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Publisher: University of California Press
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: psyc
There has recently been renewed interest in using quantitative data to explore questions \ud about musical universals. One explanation for \ud certain \ud musical universals is that \ud they \ud reflect ways of\ud singing \ud that\ud are most energetically efficient\ud , as opposed to \ud biological \ud specializations for human music\ud . \ud Previous research\ud found support for this "motor \ud constraint hypothesis" by comparing \ud pitch contour shapes in \ud sample\ud s\ud of \ud human and avian\ud song\ud s, but the sample of human song\ud s\ud was limited to notated scores of European and \ud Chinese folk\ud songs from the Essen database.\ud Here we attempt to \ud test this hypothesis using\ud a more diverse global sample of \ud human music recordings from the \ud Garland Encyclopedia \ud of World Music\ud . By directly comparing \ud pitch contour shapes in a diverse sample of \ud human songs and bird\ud songs\ud , we found that both human and bird songs tend to employ \ud similar descending\ud /\ud arched melodic contours despite substantial differences in absolute \ud pitch and duration. This preference was consistent for both Western and non\ud -\ud Western \ud songs. \ud Surprisingly, w\ud e also found that \ud the global samples of human and bird song \ud contours were signific\ud antly more \ud correlated with\ud one another than either was \ud with\ud the \ud Essen \ud contours\ud . \ud Our findings of broad cross\ud -\ud cultural and cross\ud -\ud species parallels support \ud the motor constraint hypothesis for melodic \ud contour\ud . More generally, our findings \ud demonstr\ud ate the importance of greater collaboration between ethnomusicology and music \ud psychology.

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