Universality and diversity in human song

Science Vol/Iss. 366(6468) American Association for the Advancement of Science Washington, D.C. Published In Pages: eaax0868
By Mehr, Samuel A., Singh, Manvir, Knox, Dean, Ketter, Daniel M., Pickens-Jones, Daniel, Atwood, S., Lucas, Christopher, Jacoby, Nori, Egner, Alena A., Hopkins, Erin J., Howard, Rhea M., Hartshorne, Joshua K., Jennings, Mariela V., Simson, Jan, Bainbridge, Constance M., Pinker, Steven, O’Donnell, Timothy J., Krasnow, Max M., Glowacki, Luke


A song's melodic complexity predicts its context.


However, rhythmic complexity did significantly distinguish dance songs (which were more rhythmically complex, p = .01) and lullabies (which were less rhythmically complex, p = .03) from other songs, but it did not distinguish healing or lovesongs (ps > .99).


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
UNKNOWNNot Supporteddance: p = .79; healing: p = .96, love: p = .13; lullaby: p = .35UNKNOWNUNKNOWN


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Song melodyDependentMusic
Song's contextDependentMusic