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Self-generated sounds of locomotion and ventilation and the evolution of human rhythmic abilities
Örebro University Hospital. The Cardiology Clinic, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden; The Respiratory Clinic, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden; Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Swede.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4164-6513
2014 (English)In: Animal Cognition, ISSN 1435-9448, E-ISSN 1435-9456, Vol. 17, no 1, 1-14 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It has been suggested that the basic building blocks of music mimic sounds of moving humans, and because the brain was primed to exploit such sounds, they eventually became incorporated in human culture. However, that raises further questions. Why do genetically close, culturally well-developed apes lack musical abilities? Did our switch to bipedalism influence the origins of music? Four hypotheses are raised: (1) Human locomotion and ventilation can mask critical sounds in the environment. (2) Synchronization of locomotion reduces that problem. (3) Predictable sounds of locomotion may stimulate the evolution of synchronized behavior. (4) Bipedal gait and the associated sounds of locomotion influenced the evolution of human rhythmic abilities. Theoretical models and research data suggest that noise of locomotion and ventilation may mask critical auditory information. People often synchronize steps subconsciously. Human locomotion is likely to produce more predictable sounds than those of non-human primates. Predictable locomotion sounds may have improved our capacity of entrainment to external rhythms and to feel the beat in music. A sense of rhythm could aid the brain in distinguishing among sounds arising from discrete sources and also help individuals to synchronize their movements with one another. Synchronization of group movement may improve perception by providing periods of relative silence and by facilitating auditory processing. The adaptive value of such skills to early ancestors may have been keener detection of prey or stalkers and enhanced communication. Bipedal walking may have influenced the development of entrainment in humans and thereby the evolution of rhythmic abilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2014. Vol. 17, no 1, 1-14 p.
Keyword [en]
The origins of music, Vocal learning, Primate, Entrainment, Auditory masking, Collective behavior
National Category
Zoology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-56542DOI: 10.1007/s10071-013-0678-zISI: 000329222900001PubMedID: 23990063Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84891626430OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-56542DiVA: diva2:1082689
Note

Funding Agencies:

Medical Library OUH

Nyckelfonden, Örebro County Council

Cardiology Clinic OUH

Available from: 2017-03-17 Created: 2017-03-17 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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