Music as a communicative medium - Oxford Scholarship Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Prehistory of Language$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Rudolf Botha and Chris Knight

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545872.001.0001

Subscriber Login

Forgotten your password?

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 01 October 2016

Music as a communicative medium

Music as a communicative medium

Chapter:
(p.77) 5 Music as a communicative medium
Source:
The Prehistory of Language
Author(s):

Ian Cross

Ghofur Eliot Woodruff

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545872.003.0005

This chapter explores the idea that language and music may have co-evolved, and proposes that language and music constitute complementary components of the ‘human communicative toolkit’. Drawing on ethnomusical, cognitive, and neuroscientific evidence, it is argued that music is a communicative medium with features that are optimally adapted for the management of situations of social uncertainty. Music achieves this by presenting the characteristics of an honest signal, while underspecifying goals in a way that permits individuals to interact even while holding personal interpretations of goals and meanings that may actually be in conflict. The chapter adduces a theory of meaning in music, in which the experience of music is accounted for in specific ways by reference to principles that are said to underlie both animal communication in general, and human communicative interaction in particular. Exploring the implications of this theory for the evolution of language, it is argued that as complementary components of the ‘modern human communicative toolkit’, music and language are best thought of as having co-evolved from a precursive communicative system that embodied features of both.

Keywords:   language development, language capacity, music, co-evolution, human communicative toolkit, speech

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .