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Music's "design features": Musical motivation, musical pulse, and musical pitch
Bispham, J. C. (2009). Music's "design features": Musical motivation, musical pulse, and musical pitch. Musicae Scientiae, Special issue 2009-2010, 41-61.
This paper focuses on the question of what music is, attempting to describe those features of music that generically distinguish it from other forms of animal and human communication - music's "design features". The author suggests that music is generically inspired by musical motivation an intrinsic motivation to share convergent intersubjective endstates - and is universally identifiable by the presence of musical pulse - a maintained and volitionally controlled attentional pulse - and/or musical pitch - a system for maintaining certain relationships between pitches. As such music's design features are viewed as providing an interpersonal framework for synchronous and group affective interaction. The implications of this approach to an evolutionary perspective on music and on arguments of the primary evolutionary functionality of musical abilities in human evolution are discussed.