Research published today by the American Psychological Association has shown that chimpanzees prefer listening to West African akan and North Indian raga over listening to silence. What does this say about the evolutionary purpose of music?
Previous work by McDermott and Hauser showed that when tamarins and marmosets were given a choice between a lullaby played on a flute, an excerpt of German techno, or silence, they preferred silence. This new research was investigating whether non-Western music might provoke a different response in nonhuman primates. Would the different rhythmic structures and musical scales in non-Western music change preferences? (1)
Primitive people tend to be more nature-compatible than we “progressed” humans are.
We may laugh at their civilization, but they have achieved true ecology without any universities teaching them so…
ALTERNATIVE MESSAGE: Humans have always been different than animals. We have something they do not have, even though we cannot pinpoint exactly what it is. Or can we? Classical music is the epitome of human achievements in art and yet, monkeys do not seem to understand that. Should we be troubled by that? Or… excited? Should we strive for ecology and balance? Or should we just conquer the world? Should we ban Bach and Mozart just in order to be “ecologists”? Or should we stick to what we truly are?