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   Wayne Chase

  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  
CHAPTER 1:
What Music REALLY Is, Who Makes
It, Where, When, Why
  
1.2 Who Makes Music?

 
PAGE INDEX
  

1.2.1 Hootin’ and Howlin’: How Animal Sounds Differ from Other Sounds in Nature

1.2.2 Hootin’ and Howlin’: Instinctive vs Learned

1.2.3 Human Soundmaking: Discrete Pitches (No More Hootin’ and Howlin’)

1.2.4 Human Soundmaking: Entrainment (That’s En-train-ment, Not Entertainment)

 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~


1.2.1

HOOTIN AND HOWLIN’: HOW ANIMAL SOUNDS DIFFER FROM OTHER SOUNDS IN NATURE


In nature, when you listen to the wind in the trees or water rushing in a stream, what do you hear? Random and diffuse background sound. Like traffic in the city. A wide range of frequencies all mixed together. (Frequency just means number of vibrations per second. A given frequency number corresponds to a particular tone or note, such as A-440, the A above Middle C. More on this in Chapter 3.)


     Animals evolved ways of signalling each other using calls that focus on narrow bands of frequencies. Energy concentrated in this way results in sounds that carry long distances. You can hear the hootin’ and howlin’ easily against the random background sound.


     Species also evolve sounds specific to their own kind, so that they can identify each other. In a tropical rainforest, for example, a small area of, say, one square kilometre may contain scores of different bird species. Each species has evolved a signature sound, a distinctive song or repertoire of songs. (More on developing a signature sound in Chapter 11.)


1.2.2

HOOTIN AND HOWLIN’: INSTINCTIVE VS LEARNED


Studying vocalizations of non-human animals provides some clues about how music originated in humans. For instance, some animals use vocalizations to signal alarm, some to signal discovery of a food source.


     All birds with complex songs learn their songs from each other. But they don’t learn just any old tunes—they learn species-specific songs only. And, once learned, their songs change little. The fact that they learn songs at all, though, makes birds musically akin to humans, whales, and dolphins. (But that does not mean humans became musical by imitating birds!)


     Oddly, some of our closest primate relatives, monkeys and chimpanzees, do not learn their vocalizations from each other. They’re born with an instinctive and limited repertoire of grunts and calls. Chimpanzees have about 30 calls. Even the charming vocal duetting of gibbons is not learned; it’s innate.


     Animal calls and songs normally communicate an emotional state. So it’s possible that the musical vocalizations that humans evolved did not co-evolve with language, since language communicates mostly information. Human music may have predated human language, but it’s highly unlikely that language evolved before music.



1.2.3

HUMAN SOUNDMAKING: DISCRETE PITCHES (NO MORE HOOTIN AND HOWLIN’)


Non-human primate vocalization takes the form of unpitched grunts and calls, rather than discrete pitches. Your human brain does not respond happily to continuously sliding hootin’ and howlin’ when presented in musical or speech contexts. It gets confused.


     Unlike all other animals, humans evolved a vocal communication system that uses mainly discrete pitches. You can hear it in both speech and music. That’s why the melodies of songs found in all musical traditions follow scales, groups of discrete pitches (the subject of Chapter 4).



1.2.4

HUMAN SOUNDMAKING: ENTRAINMENT (THAT’S EN-TRAIN-MENT, NOT ENTERTAINMENT)


Humans entrain to isometric beats.

 

        To entrain (from the same root as “train,” referring to being dragged or carried along) means to join in and synchronize to a rhythmic source outside the body—to play, clap, tap, sing along. Or, as a musician would put it, to lock in with the band.

 

        Isometric refers to steady, evenly-spaced regular beats.


     The ability to entrain rhythmically to an external beat—vital in both music and dance—has evolved only in humans. No other animal can do it. Selective pressure for teamwork and group coordination may have triggered the evolution of the rhythmic entrainment function in humans.


     (Selective pressure refers to the environmental demands—including conditions in the social environment—that favour the Darwinian evolution of physical and mental traits over a long period of time. In short, selective pressure drives Darwinian evolution. For example, selective pressure for group bonding may have driven, among many other social behaviours, the evolution of the human ability to harmonize, or blend discrete pitches—a skill unique to humans.)


     The innate ability to entrain means people can participate in a musical performance without knowing how to play a musical instrument—clapping along, nodding to the beat, and, of course, dancing. A few animals can chorus in synchrony, such as frogs and crickets. But only humans can vary the tempo (number of beats per minute) from slow to several times faster, without losing the sense of synchronous timing.


     Only humans have the ability to play musical instruments. Non-human primates cannot keep a steady beat or learn new melodic sequencing. That’s why they’re incapable of playing the most basic of instruments, and cannot be trained to learn even the simplest human music (although they can learn simple human language).


     Every human culture ever known has had music. We humans take for granted our effortless discrete-pitch vocalizing and isometric time-keeping skills. Non-human animals have no such abilities, and consequently no true appreciation of bluegrass, ABBA, or hip-hop. Except for certain breeds of dogs who join in when they hear particular songs from musical theatre and R & B.


~ • ~ • ~ • ~

 

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You are reading the FREE SAMPLE Chapters 1 through 6 of the acclaimed 12-Chapter book, How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition. Here's what's in Chapters 7 through 12. 

 

To order the book, click here:

  
 

 

 

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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