Form and Function in Human Song

Current Biology Vol/Iss. 28 Elsevier Ltd. Published In Pages: 356-368
By Mehr, Samuel A., Singh, Manvir, York, Hunter, Glowacki, Luke , Krasnow, Max M.


Contextual and musical features will aid people in accurately identifying song functions.


Contextual features include: 1) number of singers, 2) gender of singer(s), and 3) number of instruments. The authors defined musical features of the song to be: 1) melodic complexity, 2) rhythmic complexity, 3) tempo, 4) steady beat, 5) arousal, 6) valence, and 7) pleasantness. Neither contextual nor musical features were able to fully explain song function ratings.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Multiple RegressionPartially SupportedUNKNOWNUNKNOWNUNKNOWN