Presentation by Dr. Steven Brown
The Use of Music to Study Human Evolutionary Migrations
Abstract: Scientists have used a variety of “markers” in order to reconstruct the history of human migrations occurring over the course of many thousands of years. These markers include not only ancient artifacts such as pottery but also markers found in extant populations, namely languages and genes. I will describe new work examining the potential of music (mainly song) to serve as a novel and informative marker for the study of historical migrations. The test case focuses on the Pacific region and the expansion of the Austronesian-speaking peoples during the last 6000 years. The analysis focuses on the relationships between choral singing style, genetic haplogroups (mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA), and languages in this region.
Dr. Steven Brown is the Director of the NeuroArts Lab, McMaster University.