Music, Culture and the Evolution of the Human Mind: Looking Beyond Dichotomies

Dylan van der Schyff


The origin of human musicality is often discussed within a dichotomous nature-or-culture framework. While most non-adaptationist views maintain this either/or perspective, recent developments in neuroscience and evolutionary theory are opening up "dual inheritance" models of music‘s origins. Many recent theories posit a shared evolutionary origin for music and language; and some have suggested that music played a crucial role in the emergence of the human mind and "cultural cognition". Indeed, growing evidence for music‘s deep roots in the most primordial areas of the brain – and of its effects on the plasticity of the neocortex – support strong connections between the emotional communications of animals, musicality in human ontogenesis, and the wide variety of musical activities we learn and participate in as the cultural creatures we are.


music and evolution; music and evolutionary psychology; nature-culture; music and the brain; "musilanguage"

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ISSN: 1792-2518
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