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Why Do People Sing? Music in Human Evolution Mass Market Paperback – March 25, 2011
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Mass Market Paperback
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Joseph Jordania s book is a masterpiece of comparative musicology by a person with an amazing knowledge base, and is perhaps the first true work of comparative musicology to emerge for almost 40 years. Having identified where polyphonic singing exists throughout the world, Jordania uses this information this map to create a story of human migrations that not only explains this pattern but enlightens the origins of language. There is not a single book that I know of that covers even a small part of the terrain of this monumental book. In addition, the argumentation is strong and the book is thoroughly interesting to read. As a co-editor of the book The Origins of Music (2000), I am thrilled to finally see a true work of comparative musicology appear after many decades of neglect. This is the kind of material that people, from psychology to evolutionary biology, need to ponder in order to incorporate music into the emerging picture of human evolution. --Steven Brown, Simon Fraser University, Canada
This book is a great synthesis, that was urgently needed. I totally agree with the main idea of Joseph Jordania about the ancient origins of choral singing and its gradual disappearance. I can testify that even in Africa, arguably the most polyphonic continent of our planet, there are plenty of places where polyphony is either disappearing or becoming a secondary archaism. To my opinion also, there is no evolution from monophonic to polyphonic singing, and I was glad to see that the argumentation of this idea is so strong and logic. --Simha Arom, Emeritus Director of Research, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris, France
About the Author
Joseph Jordania is an Australian-Georgian award-winning ethnomusicologist and evolutionary musicologist. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Music at the University of Melbourne, Professor, Head of the Foreign Department of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatory, and is known for his model of the origins of human choral singing in the wide context of human evolution. He is one of founders of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony in Georgia in 2003. Born in Georgia in 1954, he received PhD in 1982 (from Tbilisi State Conservatory) and Doctor of Music in 1991 (from Kiev State Conservatory). In 1991-1995 he was a Professor of Tbilisi State Conservatory, and in 1988-1995, the Head of the Musical Section of the Centre for Mediterranean Research at Tbilisi State University. From 1995 he resides in Melbourne, Australia, maintaining close professional contacts with his native Georgia and the polyphonic centre. He is a member of ICTM, ESEM, participant (and organizer) of numerous international conferences, the author of four books and over 100 research publications in English, French, Spanish, Georgian, Russian, Finnish, Chinese, Arabian, Bulgarian languages. Jordania s academic interests include the study of worldwide distribution of choral polyphonic traditions, origins of choral singing, origins of rhythm, origins of human morphology and behaviour, cross-cultural prevalence of stuttering, dyslexia and acquisition of the phonological system in children, and the study of the cognitive threshold between animal and human cognitive abilities. His primary expertise is Georgian and Caucasian traditional music and vocal polyphony. From the middle of the 1980s he has performed cross-cultural comparative study of the phenomenon of vocal polyphony and came to the conclusion that polyphony is not a late cultural invention, but rather an extremely ancient phenomenon, designed by the forces of natural selection as part of the defense system for early hominids on the African Savannah. He advocates that natural selection, not sexual selection, was the central force in human evolution, including the evolution of human musical abilities. His 1989 technical book Georgian Traditional Polyphony in an International Context of Polyphonic Cultures (published in Russian) was dedicated to the comparative study of world distribution of vocal polyphonic traditions. His 2006 book Who Asked the First Question? The Origins of Human Choral Singing, Intelligence, Language and Speech was dedicated to the origins of human intelligence and language, articulated speech, stuttering and dyslexia. Jordania also studied the evolutionary function of humming, and the distribution of singing behaviour in animal species in different natural environments. In 2009 Joseph Jordania was awarded the Fumio Koizumi Prize in Ethnomusicology.
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Top Customer Reviews
One complaint: I cannot recommend the Kindle edition. Paragraphs jumbled up. Totally arbitrary use of capital letters left me wondering if anyone had proofread it. This was a huge disservice to the material which, as I say, was excellent. Get a printed edition.