbrado -- named after an old-fashioned doorbell which I still don't recognize even though I'm old-fashioned. This is the bird that has become popular in America and which timbrado breeders are more or less familiar with. Admittedly, it is a lovely singer. I believe these are now called Classics in Spain and America is also beginning to use that word. However, a while after this bird had been established, someone named Drove discovered in a rural area in Spain, a singing style which he thought was more in line with the "canary of the country" that had been described centuries ago. I hope I understand correctly, that this bird is rapidly becoming the bird of choice in Spain, while the classic timbrado continues also to have its aficionados.
the bird song described hundreds of years ago was described as having notes similar to both the linnet and the Nightingale, birds which we don't have here, but which we may have heard recordings of. This description is what caused Mr. Drove to become interested in the songs he was hearing. These birds sometimes have no timbre or minimum timbre, as little of the ever present "ch" sound of the canaries that we are used to, and an abundance of complex notes which we now call flourishes. The song of these birds are also called discontinuous, and to my ear are in contrast to he classic type of song, now called continuous.
Describing the two kinds of song is most difficult, and the best way to learn them is through song files uploaded to the internet. As this song winds more and more converts in Spain, there are a lot of song files on the internet. The song files are the method par excellance for learning which is now open the world, Everyone in the world now can hear the wide range of song and this wonderful resource is now the "only way to go".
How can two such different sounding songs be reconciled? I think that there is an answer. Rather than becoming attracted to either extreme, (I must confess that I'm attracted to as discontinuous, or florid as possible) the whole range in between is acceptable to timbrado breeders. That would mean that there is a whole continuum between the two ends. I have heard classic songs that are really very lovely indeed, and someone recently sent me a file of a lovely classic sounding bird. The result is that we can call our birds classic, intermediate, and discontinuous, which covers the entire range, but with a unique voice quality which is call timbrado.
Does this mean that we are free to choose any song we like? Cross with Waterslagers or rollers? American singers? This is very frowned on by any dedicated timbrado singer, although it has been done, it remains most frowned on. There is a unique quality to the entire continuum, and again, the best way to learn the quality is to listen to the many sound files on the internet. By the way, contrary to rumors, I would never cross a timbrado with another bird. this is to be looked upon as "playing with fire" and breeders that do this should not call the offspring timbrados.
There is another option, I believe. through the discussion groups and blogs and other internet resources, like minded people can band together and form "teams" where we can be part of a small group of people working together with a certain liked spectrum of the timbrado song. I've been lucky to belong to a group of bird breeders, allowing me to work with a team of local breeders, all working toward a common end. Birds shared by a team are more easily exchanged and shared, talked about, and enjoyed. I understand that this is also being done in Spain, and "teams" are exchanging birds for free or at a very minimal price. this allows for a bigger genetic pool, and sharing of ideas. If that's possible, it's a wonderful resource, and worth working for.
I have learned more from Spanish breeders, and, just as everything above is just skimmed over, so is everything below. I'm attempting to just scan topics which require much more learning, through books, articles, and friends. this is just a scan, just touching on the various ideas. Below are a few more, just skimmed over.
More and more breeders in Spain are using a training technique which is in contrast to the usual training method for young males in America and Europe. Rather than "training" young males under a tutor, the young birds are kept as far from mature singers or even other species. There is sound reasoning for this. The canary is a very creative and talented singer, and left to their own creations, the songs they can invent is really a fascination for breeders in Spain. Young birds are kept in groups to slow down their song until they are more mature, around the end of October or November, then males are put in their own cages, with their more mature voices, to create their own songs. The results are spectacular. These birds are amazing and the proof is in the sound files! Listen to them to see the endless creativity of these birds! There is also another sound reason. Those youngsters with the best genes are more evidently revealed by this method. I think the payoff is evident by listening to sound files of these birds.
If this method is used, November through January is the time to listen, listen, listen, and to select which birds you want to keep and which birds are to be shared with a team or bred, and which birds are to be put on the market. Remember, if you have done all this work, you qualify to have the best of the youngsters. Most people won't work this hard, but in the name of the best song, this works! Timbrados seem to be excellent breeders, so you are likely to have plenty of birds in a few years!
Still more: After you have selected the best singers, a certain amount of line breeding or inbreeding is done... very carefully. Remember that weaknesses as well as strengths are passed on. This should only be done for a few generations, as weaknesses can begin to show up. There must also be a plan for out crossing. I have a computer breeding program to help me decide line breeding or inbreeding. I don't know where this will lead yet for myself.
I hope I have laid out some of the major elements of the timbrado landscape, and now I wish to say more about the discontinuous song, or the floreado type of bird. There are tensions both in Spain and America over this, and I'm thinking that the way to handle this is to call it a matter of taste. I don't think the two extremes reconcile easily, and time alone will help to settle this. I know that I have heard beautiful continuous birds, and am happy to know that the newer standard of judging song can cover the whole range, and that the best singers can be anywhere in between. Still, I'm happy in thinking that a song as discontinuous as possible is where I wish to work, and in the mean time, I can love the birds I have. There is unlikely to ever be a finished bird, just as the work for the perfect rose, or the ideal orchid, or the loveliest German Shepherd (or potbelly pig, I have one). Welcome always to the world of the timbrado!
Resources: One of the sites that has particularly excellent sound files is www.timbrado.com. I have also tried to give more information at http://www.cwwcbc.us/tk/index.html and http://spanishtimbrado.blogspot.com .