Musicians did not wait for the contemporary era to illustrate the chirping, trilling and squawking of birds. In the midst of the Renaissance, at the beginning of the 16th century, Clément Janequin was already creating the basis of their re-composition by mankind, with the polyphonic song Le chant des oyseaulx (the Song of the Birds). The composer stylized animal song using onomatopes and noise-based sounds.
But it is without contest during the 20th century, with Olivier Messiaen, that we find the first true transcriptions of birdsong as a structural element of the score. In his wake, other composers borrowed the same path, with diverse objectives, means and results. All of them confessed to having a common reference point, upstream of their master, in the tutelary figure of Claude Debussy, inventor of a new style, free, ductile and natural – in a single word, modern.