A biological basis for musical tonality


Book Section

© 2012 Springer-Verlag/Wien. Like other sensory qualities, the human ability to perceive tonal sound stimuli has presumably evolved because of its utility. Although a variety of tonal sounds are present in the human auditory environment, the vocalizations of other humans are the most biologically relevant and the most frequently experienced. It is thus reasonable to assume that our appreciation of tonal sounds has arisen primarily for the benefits that accrue from this conspecific information. It follows that the structure and function of the tonal sounds produced by the human vocal apparatus may provide the key to understanding how and why we perceive tonality in music the way that we do. Here we consider recent evidence that bears on this idea.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bowling, D; Purves, D

Published Date

  • January 1, 2012

Book Title

  • Sensory Perception: Mind and Matter

Start / End Page

  • 205 - 214

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9783211997505

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/978-3-211-99751-2_12

Citation Source

  • Scopus