Musical Grammar Code
Music and Testosterone.
Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
DOAJ:Philosophy and Religion
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractCourtship and Music: An Evolutionary Approach – The pervasive presence of music in human life from its embryonic stages onwards helps to explain, in part, the importance attributed to it as the soundtrack for our emotional experiences. We may assume humans have an inborn musical grammatical code, i.e. a possible evolutionary biological advantage, which would explain a listener’s ability to complete, with the “right” notes, a melody never heard before. The question is whether it might also be possible to identify a shared positive hedonistic tone, corresponding to the same musical stimulus? The propagation of the ability to create music across generations, an ability which can be considered an attempt to penetrate the private theatre of other minds by regulating their most intimate emotions, appears to be expensive, biologically speaking, and to directly result from the action of sexual rather than natural selection. Its production requires, in fact, time and deployment of energy and resources, and apparently does not produce any kind of benefit in avoiding predation or obtaining nourishment. Also, testosterone has been shown to be the main factor in determining the development of those brain regions which modulate the melodic singing in the males of some bird species. Finally, assuming that testosterone, as an index of high genotypic and phenotypic quality, facilitates the functionality of the right brain hemisphere, i.e. the source of musical harmonies, we might expect a corresponding development in the female of a highly tuned/developed ability to identify any element indicative of its presence in a potential partner.