The Evolution of Music in Comparative Perspective

  title={The Evolution of Music in Comparative Perspective},
  author={W. Tecumseh Fitch},
  journal={Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences},
  • W. Fitch
  • Published 1 December 2005
  • Biology
  • Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Abstract: In this paper, I briefly review some comparative data that provide an empirical basis for research on the evolution of music making in humans. First, a brief comparison of music and language leads to discussion of design features of music, suggesting a deep connection between the biology of music and language. I then selectively review data on animal “music.” Examining sound production in animals, we find examples of repeated convergent evolution or analogy (the evolution of vocal… 
Challenges facing theories of music and language co-evolution
Abstract This article discusses several general problems that are encountered in the field of evolutionary musicology, with particular reference to theories that postulate an evolutionary link
Probing the Evolutionary Origins of Music Perception
The research suggests that many rudimentary acoustic preferences, such as those for consonant over dissonant intervals, may be unique to humans, and if these preferences prove to be innate in humans, they may be candidates for music‐specific adaptations.
Four principles of bio-musicology
  • W. Fitch
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2015
Four core components of human musicality are highlighted—song, drumming, social synchronization and dance—as widespread and pervasive human abilities spanning across cultures, ages and levels of expertise.
Music and Cognitive Evolution Introduction and Historical Background
of a larger work on the change of species", though treating the subject "simply as a naturalist & not from a general point of view; otherwise, in my opinion, your argument could not have been
Musical pluralism and the science of music
The scientific investigation of music requires contributions from a diverse array of disciplines (e.g. anthropology, musicology, neuroscience, psychology, music theory, music therapy, sociology,
Interpreting the fossil evidence for the evolutionary origins of music
It is suggested that vocal learning capabilities could have evolved from a simple laryngeal vocalization, or a grunt, and the out-of-proportion evolution of the cerebellum and pre-frontal cortex may be relevant.
Preface to the Special Issue on Animal Music Perception.
  • M. Hoeschele
  • Biology, Art
    Comparative cognition & behavior reviews
  • 2017
The aim within this workshop and special issue was to present the goals and challenges when using a comparative approach to study the biology of music, focusing on musicality rather than music itself.
Principles of structure building in music, language and animal song
This review brings together accounts of the principles of structure building in music and animal song to corresponding models in formal language theory, the extended Chomsky hierarchy (CH), and their probabilistic counterparts.
Chapter 29 Musical protolanguage : Darwin ' s theory of language evolution revisited
Although Wallace had reservations about all evolutionary approaches to the mind, human language provided the most powerful argument, due to the respectable position of linguistics and philology in Victorian science.
If music is the food of love, what about survival and reproductive success?
This article departs from many discussions of the origin, evolution, and adaptive function(s) of music by treating music not as perceptual qualities (pitch, timbre, meter), formal elements (prosody,


Music, Cognition, Culture, and Evolution
  • I. Cross
  • Art
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2001
This paper will survey recent research that examines the human capacity for musicality and its evolutionary origins in the light of a definition of music that embraces music's multifariousness and it will be suggested that music, like speech, is a product of both the authors' biologies and their social interactions.
The evolution of speech: a comparative review
  • W. Fitch
  • Biology, Psychology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2000
[Psychology of music].
This chapter recognizes its histori cal force and focuses on the latter category, with the former receiving extended treat ment in Chapter 9, passim.
Archaeological Evidence for the Emergence of Language, Symbolism, and Music–An Alternative Multidisciplinary Perspective
In recent years, there has been a tendency to correlate the origin of modern culture and language with that of anatomically modern humans. Here we discuss this correlation in the light of results
Synchronous Chorusing and Human Origins
The fit between one of the evolutionary models proposed to explain synchronous chorusing in insects and basic aspects of the authors' earliest hominid ancestors’ social structure suggests that synchronous Chorusing may have played a fundamental and hitherto unsuspected role in the process of hom inid divergence from their common ancestor with the chimpanzee.
Is music an evolutionary adaptation?
  • David Huron
  • Psychology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2001
Although evolutionary theories about music remain wholly speculative, musical behaviors satisfy a number of basic conditions, which suggests that there is indeed merit in pursuing possible evolutionary accounts.
The history of animals
In a recent article in the journal Critical Quarterly Francis Gooding challenges the traditional separation of the realm of the human from the realm of nature in the writing of history. In
The Musical Mind: The Cognitive Psychology of Music
In this comprehensive survey of the experimental literature on the cognitive psychology of music, Professor Sloboda, a psychologist and practicing musician, and "understanding" music and shows how
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music
Music perception and performance rely heavily on temporal processing: for instance, each event must be situated in time in relation to surrounding events, and events must be grouped together in order