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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Music, like language, has had a difficult and complex relationship with evolutionary theory over the last century. Application of evolutionary theories to music are still tainted, for many musicologists and anthropologists, by the “essentialist” racializing that characterized much of comparative musicological thinking in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, in more recent times, developments within evolutionary theory, and the increasing breadth and depth of ethnomusicological research have enabled the productive exploration of music from evolutionary perspectives. This chapter reviews the historical and contemporary relationships between music and evolutionary theory, outlines some of the most prominent developments in the field, and suggests directions for future research.

Keywords: music, evolution, natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, kin selection, entrainment, ethology

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