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A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity by Gary Tomlinson

By Gary Tomlinson

What is the foundation of tune? within the previous few many years this centuries-old puzzle has been reinvigorated via new archaeological proof and advancements within the fields of cognitive technology, linguistics, and evolutionary idea. during this path-breaking publication, popular musicologist Gary Tomlinson attracts from those components to build a brand new narrative for the emergence of human song. beginning at a interval of human prehistory lengthy sooner than Homo sapiens or track existed, Tomlinson describes the incremental attainments that, via altering the conversation and society of prehumen species, laid the root for musical behaviors in additional fresh occasions. He lines in Neandertals and early sapiens the buildup and improvement of those capacities, and he info their coalescence into smooth musical habit around the final hundred millennia.

But A Million Years of tune is now not approximately tune by myself. Tomlinson builds a version of human evolution that revises our realizing of the interplay of biology and tradition throughout evolutionary time-scales, not easy and enriching present types of our deep historical past. As he tells his tale, he attracts in different rising human features: language, symbolism, a metaphysical mind's eye and the ritual it supplies upward thrust to, advanced social constitution, and using complicated applied sciences. Tomlinson's version of evolution permits him to account for far of what makes us a special species on this planet this day and offers a brand new method of realizing the looks of humanity in its glossy form.

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Extra info for A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity

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Indd 30 12/15/14 5:04 PM SOME FIRST PRINCIPLES the notion of a “revolution” in human behavior at the Middle/ Upper Paleolithic border some 40,000–50,000 years ago. They view this as a Eurocentric idea, an artifact of the development of Paleolithic archaeology, until recently primarily European. They gather evidence pointing to a long, gradual, and sporadic piecing together of modern capacities and behaviors in Africa, a development embracing ancestors of Homo sapiens and reaching back 300,000 years or more.

I will narrate not only the emergence of the increments — relevant pre- and protomusical capacities, perhaps also some domain-specific musical functions — but also the ultimate coalescence of these into full-fledged musicking. The evidence indicates that this coalescing of fullfledged musicking occurred late, well within the species-span of Homo sapiens, therefore well within the last 200,000 years or so. Chapters 6 and 7 delve into the chronological specifics. indd 31 12/15/14 5:04 PM A MILLION YEARS OF MUSIC not have had anything to do with music.

2 adds to it the impact of the epicyclic mechanism. It is worth pondering a bit more the independence of the epicycles, with their feed-forward effects, from the broader action of biocultural feedback. The systematizations or formalisms of these epicycles could not, of course, be truly divorced from the broader feedback networks, since that feedback gave rise to them in the first place. But the natures of their individual formalisms enabled them to establish varying degrees of autonomy from the feedback mechanisms, and with the increase in this autonomy came a multiplication of the effects of their feed-forward impact.

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