Beginning of Human Musicality

  • Hanuš Papoušek
  • Mechthild Papoušek


In relation to the regulation of human behavior, natural selection has favored perception and processing of sounds and visible events to a degree at which their combinations allow not only a perfect ecological adjustment, but also a development of complex forms of communication and culture; thus, biological adaptation improved far beyond the limits observable in other mammals, primates included. Moreover, humans have become capable of creating a mental representation of their environment and course of life. In this internal world, humans can integrate life experience according to new, for instance, moral or hedonic, principles and can attribute new meanings to environmental events. Consequently, sounds coming from enviroment may be perceived and appraised — with a considerable individual variability — as pleasant, harmonious, or melodious, or disagreeable, wild, etc., although physical criteria for similar attributions may be problematic. Hence, musicality — whether in terms of sound qualities, or in terms of the listener’s sensitivity to, knowledge of, and talent for music — may also be difficult to evaluate with physical measurements.


Vocal Tract Vocal Communication Vocal Sound Innate Predisposition Considerable Individual Variability 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanuš Papoušek
  • Mechthild Papoušek

There are no affiliations available

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