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A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity - Zone Books (Paperback)
  • A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity - Zone Books (Paperback)
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A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity - Zone Books (Paperback)

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£16.99
Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 09/10/2018
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A new narrative for the emergence of human music, drawing from archaeology, cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary theory. What is the origin of music? In the last few decades this centuries-old puzzle has been reinvigorated by new archaeological evidence and developments in the fields of cognitive science, linguistics, and evolutionary theory. In this path-breaking book, renowned musicologist Gary Tomlinson draws from these areas to construct a new narrative for the emergence of human music. Starting at a period of human prehistory long before Homo sapiens or music existed, Tomlinson describes the incremental attainments that, by changing the communication and society of prehumen species, laid the foundation for musical behaviors in more recent times. He traces in Neandertals and early sapiens the accumulation and development of these capacities, and he details their coalescence into modern musical behavior across the last hundred millennia. But A Million Years of Music is not about music alone. Tomlinson builds a model of human evolution that revises our understanding of the interaction of biology and culture across evolutionary time-scales, challenging and enriching current models of our deep history. As he tells his story, he draws in other emerging human traits: language, symbolism, a metaphysical imagination and the ritual it gives rise to, complex social structure, and the use of advanced technologies. Tomlinson's model of evolution allows him to account for much of what makes us a unique species in the world today and provides a new way of understanding the appearance of humanity in its modern form.

Publisher: Zone Books
ISBN: 9781890951528
Number of pages: 368
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is interdisciplinarity at the deepest level, not merely a surface-level engagement with passing trends in other fields. ... A Million Years of Music is a crucial work which provides a fresh perspective on an old problem. It is, in many ways, the ultimate rebuttal of Steven Pinker's glib dismissal of music as a disposable pleasure stimulus. ... Written with passion and great erudition, it demonstrates music's role as an essential part of human identity, rivaling speech. -MAKE Literary Magazine
The past two decades have...seen the development of a "biocultural" hypothesis for the origins and nature of the musical mind that looks beyond the traditional nature-culture dichotomy. ... Here the origin of music is not understood within a strict adaptationist framework. Rather, it is explained as an emergent phenomenon involving cycles of (embodied) interactivity with the social and material environment. ... Tomlinson's ... approach ... represents the current state of the art in the field. -Frontiers in Neuroscience
...written in dialogue with evolutionary biology, cognitive science, palaeoarchaeology, and palaeoanthropology, [this] book is hardly a work of musicology at all, and many of its central claims will demand careful consideration from a wide and diverse academic community. Nevertheless, A Million Years of Music may be the most important contribution to musicology in its short history: in his historical purview and methodological blend of hard science and historiography, Tomlinson sketches a map of the future terrain which every musicologist will one day be obliged to explore. -Journal of the Royal Musical Association
Expertly interweaving humanities and science, Tomlinson demonstrates how the answers to philosophical questions surrounding modern music can be discovered in their ancient origins. -Nature

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