Ongoing History Daily: Why do humans sing?

Why do humans sing? A British archeologist name Steven Mithen has written a book called The Singing Neanderthals and suggests that we began to sing as an act of solidarity. Singing brought people together in a sense of “we’re-all-in-this-together-ness” as we evolved. It was ritualistic and spiritual. But that still doesn’t explain everything.

Why did we choose to express this through music? One theory in neuroscience and anthropological circles is that our brains come pre-loaded with musical circuits. This means it’s maybe an evolutionary ability. It’s possible that the possibility to communicate in various tones and melodies actually pre-dates proper language–you know, with words. Professor Mithen suggests that “Language may have been built on the neural underpinnings of music.”

Cavemen rocked? Yeah–and because of that, we have language.

If you missed Friday, I had a story about Kurt Cobain’s ghost.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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