Music, Cognition, Culture, and Evolution


This chapter reports the recent research that examines the capacity for musical memory and its evolutionary origins in the light of a definition of music that embraces music's multifariousness. It shows that 'music like speech', is a product of both human biologies and human social interactions: that 'music' is a necessary and integral dimension of human development: and that 'music' may have played a central role in the evolution of the modern human mind. There are three views that appear to constitute the beginnings of a consensus that would relegate music to the status of evolutionary footnote and would seem to vitiate the idea that its biological foundations deserve any attention. However, all three theories suffer from an attribute that disqualifies their conclusions from serious consideration, that of ethnocentricity. If the roots of human musicality are to be found in infancy, particularly in infant-caregiver interaction, its potency might be tied to the support provided by society for those interactions.