The Biological Purpose of Music

Music Explained

Netflix (2018)

Film Review

This is a fascinating documentary about the phenomenon of music, which is present in all human cultures. Some lower animals have the ability to appreciate some aspects of music but not others. Apes and rhesus monkeys can’t follow a beat (rhythm)eat (rhythm), but cockatoos and sea lions can. Sea lions, in turn, can’t recognize pitch because they’re tone deaf. Because social animals like whales and rhesus monkeys can, scientists believe singing predates language and serves a special purpose in promoting group cohesion.

At present, speech therapists use music (in the right brain) to help stroke patients learn to talk when their speech center (in the left brain) is destroyed. Music also helps athletes achieve top sports performance an Parkinson’s* patients achieve more freedom of movement.

*Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system characterized by tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking

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