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Steve Mithin, The Music Instinct

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  • William Benzon
    The Music Instinct The Evolutionary Basis of Musicality Steven Mithen, University of Reading, Faculty of Science, Whiteknights, Reading, United Kingdom Address
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2009
      The Music Instinct
      The Evolutionary Basis of Musicality
      Steven Mithen, University of Reading, Faculty of Science, Whiteknights,
      Reading, United Kingdom
      Address for correspondence: Steven Mithen, University of Reading, Faculty
      of Science, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AF, UK. Voice: +44 (0) 118-378-8342;
      fax: +44 (0) 118-931-7586. s.j.mithen@...

      Copyright © 2009 The New York Academy of Sciences

      KEYWORDS
      music € evolution € adaptation € hominins € sociality

      ABSTRACT
      Abstract The Mystery of Music The Infuriating Silence of the Past
      The Biological Basis of Music The Musicality of the Earliest Hominins
      References

      Why does music pervade our lives and those of all known human beings living
      today and in the recent past? Why do we feel compelled to engage in musical
      activity, or at least simply enjoy listening to music even if we choose not
      to actively participate? I argue that this is because
      musicality‹communication using variations in pitch, rhythm, dynamics and
      timbre, by a combination of the voice, body (as in dance), and material
      culture‹was essential to the lives of our pre-linguistic hominin ancestors.
      As a consequence we have inherited a desire to engage with music, even if
      this has no adaptive benefit for us today as a species whose communication
      system is dominated by spoken language. In this article I provide a summary
      of the arguments to support this view.

      http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122522465/HTMLSTART?CRET
      RY=1&SRETRY=0
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