University of Cambridge > > Wolfson College Science Society > Meaningful Music, Unmediated Sound: An Evolutionary History

Meaningful Music, Unmediated Sound: An Evolutionary History

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Antonio M. M. Rodrigues.

I suggest that the conditions of representation that allow for music to be apprehended as socially and emotionally meaningful are biologically grounded in our evolutionary history. Specifically, I propose that music emerged from the evolution of the human capacity for culture (Tomasello 1999, 2005), and is a means of creating joint attentions and intentions in order to achieve social goals. The evolution of a uniquely human form of social intelligence resulted in human symbolic systems such as music and language that give rise to an inherent phonocentrism (Derrida 1976), a perceived immediacy of vocally communicative sound. Although decades of ethnomusicological research have debunked the myth of music’s literal unmediatedness, I maintain that the experience of music’s immediacy, indeed the experienced immediacy of any symbolic communication, is what allows it to be intelligible in the first place.​

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity