Steven Jan

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pp. 165–290

3 Music-Cultural Evolution in the Light of Memetics

  • Steven Jan (author)
Chapter 3: revisits memetics (theorised in my The Memetics of Music: A Neo-Darwinian View of Musical Structure and Culture (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007)) and its antecedent theories in order to explore further how biological and cultural Darwinism relate to each other and how they can illuminate our understanding of musicality and music. The discussion covers, among other issues, the question of taxonomy (how approaches to biological classification discussed in Chapter 1 (particularly cladism) can be applied to musico-cultural types) and the possible co-evolutionary effect of musical memes, or ‘musemes’, on human genetic evolution (what Susan Blackmore terms ‘memetic drive’). The structural correspondences between music and language discussed in Chapter 2 are used as the basis of an exploration of the syntactic and semantic homologies between the two substrates, developing the work of Peter Carruthers.


Steven Jan