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Global musical diversity is largely independent of linguistic and genetic histories


Passmore, Sam; Wood, Anna L C; Barbieri, Chiara; Shilton, Dor; Daikoku, Hideo; Atkinson, Quentin D; Savage, Patrick E (2024). Global musical diversity is largely independent of linguistic and genetic histories. Nature Communications, 15(1):3964.

Abstract

Music is a universal yet diverse cultural trait transmitted between generations. The extent to which global musical diversity traces cultural and demographic history, however, is unresolved. Using a global musical dataset of 5242 songs from 719 societies, we identify five axes of musical diversity and show that music contains geographical and historical structures analogous to linguistic and genetic diversity. After creating a matched dataset of musical, genetic, and linguistic data spanning 121 societies containing 981 songs, 1296 individual genetic profiles, and 121 languages, we show that global musical similarities are only weakly and inconsistently related to linguistic or genetic histories, with some regional exceptions such as within Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Our results suggest that global musical traditions are largely distinct from some non-musical aspects of human history.

Abstract

Music is a universal yet diverse cultural trait transmitted between generations. The extent to which global musical diversity traces cultural and demographic history, however, is unresolved. Using a global musical dataset of 5242 songs from 719 societies, we identify five axes of musical diversity and show that music contains geographical and historical structures analogous to linguistic and genetic diversity. After creating a matched dataset of musical, genetic, and linguistic data spanning 121 societies containing 981 songs, 1296 individual genetic profiles, and 121 languages, we show that global musical similarities are only weakly and inconsistently related to linguistic or genetic histories, with some regional exceptions such as within Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Our results suggest that global musical traditions are largely distinct from some non-musical aspects of human history.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
08 Research Priority Programs > Evolution in Action: From Genomes to Ecosystems
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Chemistry
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Physical Sciences > General Physics and Astronomy
Language:English
Date:10 May 2024
Deposited On:22 May 2024 07:16
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-48113-7
PubMed ID:38729968
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)