Music and Evolution

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Music and evolution
An evaluation of the selective pressures
on the origins of music and language

L.T.T. Hagemans

Blok 3.6 Bachelor thesis
Begeleider: Dr. Harry Smit

Universiteit Maastricht
Faculteit der Psychologie
Biologische afstudeerrichting

ABSTRACT
It is possible to survive without music. Therefore the origins of mu sic were not immediately considered to be an evolutionary adaptation relieving a specific selective pressure. However, cumulating evidence point to the biological significance of music. Musicality originates early in development, it can serve as a mood regulator, facilitates group cohesion and cooperation, and it affects pair bonding during sexual selection. Until recently these theories did not provide a complete and precise story of the how and when questions about the evolution of music. This study attends the question of possible selective pressures on the evolution of music. The latest theory called Hmmmmm communication incorporates the former theories and is supported by archaeological evidence dating the origins of music much further back in time. Hmmmmm communication implies a shared evolutionary ancestor of music and language, which signifies that one is not derivative of the other. During the evolutionary trajectory several important adaptations - like bipedalism and reduced sexual dimorphism resulted in the gradational evolution of Hmmmmm communication that eventually split into the precursors of the language and music we are familiar with today.

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CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................4 1 THE SCIENCE OF EVOLUTIONARY MUSICOLOGY ....................................................6 1.1 Types of evidence .........................................................................................................7 1.2 Pitfalls of an evolutionary theory of music ....................................................................8 2 MUSIC AND LANGUAGE .............................................................................................. 10 2.1 Similarities concerning the human species and human society..................................... 10 2.2 Similarities concerning the structure of language and music ........................................ 11 2.3 Differences ................................................................................................................. 12 2.4 Independence between music and language ................................................................. 13 2.5 Modularity of music and language .............................................................................. 14 3 MUSIC AND EMOTION .................................................................................................. 16 3.1 Mother-infant communication of emotion ................................................................... 16 3.2 Musical communication of emotion ............................................................................ 17 3.3 The emotional effects of music ................................................................................... 17 4 SEXUAL SELECTION ..................................................................................................... 19 4.1 Mechanisms of sexual selection .................................................................................. 19 4.2 Miller’s wrong interpretation: problems with sexual selection of music ....................... 19 5 GROUP SELECTION ....................................................................................................... 21 5.1 Group cohesion ........................................................................................................... 21 5.2 Mood synchronisation and cooperation ....................................................................... 21 5.3 Social bonding...
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