“This is partly because previously people lacked the resources, both the data and the tools to analyze it. So we thought we could leverage new tools, both the new availability of resources and the analytical tools of computational social science, to answer this basic question,” he said.
“Music is clearly incredibly diverse—anyone with a Spotify subscription knows that—so knowing that, I’m driven to try to understand whether’s there’s an underlying logic, an echo of our common humanity that produces structural similarities everywhere,” Singh said.
Co-author Luke Glowacki of the department of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University told Newsweek: “I found the strong similarities in music between widely disparate cultures extremely surprising. The fact that a lullaby, healing song or dance song from the British Isles or anywhere else in the world has many musical features in common with the same kind of song from hunter-gatherers in Australia or horticulturalists in Africa is remarkable.”
Like all research, the study had its limitations. Singh said the team could only work with what they had, including being constrained to descriptions of music that ethnographers considered important enough to write about. Also, the study featured “only” 118 recordings from 86 societies, spanning dance songs, healing songs, love songs, and lullabies.
Detailing what the team envision doing next, Glowacki said: “We’d really like to see whether the ability to discern the function of music from short excerpts extends to traditional and isolated populations, such as hunter-gatherers. To this end, we’ve been conducting similar experiments in the field, ranging from societies of nomadic pastoralists in Ethiopia to horticulturalists in Indonesia. We’ll be carrying it out in a few more isolated traditional societies in the upcoming year.”
The post Scientists Confirm Music Is Universal, and It Is Used in ‘Strikingly Similar Ways’ Across the Globe appeared first on Newsweek.