| This article departs from many discussions of the origin, evolution, and adaptive function(s) of music by treating music not as perceptual qualities (pitch, timbre, meter), formal elements (prosody, melody, harmony, rhythm), performed activity (singing, drumming), or genre (lullaby, song, dance). Rather, music is conceptualized as a behavioral and motivational capacity: what is done to sounds and pulses when they are "musified" made into music and why. For this new view, I employ the ethological notion of ritualization, wherein ordinary communicative behaviors (e.g., sounds, movements) are altered through formalization, repetition, exaggeration, and elaboration, thereby attracting attention and arousing and shaping emotion. The universal sensitivity of infants as young as 8 weeks to such alterations of (or operations on) voice, facial expression, and body movements, when these are presented to them by adults in intimate dyadic interactions within a shared temporal framework, suggests an evolved, adaptive capacity that enabled and reinforced emotional bonding. Such proto-aesthetic (proto-musical) operations existed as a reservoir from which individual cultures could draw when inventing art-saturated ritual ceremonies that united groups temporally and emotionally as they did mother-infant pairs. Music in its origins and evolution is assumed to be multimodal (visual and kinesic, as well as aural) and a social not solitary activity. An appendix describes important structural and functional resemblances between music, mother-infant interaction, ceremonial ritual, and adult courtship and lovemaking (as differentiated from copulation). These resemblances suggest not only an evolutionary relationship among these behaviors but argue for the existence of an evolved amodal neural propensity in the human species to respond cognitively and emotionally to dynamic temporal patterns produced by other humans in contexts of affiliation.