The reason why we are musical.

Reply Wed 19 Nov, 2008 05:26 pm
I've recently been reading a book, Music in Everyday Life, by Tia De Nora.
In includes a theory about what happens when we first here sound.
The first thing we hear is our mothers heartbeat.
In the womb, we try to regulate the patterns of our heart beat, of sleep and breathing. There is evidence that those who can entrain their bodies to the regular sound of their mothers heartbeat and the swoosh of blood survive better.
So I started thinking...
Those who have the 'natural ability' to entrain their bodies in syncronation with sound in the womb must carry this ability out of the womb, and those better at entrainment would make better musicians (those in more direct control over the actions of their body in relation to sound) . It would be possible for this ability to transfer into the constructed form of music we have cultivated. Could this explain the reason that some people are musical?
I looked but can't find any information on the internet about a 'musical gene.'

Anyone think this might be plausible?
More importantly, do any scientists think it plausible?
pq xxx

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Reply Wed 19 Nov, 2008 09:31 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Sounds a little farfetched to me Queenie but I'm no expert - but if they found that thrash metal guitarists mothers were statistically more likely to be amphetamine users than the general population I might be swayed.

One human genome, lots of musical genres - it's more than genetics - there definitely environmental factors.

Also non-musical people can still love music.

And then there's perfect pitch, which is genetic, I think.
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The Pentacle Queen
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 04:11 pm
Oh I don't think i've made myself clear.

You said: 'One human genome, lots of musical genres - it's more than genetics - there definitely environmental factors'.
I say : Yeah, I get that thats why I said that entrainment could be genetic, but we then APPLY it to a certain musical genre, or a music form that has been previously constructed.

And I was talking about musical ability, rather than people who just 'like' music. Music does seem to be split down the middle into 'musicians' and 'non musicians' I put this down to simple catergorization, there is much more likely to be a gradient. Music effects people because sound waves physically hit our bodies, and some are detected by the ear.
Reply Thu 20 Nov, 2008 09:44 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Hmmm. I guess I'm being a little deconstructionist, but I'm not sure what constitutes musical ability - and therefore can't address the genetic component of those attributes.

Playing an instrument (including voice) is a learned behaviour although some people have physical (ie genetic) advantages over others.

You alluded to a sense of rhythm with the baby in the womb piece in your original post.

I've mentioned perfect pitch (but even i was doubting myself when I started thinking about multitonal musics)

Now I'm thinking about 'musical animals' - birds, whales, etc and what makes them musical, genetically... and are there tone deaf canaries?

There is certainly a 'clock' gene that might have a link to rhythm but my vagure recollection is that it a gene shared by all, or close to all, life and is related to the Earth's rotation (ie a day/24 hours).

Stop making me think.
The Pentacle Queen
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 09:18 am
Haha, sorry hinge!
Yeah, it's frustrating we'll never know. It's so bizzare that so many people take music as just 'music' but we don't know what makes it so.

Animals is an interesting observation. Yes they make sound, but they don't organise it in the same way as humans. A monkey can't drum in time.

As for perfect pitch, I don't know. Pitches are conditioned- theres a type of music in Indonesia which splits the octave into seven equal pieces, not 12. learning THAT made me realise just how conditioned we are- A musician in Indonesia could sing that scale like I sing a major scale, yet whenever I listen to that music and sing it back to myself I 'translate' it into western tonality.

What I meant with the baby thing was perhaps some people are better than others in entraining their body in syncronation with sound, and those that are better have a higher chance of survival, out of the womb this ability is transferred to the constructed forms of music we recognise in our society, and other art forms like dance etc. Maybe thats how the gene gets passed on.......
Someone get on the phone to Darwin, eh?
Reply Fri 21 Nov, 2008 09:43 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
pentacle, i have been wo0ndering why music is what it is, why do we enjoy listening to people make noises in a certain fashion and speak in a certain fashion.

My "personal" belief is that life is an "algorithm", a frequency, you know like resonance, some do nothing others can destroy bridges with wind. all the other universes and dimensions didnt hit the right frequency, but ours did and music is like tapping into that undescribable wave of energy that the universe is.

the point im trying to make is that music IMO is the understanding of the universe, the ability to comprehend we are all part of some big mathmematical equation,

i cant explain right now, ive had a few shots of bourbon, omg at 6 am LOL wtf ...

ugh, i need a life.

lets move on to the subject of life and our universe.

we are merely "stuck" between nothing and everything.

there is 0 there are numbers, then there is infinity.

reality is the numbers. always trying to become zero or infinity, but never reaching them, music is the organazation of those numbers."scale" "one" "notes"

like a bunch of dots, you have exponential dots, some will create straight lines, others perfect circles, notes are those shapes that form from randomness? does that make any sense?

5 shots in me guys give me a brreak :L

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