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Music and Speech Based on Human Biology, New Evidence Shows

No surprise to learn that neuroscientists at Duke University have found evidence that popular music can be predicted based on harmonics characteristic of human speech. Of course, the link between anatomy and esthetics goes far deeper than this. We are our esthetics, radiating from the structures and patterns of our world. In turn, our esthetics informs our ethics and epistemics, our goods and evils, our knowledge and truth. The possibility space for humanity and its post-human future is already embedded in our anatomy and its environment. Nietzsche might declare this all too human, and that too is an esthetic. The more profound power of a god, perhaps, is the ability to don an esthetic as we now don clothing. After all, God declared it good -- not the other way around. Whereas now, our music is based on our biology, the day may come when our biology is based on our music.


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Evidence of a deep biological link between human music and speech has been found by Duke University neuroscientists. They found that the musical scales most commonly used over the centuries are those that come closest to mimicking the physics of the human voice, and that we understand emotions expressed through music because the music mimics the way emotions are expressed in speech. The showed that the harmonic structure of vowel tones forms the basis of the musical scales we find most appealing, and the popularity of musical scales can be predicted based on how well they match up with the series of harmonics characteristic of vowels in speech. (Source:


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