Open Access title: Music in Evolution and Evolution in Music by Steven Jan. 

About the Book  

‘Music in Evolution and Evolution in Music’ is an immensely comprehensive and detailed discussion of the connections between music and evolution. Steven Jan compares a range of views about how musicality biologically evolved and about how different forms of music culturally evolved, and argues that considering these questions has profound implications for how we should think about the evolutionary history of our aesthetic, linguistic and cognitive capacities more generally. The book will be of interest to musicologists and evolutionary biologists alike, as well as to philosophers of music, philosophers of biology, and indeed anyone with more than a passing interest in how we came to be the musical creatures that we are.

Dr Justine Kingsbury
University of Waikato

Music in Evolution and Evolution in Music by Steven Jan is a comprehensive account of the relationships between evolutionary theory and music. Examining the ‘evolutionary algorithm’ that drives biological and musical-cultural evolution, the book provides a distinctive commentary on how musicality and music can shed light on our understanding of Darwin’s famous theory, and vice-versa.  

Comprised of seven chapters, with several musical examples, figures and definitions of terms, this original and accessible book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the relationships between music and evolutionary thought. Jan guides the reader through key evolutionary ideas and the development of human musicality, before exploring cultural evolution, evolutionary ideas in musical scholarship, animal vocalisations, music generated through technology, and the nature of consciousness as an evolutionary phenomenon.

A unique examination of how evolutionary thought intersects with music, Music in Evolution and Evolution in Music is essential to our understanding of how and why music arose in our species and why it is such a significant presence in our lives.

Also now available, a blog by the author discussing this new Open Access title at

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