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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jul 24;109(30):12081-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203182109. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Evolution of music by public choice.

Author information

1
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom. uncoolbob@gmail.com

Abstract

Music evolves as composers, performers, and consumers favor some musical variants over others. To investigate the role of consumer selection, we constructed a Darwinian music engine consisting of a population of short audio loops that sexually reproduce and mutate. This population evolved for 2,513 generations under the selective influence of 6,931 consumers who rated the loops' aesthetic qualities. We found that the loops quickly evolved into music attributable, in part, to the evolution of aesthetically pleasing chords and rhythms. Later, however, evolution slowed. Applying the Price equation, a general description of evolutionary processes, we found that this stasis was mostly attributable to a decrease in the fidelity of transmission. Our experiment shows how cultural dynamics can be explained in terms of competing evolutionary forces.

PMID:
22711832
PMCID:
PMC3409751
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1203182109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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