The Singing Neanderthals

The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body

Author: Steven J. Mithen

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674021921

Category: Music

Page: 374

View: 3661

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The propensity to make music is the most mysterious, wonderful, and neglected feature of humankind: this is where Steven Mithen began, drawing together strands from archaeology, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience--and, of course, musicology--to explain why we are so compelled to make and hear music. But music could not be explained without addressing language, and could not be accounted for without understanding the evolution of the human body and mind. Thus Mithen arrived at the wildly ambitious project that unfolds in this book: an exploration of music as a fundamental aspect of the human condition, encoded into the human genome during the evolutionary history of our species. Music is the language of emotion, common wisdom tells us. In The Singing Neanderthals, Mithen introduces us to the science that might support such popular notions. With equal parts scientific rigor and charm, he marshals current evidence about social organization, tool and weapon technologies, hunting and scavenging strategies, habits and brain capacity of all our hominid ancestors, from australopithecines to Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals to Homo sapiens--and comes up with a scenario for a shared musical and linguistic heritage. Along the way he weaves a tapestry of cognitive and expressive worlds--alive with vocalized sound, communal mimicry, sexual display, and rhythmic movement--of various species. The result is a fascinating work--and a succinct riposte to those, like Steven Pinker, who have dismissed music as a functionless evolutionary byproduct.

Harnessed

How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man

Author: Mark Changizi

Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.

ISBN: 1935618830

Category: Science

Page: 216

View: 5668

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The scientific consensus is that our ability to understand human speech has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. After all, there are whole portions of the brain devoted to human speech. We learn to understand speech too quickly and with almost no training and can seamlessly absorb enormous amounts of information simply by hearing it. Surely we evolved this capability over thousands of generations. Or did we? Portions of the human brain are also devoted to reading. Children learn to read at a very young age and can seamlessly absorb information even more quickly through reading than through hearing. We know that we didn’t evolve to read because reading is only a few thousand years old. In "Harnessed," cognitive scientist Mark Changizi demonstrates that human speech has been very specifically “designed” to harness the sounds of nature, sounds we’ve evolved over millions of years to readily understand. Long before humans evolved, mammals have learned to interpret the sounds of nature to understand both threats and opportunities. Our speech—regardless of language—is very clearly based on the sounds of nature. Even more fascinating, Changizi shows that music itself is based on natural sounds. Music—seemingly one of the most human of inventions—is literally built on sounds and patterns of sound that have existed since the beginning of time.

Creativity in Human Evolution and Prehistory

Author: Steven Mithen

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134720122

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 2782

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We live in a world surrounded by remarkable cultural achievements of human kind. Almost every day we hear of new innovations in technology, in medicine and in the arts which remind us that humans are capable of remarkable creativity. But what is human creativity? The modern world provides a tiny fraction of cultural diversity and the evidence for human creativity, far more can be seen by looking back into prehistory. The book examines how our understanding of human creativity can be extended by exploring this phenomenon during human evolution and prehistory. The book offers unique perspectives on the nature of human creativity from archaeologists who are concerned with long term patterns of cultural change and have access to quite different types of human behaviour than that which exists today. It asks whether humans are the only creative species, or whether our extinct relatives such as Homo habilis and the Neanderthals also displayed creative thinking. It explores what we can learn about the nature of human creativity from cultural developments during prehistory, such as changes in the manner in which the dead were buried, monuments constructed, and the natural world exploited. In doing so, new light is thrown on these cultural developments and the behaviour of our prehistoric ancestors. By examining the nature of creativity during human evolution and prehistory these archaeologists, supported by contributions from psychology, computer science and social anthropology, show that human creativity is a far more diverse and complex phenomena than simply flashes of genius by isolated individuals. Indeed they show that unless perspectives from prehistory are taken into account, our understanding of human creativity will be limited and incomplete.

Cognitive Gadgets

The Cultural Evolution of Thinking

Author: Cecilia Heyes

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674985133

Category: Psychology

Page: 264

View: 2186

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How did human minds become so different from those of other animals? What accounts for our capacity to understand the way the physical world works, to think ourselves into the minds of others, to gossip, read, tell stories about the past, and imagine the future? These questions are not new: they have been debated by philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, evolutionists, and neurobiologists over the course of centuries. One explanation widely accepted today is that humans have special cognitive instincts. Unlike other living animal species, we are born with complicated mechanisms for reasoning about causation, reading the minds of others, copying behaviors, and using language. Cecilia Heyes agrees that adult humans have impressive pieces of cognitive equipment. In her framing, however, these cognitive gadgets are not instincts programmed in the genes but are constructed in the course of childhood through social interaction. Cognitive gadgets are products of cultural evolution, rather than genetic evolution. At birth, the minds of human babies are only subtly different from the minds of newborn chimpanzees. We are friendlier, our attention is drawn to different things, and we have a capacity to learn and remember that outstrips the abilities of newborn chimpanzees. Yet when these subtle differences are exposed to culture-soaked human environments, they have enormous effects. They enable us to upload distinctively human ways of thinking from the social world around us. As Cognitive Gadgets makes clear, from birth our malleable human minds can learn through culture not only what to think but how to think it.

Birdsong, Speech, and Language

Exploring the Evolution of Mind and Brain

Author: Johan J. Bolhuis,Martin Everaert

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262018608

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 542

View: 9788

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Leading scholars draw on the latest research to explore what birdsong can tell us about the biology of human speech and language and the consequences for evolutionary biology.

Music, Language, and the Brain

Author: Aniruddh D. Patel

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019989017X

Category: Medical

Page: 520

View: 8161

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In the first comprehensive study of the relationship between music and language from the standpoint of cognitive neuroscience, Aniruddh D. Patel challenges the widespread belief that music and language are processed independently. Since Plato's time, the relationship between music and language has attracted interest and debate from a wide range of thinkers. Recently, scientific research on this topic has been growing rapidly, as scholars from diverse disciplines, including linguistics, cognitive science, music cognition, and neuroscience are drawn to the music-language interface as one way to explore the extent to which different mental abilities are processed by separate brain mechanisms. Accordingly, the relevant data and theories have been spread across a range of disciplines. This volume provides the first synthesis, arguing that music and language share deep and critical connections, and that comparative research provides a powerful way to study the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying these uniquely human abilities. Winner of the 2008 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.

Music and Memory

An Introduction

Author: Bob Snyder,Robert Snyder

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262692373

Category: Music

Page: 291

View: 4551

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Divided into two parts, this book shows how human memory influences the organization of music. The first part presents ideas about memory and perception from cognitive psychology and the second part of the book shows how these concepts are exemplified in music.

Comparing Notes: How We Make Sense of Music

Author: Adam Ockelford

Publisher: Pegasus Books

ISBN: 1681778106

Category: Music

Page: 332

View: 1001

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How does music work? Indeed, what is (or isn’t) music? We are all instinctively musical, but why? Adam Ockelford has the answers. A tap of the foot, a rush of emotion, the urge to hum a tune; without instruction or training we all respond intuitively to music. Comparing Notes explores what music is, why all of us are musical, and how abstract patterns of sound that might not appear to mean anything can, in fact, be so meaningful. Taking the reader on a clear and compelling tour of major twentieth century musical theories, Professor Adam Ockelford arrives at his own important psychologically grounded theory of how music works. From pitch and rhythm to dynamics and timbre, he shows how all the elements of music cohere through the principle of imitation to create an abstract narrative in sound that we instinctively grasp, whether listening to Bach or the Beatles. Authoritative, engaging, and full of wonderful examples from across the musical spectrum, Comparing Notes is essential reading for anyone who’s ever loved a song, sonata, or symphony, and wondered why.

The Music Instinct

How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It

Author: Philip Ball

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199780075

Category: Music

Page: 464

View: 7530

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From Bach fugues to Indonesian gamelan, from nursery rhymes to rock, music has cast its light into every corner of human culture. But why music excites such deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all, are questions that have until recently remained unanswered. Now in The Music Instinct, award-winning writer Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known--and still unknown--about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems indispensable to humanity. Deftly weaving together the latest findings in brain science with history, mathematics, and philosophy, The Music Instinct not only deepens our appreciation of the music we love, but shows that we would not be ourselves without it. The Sunday Times hailed it as "a wonderful account of why music matters," with Ball's "passion for music evident on every page."

Thirst

For Water and Power in the Ancient World

Author: Steven Mithen

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674072197

Category: Social Science

Page: 234

View: 4611

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Freshwater shortages will affect 75% of the world’s population by 2050. Mithen puts this crisis into context by exploring 10,000 years of water management. Thirst tells of civilizations defeated by the water challenge, and of technological ingenuity that sustained communities in hostile environments. Work with nature, not against it, he advises.

You Are the Music

How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human

Author: Victoria Williamson

Publisher: Icon Books Ltd

ISBN: 1848316879

Category: Music

Page: 224

View: 1776

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'You are the music / While the music lasts' T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets Do babies remember music from the womb? Can classical music increase your child’s IQ? Is music good for productivity? Can it aid recovery from illness and injury? And what is going on in your brain when Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht or Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’ transports you back to teenage years? In a brilliant new work that will delight music lovers of every persuasion, music psychologist Victoria Williamson examines our relationship with music across the whole of a lifetime. Along the way she reveals the amazing ways in which music can physically reshape our brains, explores how ‘smart music listening’ can improve cognitive performance, and considers the perennial puzzle of what causes ‘earworms’. Requiring no specialist musical or scientific knowledge, this upbeat, eye-opening book reveals as never before the extent of the universal language of music that lives deep inside us all.

The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology

Author: Benjamin Koen,Jacqueline Lloyd,Gregory Barz,Karen Brummel-Smith

Publisher: OUP USA

ISBN: 0199756260

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 570

View: 7428

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The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology defines a new field of holistic research and applied practice that approaches music, health, and healing across traditional cultures worldwide and the disciplinary boundaries of ethnomusicology, music therapy, the health sciences, and alternative medicine.

The Prehistory of the Mind

The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion and Science

Author: Steven J. Mithen

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

ISBN: 9780500281000

Category: Psychology

Page: 288

View: 1285

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Uses prehistoric artifacts to develop a theory about how human intelligence has evolved

Origins of the Modern Mind

Three Stages in the Evolution of Culture and Cognition

Author: Merlin Donald

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674644847

Category: Medical

Page: 413

View: 3517

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This bold and brilliant book asks the ultimate question of life sciences: How did the human mind acquire its incomparable power? Origins of the Modern Mind traces the evolution of human culture and cognition from primitive apes to the era of artificial intelligence, and presents an original theory of how the human mind evolved from its presymbolic form. Illustrated with line drawings.

The Art of Teaching Music

Author: Estelle R. Jorgensen

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253000203

Category: Music

Page: 368

View: 3930

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The Art of Teaching Music takes up important aspects of the art of music teaching ranging from organization to serving as conductor to dealing with the disconnect between the ideal of university teaching and the reality in the classroom. Writing for both established teachers and instructors on the rise, Estelle R. Jorgensen opens a conversation about the life and work of the music teacher. The author regards music teaching as interrelated with the rest of lived life, and her themes encompass pedagogical skills as well as matters of character, disposition, value, personality, and musicality. She reflects on musicianship and practical aspects of teaching while drawing on a broad base of theory, research, and personal experience. Although grounded in the practical realities of music teaching, Jorgensen urges music teachers to think and act artfully, imaginatively, hopefully, and courageously toward creating a better world.

Keeping Together in Time

Author: William Hardy MCNEILL

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674040872

Category: History

Page: 216

View: 2631

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Could something as simple and seemingly natural as falling into step have marked us for evolutionary success? In Keeping Together in Time one of the most widely read and respected historians in America pursues the possibility that coordinated rhythmic movement--and the shared feelings it evokes--has been a powerful force in holding human groups together. As he has done for historical phenomena as diverse as warfare, plague, and the pursuit of power, William McNeill brings a dazzling breadth and depth of knowledge to his study of dance and drill in human history. From the records of distant and ancient peoples to the latest findings of the life sciences, he discovers evidence that rhythmic movement has played a profound role in creating and sustaining human communities. The behavior of chimpanzees, festival village dances, the close-order drill of early modern Europe, the ecstatic dance-trances of shamans and dervishes, the goose-stepping Nazi formations, the morning exercises of factory workers in Japan--all these and many more figure in the bold picture McNeill draws. A sense of community is the key, and shared movement, whether dance or military drill, is its mainspring. McNeill focuses on the visceral and emotional sensations such movement arouses, particularly the euphoric fellow-feeling he calls "muscular bonding." These sensations, he suggests, endow groups with a capacity for cooperation, which in turn improves their chance of survival. A tour de force of imagination and scholarship, Keeping Together in Time reveals the muscular, rhythmic dimension of human solidarity. Its lessons will serve us well as we contemplate the future of the human community and of our various local communities. Table of Contents: Muscular Bonding Human Evolution Small Communities Religious Ceremonies Politics and War Conclusion Notes Index Reviews of this book: "In his imaginative and provocative book...William H. McNeill develops an unconventional notion that, he observes, is 'simplicity itself.' He maintains that people who move together to the same beat tend to bond and thus that communal dance and drill alter human feelings." DD--John Mueller, New York Times Book Review "Every now and then, a slender, graceful, unassuming little volume modestly proposes a radical rethinking of human history. Such a book is Keeping Together in Time...Important, witty, and thoroughly approachable, [it] could, perhaps, only be written by a scholar in retirement with a lifetime's interdisciplinary reading to ponder, the imagination to conceive unanswerable questions, and the courage, in this age of over-speculation, to speculate in areas where certainty is impossible. Its vision of dance as a shaper of evolution, a perpetually sustainable and sustaining resource, would crown anyone's career." DD--Penelope Reed Doob, Toronto Globe and Mail "McNeill is one of our greatest living historians...As usual with McNeill, Keeping Together in Time contains a wonderfully broad survey of practices in other times and places. There are the Greeks, who invented the flute-accompanied phalanx, and the Romans, who invented calling cadence while marching. There are the Shakers, who combined worship and dancing, and the Mormons, who carefully separated the functions but who prospered at least as much on the strength of their dancing as their Sunday morning worship." DD--David Warsh, Boston Sunday Globe "[A] wide-ranging and thought-provoking book...A mind-stretching exploration of the thesis that `keeping together in time'--army drill, village dances, and the like--consolidates group solidarity by making us feel good about ourselves and the group and thus was critical for social cohesion and group survival in the past." DD--Virginia Quarterly Review "[This book is] nothing less than a survey of the historical impact of shared rhythmic motion from the paleolithic to the present, an impact that [McNeill] finds surprisingly significant...McNeill moves beyond Durkheim in noting that in complex societies divided by social class muscular bonding may be the medium through which discontented and oppressed groups can gain the solidarity necessary for challenging the existing social order." DD--Robert N. Bellah, Commonweal "The title of this fascinating essay contains a pun that sums up its thesis" keeping together in time, or coordinated rhythmic movement and the shared feelings it evokes, has kept human groups together throughout history. Most of McNeill's pioneering study is devoted to the history of communal dancing...[This] volume will appeal equally to scholars and to the general reader." DD--Doyne Dawson, Military History "As with so many themes [like this one], whether in science or in symphonies, one wonders (in retrospect) why it has not been invented before...[T]he book is fascinating." DD--K. Kortmulder, Acta Biotheoretica (The Netherlands) "This scholarly and creative exploration of the largely unresearched phenomenon of shared euphoria aroused by unison movement moves across the disciplines of dance, history, sociology, and psychology...Highly recommended." DD--Choice

How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention

Author: Daniel L. Everett

Publisher: Liveright Publishing

ISBN: 087140477X

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 8332

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How Language Began revolutionizes our understanding of the one tool that has allowed us to become the "lords of the planet." Mankind has a distinct advantage over other terrestrial species: we talk to one another. But how did we acquire the most advanced form of communication on Earth? Daniel L. Everett, a “bombshell” linguist and “instant folk hero” (Tom Wolfe, Harper’s), provides in this sweeping history a comprehensive examination of the evolutionary story of language, from the earliest speaking attempts by hominids to the more than seven thousand languages that exist today. Although fossil hunters and linguists have brought us closer to unearthing the true origins of language, Daniel Everett’s discoveries have upended the contemporary linguistic world, reverberating far beyond academic circles. While conducting field research in the Amazonian rainforest, Everett came across an age-old language nestled amongst a tribe of hunter-gatherers. Challenging long-standing principles in the field, Everett now builds on the theory that language was not intrinsic to our species. In order to truly understand its origins, a more interdisciplinary approach is needed—one that accounts as much for our propensity for culture as it does our biological makeup. Language began, Everett theorizes, with Homo Erectus, who catalyzed words through culturally invented symbols. Early humans, as their brains grew larger, incorporated gestures and voice intonations to communicate, all of which built on each other for 60,000 generations. Tracing crucial shifts and developments across the ages, Everett breaks down every component of speech, from harnessing control of more than a hundred respiratory muscles in the larynx and diaphragm, to mastering the use of the tongue. Moving on from biology to execution, Everett explores why elements such as grammar and storytelling are not nearly as critical to language as one might suspect. In the book’s final section, Cultural Evolution of Language, Everett takes the ever-debated “language gap” to task, delving into the chasm that separates “us” from “the animals.” He approaches the subject from various disciplines, including anthropology, neuroscience, and archaeology, to reveal that it was social complexity, as well as cultural, physiological, and neurological superiority, that allowed humans—with our clawless hands, breakable bones, and soft skin—to become the apex predator. How Language Began ultimately explains what we know, what we’d like to know, and what we likely never will know about how humans went from mere communication to language. Based on nearly forty years of fieldwork, Everett debunks long-held theories by some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Plato to Chomsky. The result is an invaluable study of what makes us human.

The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art

Author: David Lewis-Williams

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

ISBN: 0500770441

Category: Art

Page: 320

View: 856

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The breathtakingly beautiful art created deep inside the caves of western Europe has the power to dazzle even the most jaded observers. Emerging from the narrow underground passages into the chambers of caves such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira, visitors are confronted with symbols, patterns, and depictions of bison, woolly mammoths, ibexes, and other animals. Since its discovery, cave art has provoked great curiosity about why it appeared when and where it did, how it was made, and what it meant to the communities that created it. David Lewis-Williams proposes that the explanation for this lies in the evolution of the human mind. Cro-Magnons, unlike the Neanderthals, possessed a more advanced neurological makeup that enabled them to experience shamanistic trances and vivid mental imagery. It became important for people to "fix," or paint, these images on cave walls, which they perceived as the membrane between their world and the spirit world from which the visions came. Over time, new social distinctions developed as individuals exploited their hallucinations for personal advancement, and the first truly modern society emerged. Illuminating glimpses into the ancient mind are skillfully interwoven here with the still-evolving story of modern-day cave discoveries and research. The Mind in the Cave is a superb piece of detective work, casting light on the darkest mysteries of our earliest ancestors while strengthening our wonder at their aesthetic achievements.

Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy

How Music Captures Our Imagination

Author: Robert Jourdain

Publisher: William Morrow & Company

ISBN: N.A

Category: Music

Page: 377

View: 1011

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Drawing on advances in neurophysiology, psychology, music theory, and philosophy, the author explores the connections humans form with music and the physical and mental reactions music produces in us

The Evolution of Language

Author: W. Tecumseh Fitch

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 113948706X

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: N.A

View: 7392

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Language, more than anything else, is what makes us human. It appears that no communication system of equivalent power exists elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Any normal human child will learn a language based on rather sparse data in the surrounding world, while even the brightest chimpanzee, exposed to the same environment, will not. Why not? How, and why, did language evolve in our species and not in others? Since Darwin's theory of evolution, questions about the origin of language have generated a rapidly-growing scientific literature, stretched across a number of disciplines, much of it directed at specialist audiences. The diversity of perspectives - from linguistics, anthropology, speech science, genetics, neuroscience and evolutionary biology - can be bewildering. Tecumseh Fitch cuts through this vast literature, bringing together its most important insights to explore one of the biggest unsolved puzzles of human history.