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Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2016

The Evolution of Musical Diversity: The Key Role of Vertical Transmission

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Abstract

Music, like languages, is one of the key components of our culture, yet musical evolution is still poorly known. Numerous studies using computational methods derived from evolutionary biology have been successfully applied to varied subset of linguistic data. One of the major drawback regarding musical studies is the lack of suitable coded musical data that can be analysed using such evolutionary tools. Here we present for the first time an original set of musical data coded in a way that enables construction of trees classically used in evolutionary approaches. Using phylogenetic methods, we test two competing theories on musical evolution: vertical versus horizontal transmission. We show that, contrary to what is currently believed, vertical transmission plays a key role in shaping musical diversity. The signal of vertical transmission is particularly strong for intrinsic musical characters such as metrics, rhythm, and melody. Our findings reveal some of the evolutionary mechanisms at play for explaining musical diversity and open a new field of investigation in musical evolution.

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hal-02277583 , version 1 (03-09-2019)

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Sylvie Le Bomin, Guillaume Lecointre, Evelyne Heyer. The Evolution of Musical Diversity: The Key Role of Vertical Transmission. PLoS ONE, 2016, 11 (3), pp.e0151570. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0151570⟩. ⟨hal-02277583⟩
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