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Are we dancing apes?

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SARAH WURZ, senior researcher at the Institute of Human Evolution at Wits will be talking on the evolution of music making at Origins Centre on July 31.

Music making is present and pervasive in all known human societies: the first musical instruments are as old as 40 000 years, probably much older. This suggests a fundamental evolutionary role for music in hominin evolution. The Western ‚’concert hall’ experience of music obscures the fact that music is about action and interaction. In many non-Western contexts moving together in time with sound, or dance, is the essence of music. In this talk the speaker, Sarah Wurz, will discuss why it is likely that rhythmically coordinated movement was the core of the earliest music. The biological adaptations underlying rhythmic expression, for example innate rhythmic capabilities of infants, are addressed. The other aspect of music, complex learned vocalizations, its adaptations and new-born infants’ predisposition for melodic perception, will also be examined. This exploration of the origins of music will suggest that protomusic, or the first music, may have evolved surprisingly early, before a million years ago. Date: Tuesday 31 July 2012 Venue: Origins Centre Time: 18h00 for 18h30 Cost: R45/R35 Wits students and staff Bookings essential: ask@origins.org.za

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