In the Beginning

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In this introduction to the new field of evolutionary musicology, we see that the study of music origins provides a fresh and exciting approach to the under- standing of human evolution, a topic that so far has been dominated by a focus on language evolution. The language-centered view of humanity has to be expanded to include music, first, because the evolution of language is highly inter- twined with the evolution of music, and, second, because music provides a spe- cific and direct means of exploring the evolution of human social structure, group function, and cultural behavior. Music making is the quintessential human cul- tural activity, and music is an ubiquitous element in all cultures large and small. The study of music evolution promises to shed light on such important issues as evolution of the hominid vocal tract; the structure of acoustic-communication signals; human group structure; division of labor at the group level; the capacity for designing and using tools; symbolic gesturing; localization and lateralization of brain function; melody and rhythm in speech; the phrase-structure of lan- guage; parent-infant communication; emotional and behavioral manipulation through sound; interpersonal bonding and synchronization mechanisms; self- expression and catharsis; creativity and aesthetic expression; the human affinity for the spiritual and the mystical; and finally, of course, the universal human attachment to music itself.




Kind, S. S. (1985). In the Beginning. Journal of the Forensic Science Society, 25(3), 163–166.

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