[ExI] Music

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Wed Aug 5 21:03:47 UTC 2020

On 05/08/2020 21:10, Keith Henson wrote:
> Ben Zaiboc<ben at zaiboc.net>  woote
> snip
>> My main question, though, is What is it about? Why do we have music in
> the first place? That to me is a complete mystery.
> I think it is completely obvious.  Oliver Sacks reported decades ago
> on a woman musician who had a stroke in the area directly opposite her
> speech area and completely lost all her music skills (but nothing
> else).  So we know where music is located in the brain.  The origin
> was our obviously strongly selected speech abilities.  Bilateral
> symmetry gave the brain an area that could control speech but was not
> used for that and was available for something else, music.
> There has probably been evolutionary selection to make humans better
> singers, but these two factors are enough to account for the origin of
> music in humans, a side effect of speech and bilateral symmetry.

OK, that makes sense as far as singing (pitch) is concerned, but what 
about rhythm? I'd say that rhythm is fundamental to music, 
indispensable, whereas pitch is secondary and not even necessary. 
Drumming can stand alone, and is possibly more ancient than singing. We 
don't groove to the tune, it's the beat that's the thing that gets us 
going. Any explanations for that? (I don't buy the pre-natal hearbeat 
idea. All mammals hear their mother's heartbeat when they're foetuses, 
but it only seems to be humans that move their bodies in time when they 
hear a regular beat). Speech can have a rhythm, but it mostly doesn't, 
so I don't think that's it.

Ben Zaiboc

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