Steven Jan

Published On


Page Range

pp. 565–626

7 Conclusion

Music, Evolution and Consciousness

  • Steven Jan (author)
Chapter 7: explores the relationships between evolution and consciousness, and the role of music (traditionally understood and also conceived in its new incarnations in digital media) in this relationship. The widely supported theory of consciousness as driven by Darwinian processes (hypothesised, among others, by William Calvin, Daniel Dennett, and Henry Plotkin) allows evolution to be conceived, conversely, as a form of slow-motion consciousness. In this sense, the evolution of large-scale systemic structures in music – such as the much theorised issue of tonal-system evolution in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries – is a form of high-level musical consciousness running in parallel with (indeed, driven by) the lower-level variation, replication and selection of particulate musemes.


Steven Jan