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I was at a musical event a while back and as I saw the brass instruments a question popped my mind, could an animal come with an instrument built in? It seems far fetched but evolution has given us some odd creatures, If this creature could exist what would be its evolutionary be like, and If it couldn't evolve why not? what would the difficulties and problems be?

By musical instrument I mean a wind instrument, such as a trumpet or trombone that creates their sounds or similar.

I do not mind broad answers, like Bob Ross I'm not confined by a fine brush.

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    $\begingroup$ There are quite a lot of animals with the ability to sing, humans included. If the human voice is not a musical instrument, could you provide a more concrete definition? $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Nov 23 '15 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh Even your username would vouch for your comment :D $\endgroup$ – Dawny33 Nov 23 '15 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ @DaaaahWhoosh "I'm not confined by a fine brush" indicates, methinks, that signing counts. What else would we call such an animal when it uses it's "instrument" other than "singing"? $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Nov 23 '15 at 17:26
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Strings - Crickets, grasshoppers, and many species of insect all make noise by rubbing various parts of their body together, causing vibrations. This is referred to (at least by me. Not sure where I got it from) as bow-violin action.

Woodwind - Cicada make noise by vibrating two membranes on either side of their body (like eardrums in reverse). This mimics the action of the reed in a lot of woodwind instruments.

Brass - The resonating method used by elephants to make their trumpet calls so loud is exactly the same as that used by brass instruments, only with less metal and fewer bruised lips.

Percussion - Hares and rabbits both use loud percussive stamps as warning mechanisms.

All of the above - The human voice is capable of some truly terrifying noises. PTX are a good (popular) example of acapella craziness, and if you listen closely the clicking noise at the start of Dolly Parton's 9-5 is actually here rattling her fingernails together...

The answer to your question is yes. What kind would you like?

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    $\begingroup$ You make a good point but are doing so with essentially a "link only answer". Can you describe each of your linked examples so this answer doesn't reply on someone opening five links that may not always be valid? $\endgroup$ – Samuel Nov 23 '15 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel : Sorry. Had to post this with only a few seconds to spare! I'll add more detail now. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Nov 24 '15 at 9:21
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    $\begingroup$ Frogs have some interesting things going on as well. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 24 '15 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ Frogs: Nature's bagpipes. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Nov 24 '15 at 12:59
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Whales and dolphins "sing" by passing air through what are called phonic lips which are located in their heads. They vibrate and the result is focused through adipose tissue in the forehead.

An older animal would be the lambeosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur with a built-in resonating chamber in its crest. Recall the raptor bone in Jurassic Park (but more in tune with reality.)

Then you have insects such as crickets, cicadas and tiger moths which respectively make noises by stridulation (rubbing together body parts) and vibrating tymbals, which are exoskeletal structures used to produce noise that are warnings to others or mating calls.

To address your musical point, the musicality of animals such as whales, dolphins, and birds is remarkable compared to the noises that other animals employ for communication. You can detect hierarchies, patterns, rhymes, and rhythms in their noises.

So they absolutely can evolve and it's very much so a part of the way they live, survive, and reproduce. There seems to be no clear problem with it.

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Actually, this is already the case for a great part of animals. Think about birds and even Humans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_vocalization

There's multiple way for species to communicate. Some use "audio" to speak, sing, communicate et select a mate. Some others use odors (dogs making territory). Some others make some kind of dance (bees) etc.

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There's the elephant. We don't call the noise it makes "trumpeting" for nothing. Interestingly elephants can also "sing" in the infrasonic (below 20hz) which few if any other animals can hear but which elephants can hear twenty miles away.

And there are songbirds such as the nightingale, thrushes and (UK) blackbird. If you record their song and slow it down you realize a lot of what a human hears as trilling is far more complex patterns of notes that no human flautist could play. And if you whistle or play a melody in their range of pitch often enough a wild blackbird may first copy it and then start "composing" variations on your theme.

A while ago the BBC reported a farmer who'd rigged a radio so his pigs could change channel and adjust the volume using their snouts. The pigs showed a marked preference for classical music over pop!

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