Music interested the father of modern evolutionary thought in more than one way (Coronado) and during the meeting it became clear that Darwin's account of his late-life disinterest in music does not fit with accounts from other biographers. Why did he ever mention that "disinterest"? Was there any relation with his own idea that music originated through sexual selection as hominid females preferred to mate with males that produced the most elaborated mating calls?

Many interpretations about the structure of music are possible (Fallas, Fawcett) even when a possible origin is not the key question.

Sound structure and function have significant similarities in humans and non-humans such as insects (Briceño) and birds (Monge-Nájera). Furthermore, the division of monotonic and melodic pieces originally developed for human music is also valid for avian songs (Pont). All these results are consistent with the hypothesis that human music developed from the imitation of bird songs.

However, similarities do no imply a common origin because physics and function impose limitations to variation (Araya), and several other interpretations are also possible.

There is in fact a poorly known book on the origin of music. In that publication Robert Fink (1970) holds the view that there is an innate preference for natural (acoustic) intervals (leading to the diatonic scale) over dissonant intervals, based on interpretations of experiments with musically untutored infants, 4,000 years old tablets believed to be song transcriptions from Ur and remains that some scholars believe was a Neanderthal flute, among others (Fink, R. 1970. The Origin of Music. Greenwich, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. 292 p. and 1997 Internet version. E-mail:

The biological study of music currently has a foundation devoted to it and this reflects a growing interest to seriously study this aspect of music (The Foundation for Biomusicology and Acoustic Ethology, Mid Sweden University. Italian secretariat:S-831 25 ÖstersundVia dell'Arcolaio 31Phone: +46 63-16 53 00I-50137 Florence, ItalyFax: +46 63-16 55 70Phone and fax: +39 55-603410; World Wide Web address:

This pioneering symposium on the origin of music has not produced an answer to the question How did music originate?, but it has illuminated the path to search for that answer and has set a high quality standard for any future attempts. I hope that others will soon follow our steps.

Julián Monge-Nájera

Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica

October, 1997