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The origins of music in auditory scene analysis and the roles of evolution and culture in musical creation.

Trainor LJ - Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. (2015)

Bottom Line: However, the adaptive benefit of music is far from obvious.However, some aspects of music, such as its emotional and social power, may have subsequently proved beneficial for survival and led to adaptations that enhanced musical behaviour.Ontogenetic and phylogenetic evidence is considered in this regard.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ljt@mcmaster.ca.

ABSTRACT
Whether music was an evolutionary adaptation that conferred survival advantages or a cultural creation has generated much debate. Consistent with an evolutionary hypothesis, music is unique to humans, emerges early in development and is universal across societies. However, the adaptive benefit of music is far from obvious. Music is highly flexible, generative and changes rapidly over time, consistent with a cultural creation hypothesis. In this paper, it is proposed that much of musical pitch and timing structure adapted to preexisting features of auditory processing that evolved for auditory scene analysis (ASA). Thus, music may have emerged initially as a cultural creation made possible by preexisting adaptations for ASA. However, some aspects of music, such as its emotional and social power, may have subsequently proved beneficial for survival and led to adaptations that enhanced musical behaviour. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic evidence is considered in this regard. In particular, enhanced auditory-motor pathways in humans that enable movement entrainment to music and consequent increases in social cohesion, and pathways enabling music to affect reward centres in the brain should be investigated as possible musical adaptations. It is concluded that the origins of music are complex and probably involved exaptation, cultural creation and evolutionary adaptation.

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The effects of pitch proximity and tempo on determining the number of auditory objects in sequential streams of sounds. (A) When a higher tone repeats at a regular interval and a lower tone repeats at half the tempo of the higher tone, and they are arranged as in (A), all of the tones are perceived to come from a single sound source (as depicted by the dotted lines) and a gallop rhythm is heard. (B) When the higher and lower tones are sufficiently separated in frequency, they can no longer be integrated into a single stream. Two auditory objects are heard, one a repeating high tone and one a repeating low tone, and no gallop rhythm is perceived. This demonstrates that the auditory system expects a single sound source to remain reasonably consistent in pitch. (C) When the tempo of the sequence in (B) is slowed down, again the two pitches can be integrated into a single auditory object, and the gallop rhythm is heard again, consistent with the idea that the auditory system expects an auditory object to change pitch slowly. (Adapted from [41].)
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RSTB20140089F2: The effects of pitch proximity and tempo on determining the number of auditory objects in sequential streams of sounds. (A) When a higher tone repeats at a regular interval and a lower tone repeats at half the tempo of the higher tone, and they are arranged as in (A), all of the tones are perceived to come from a single sound source (as depicted by the dotted lines) and a gallop rhythm is heard. (B) When the higher and lower tones are sufficiently separated in frequency, they can no longer be integrated into a single stream. Two auditory objects are heard, one a repeating high tone and one a repeating low tone, and no gallop rhythm is perceived. This demonstrates that the auditory system expects a single sound source to remain reasonably consistent in pitch. (C) When the tempo of the sequence in (B) is slowed down, again the two pitches can be integrated into a single auditory object, and the gallop rhythm is heard again, consistent with the idea that the auditory system expects an auditory object to change pitch slowly. (Adapted from [41].)

Mentions: Another aspect of ASA involves determining when to integrate successive sound events as emanating from one sound source (or stream) versus segregating them as emanating from different sound sources. A number of cues to streaming in ASA have been demonstrated (e.g. [36]), and Huron [42] has outlined how some of them relate to rules of musical composition. Huron's analysis applies to Western music, but it is likely that other musical systems are also greatly influenced by cues evolved for ASA. For example, one basic ASA cue for integration relates to pitch proximity; the frequency or pitch content of a source is expected to change little over small time periods, reflecting the fact that sound-emitting objects do not normally fluctuate rapidly in the frequency of the sounds produced. That this is a prominent cue in ASA was demonstrated with the gallop rhythm depicted in figure 2, A [41]. When the frequencies of the high and low tones are close, all of the tones are integrated into one auditory object, and a gallop rhythm can be heard. The larger the frequency distance between the high and low tones, the more likely it is that the pattern will be perceived as two auditory objects, one consisting of high tones and the other of low tones, in which case no gallop rhythm is heard (figure 2, B). Similarly, when the sequence is presented slowly, it is more likely that the tones with different frequencies will be integrated into one auditory object (figure 2, C), whereas at faster rates, the tones are more likely to separate into individual auditory objects.FigureĀ 2.


The origins of music in auditory scene analysis and the roles of evolution and culture in musical creation.

Trainor LJ - Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci. (2015)

The effects of pitch proximity and tempo on determining the number of auditory objects in sequential streams of sounds. (A) When a higher tone repeats at a regular interval and a lower tone repeats at half the tempo of the higher tone, and they are arranged as in (A), all of the tones are perceived to come from a single sound source (as depicted by the dotted lines) and a gallop rhythm is heard. (B) When the higher and lower tones are sufficiently separated in frequency, they can no longer be integrated into a single stream. Two auditory objects are heard, one a repeating high tone and one a repeating low tone, and no gallop rhythm is perceived. This demonstrates that the auditory system expects a single sound source to remain reasonably consistent in pitch. (C) When the tempo of the sequence in (B) is slowed down, again the two pitches can be integrated into a single auditory object, and the gallop rhythm is heard again, consistent with the idea that the auditory system expects an auditory object to change pitch slowly. (Adapted from [41].)
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4321130&req=5

RSTB20140089F2: The effects of pitch proximity and tempo on determining the number of auditory objects in sequential streams of sounds. (A) When a higher tone repeats at a regular interval and a lower tone repeats at half the tempo of the higher tone, and they are arranged as in (A), all of the tones are perceived to come from a single sound source (as depicted by the dotted lines) and a gallop rhythm is heard. (B) When the higher and lower tones are sufficiently separated in frequency, they can no longer be integrated into a single stream. Two auditory objects are heard, one a repeating high tone and one a repeating low tone, and no gallop rhythm is perceived. This demonstrates that the auditory system expects a single sound source to remain reasonably consistent in pitch. (C) When the tempo of the sequence in (B) is slowed down, again the two pitches can be integrated into a single auditory object, and the gallop rhythm is heard again, consistent with the idea that the auditory system expects an auditory object to change pitch slowly. (Adapted from [41].)
Mentions: Another aspect of ASA involves determining when to integrate successive sound events as emanating from one sound source (or stream) versus segregating them as emanating from different sound sources. A number of cues to streaming in ASA have been demonstrated (e.g. [36]), and Huron [42] has outlined how some of them relate to rules of musical composition. Huron's analysis applies to Western music, but it is likely that other musical systems are also greatly influenced by cues evolved for ASA. For example, one basic ASA cue for integration relates to pitch proximity; the frequency or pitch content of a source is expected to change little over small time periods, reflecting the fact that sound-emitting objects do not normally fluctuate rapidly in the frequency of the sounds produced. That this is a prominent cue in ASA was demonstrated with the gallop rhythm depicted in figure 2, A [41]. When the frequencies of the high and low tones are close, all of the tones are integrated into one auditory object, and a gallop rhythm can be heard. The larger the frequency distance between the high and low tones, the more likely it is that the pattern will be perceived as two auditory objects, one consisting of high tones and the other of low tones, in which case no gallop rhythm is heard (figure 2, B). Similarly, when the sequence is presented slowly, it is more likely that the tones with different frequencies will be integrated into one auditory object (figure 2, C), whereas at faster rates, the tones are more likely to separate into individual auditory objects.FigureĀ 2.

Bottom Line: However, the adaptive benefit of music is far from obvious.However, some aspects of music, such as its emotional and social power, may have subsequently proved beneficial for survival and led to adaptations that enhanced musical behaviour.Ontogenetic and phylogenetic evidence is considered in this regard.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ljt@mcmaster.ca.

ABSTRACT
Whether music was an evolutionary adaptation that conferred survival advantages or a cultural creation has generated much debate. Consistent with an evolutionary hypothesis, music is unique to humans, emerges early in development and is universal across societies. However, the adaptive benefit of music is far from obvious. Music is highly flexible, generative and changes rapidly over time, consistent with a cultural creation hypothesis. In this paper, it is proposed that much of musical pitch and timing structure adapted to preexisting features of auditory processing that evolved for auditory scene analysis (ASA). Thus, music may have emerged initially as a cultural creation made possible by preexisting adaptations for ASA. However, some aspects of music, such as its emotional and social power, may have subsequently proved beneficial for survival and led to adaptations that enhanced musical behaviour. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic evidence is considered in this regard. In particular, enhanced auditory-motor pathways in humans that enable movement entrainment to music and consequent increases in social cohesion, and pathways enabling music to affect reward centres in the brain should be investigated as possible musical adaptations. It is concluded that the origins of music are complex and probably involved exaptation, cultural creation and evolutionary adaptation.

Show MeSH