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Worth Repeating: Which Came First: Music or Language?

Editor’s Note:  Kimberly Sena Moore is a music therapist and good friend of PediaStaff.  Please enjoy her most recent post on her blog, Your Musical Self, on the Psychology Today website.
[Source: Psychology Today]

Which came first: language or music? Traditionally, music has been considered an evolutionary by-product of language. Language, after all, is one of the few skills we have that makes us uniquely human. Thus it has the more important evolutionary role. Music is just “auditory cheesecake.” Unimportant. Pretty little fluff. A misunderstood by-product.
But this tradition is changing. Researchers and authors like Daniel Levitin, Michael Thaut, Ian Cross, Silvia Bencivello, and David Huron are challenging our views of music’s role as an evolutionary adaptation. They have suggested—and provided preliminary evidence for—the theory that music is not an unnecessary by-product, but is instead a critical and core function of our brain. Consider the following:

  • The modern human brain came into being 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. There is archaeological evidence—cave drawings, artistic weaponry, sculptures—that are

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