Did Music Evolve?

first_imgNature is running a nine-part series on music.  The most recent entry by Josh McDermott, psychologist at University of Minnesota, asked how music might have evolved.1  The theme, with variations, is that nobody knows.    Music is a uniquely human trait.  It is ubiquitous across cultures.  Bird songs and animal calls, while musical to us, do not appear to have a music-appreciation function to the animals themselves.  The great apes have nothing like it.  McDermott stated the theme in paragraph one:We think we understand why we are driven to eat, drink, have sex, talk and so forth, based on the uncontroversial adaptive functions of these urges.  The drive to engage in music, a compulsion that is arguably just as pervasive in our species, has no such ready explanation.  Music was one human behaviour that Charles Darwin was uncertain he could explain, writing in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex: “As neither the enjoyment nor the capacity of producing musical notes are faculties of the least use to man … they must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which he is endowed.”With access to all the latest insights from evolutionary biologists and psychologists, was McDermott at least able to suggest a leading explanation?  No; “Music’s origins have remained puzzling in the years since, although there is no shortage of speculation on the subject.”  Speculation is cheap.  Science demands a more convincing body of evidence.    McDermott ran through the list of short answers: attracting mates, pacifying babies, a spin-off of language evolution (which only creates two problems).  “These discussions run the risk of being mostly ‘Just-So’ stories, as there are few data with which to test or constrain theories.”  He didn’t have much more to say other than to suggest ways future studies might suggest possible answers.    For his finale, he called music an “enduring puzzle” that may never have an evolutionary explanation. Music is universal, a significant feature of every known culture, and yet does not serve an obvious, uncontroversial function.  As such it stands in contrast to other universal human behaviours.  Speculation about its possible adaptive functions has been popular since the time of Darwin, and shows few signs of resolution.  Empirical approaches offer a promising alternative.  There is no guarantee that a full account of music’s origins will ever emerge; in fact, that seems quite unlikely at present.  Nonetheless, the right experiments will reveal a great deal – about the innate core of musical behaviour, the traits that might be unique to music, and the possible origins of those components that are not.  All of which promises to enrich our appreciation of this human obsession.His coda thus repeated the theme allargando in minor.1.  Josh McDermott, “The evolution of music,” Nature 453, 287-288 (15 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/453287a.Do you want to follow the Darwinians, who admit that after 149 years they have nothing but speculations and just-so stories?  How much time should they get before admitting defeat?  Why not come back to the theists who love music as a gift of God to sentient creatures?  Music demonstrates that we are more than physical bodies.  Music is the expression of souls and spirits who are able to communicate rationally on a divine level.  Drive a Darwinist crazy: sing a hymn.    May we suggest a short piece to cleanse out of your mind all thoughts that music evolved?  Of the thousands of beautiful pieces of music that could be selected (and we are sure each person has their favorites), here is one that approaches musical perfection – a blend of human voice and orchestra that, to a well-trained ear, will lift one’s soul to heaven.  It achieves a perfect balance of simplicity and complexity, melody and harmony, dynamism and tranquillity, loud and soft, orchestral tone color, alternating masculine and feminine voices, and a designed structure that enhances its spiritual message.  It’s the fourth movement from the Brahms German Requiem, “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place.”*  English versions are available, but a particularly superb performance is sung in German by Gachinger Kantorei of Stuttgart, conducted by Helmuth Rilling, available for just 99 cents on iTunes or at eMusic.  This gem is only 5 minutes long.  Listen through good headphones and try to convince yourself that musical artistry this superb is a product of evolution.*Text: How lovely is Thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts.  O my soul; it longeth, yea fainteth for the courts of the Lord.  My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.  Blessed are they that dwell in the house of the Lord; they will ever praise Thee.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Rhiza Babuyile: supporting development

first_imgRhiza Babuyile imparts marketable skills and entrepreneurship know-how to people living in some of Johannesburg’s toughest environments. (Image: Rhiza Babuyile, via Facebook)“Our vision is to eradicate extreme poverty in South Africa’s township communities by giving historically disadvantaged individuals the tools to become completely self-sustaining” Rhiza Babuyile mission statement.By giving people the skills and tools necessary for them to take their wellbeing into their own hands, Rhiza Babuyile hopes to make a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of those in underprivileged communities.“If we keep on helping people without giving them the tools to, in the future, help themselves, then we are not sustainable,” Rhiza Babuyile founder Alef Muelenburg told CCTV Africa. “So the business hub is there for people to create an income for themselves so that at the end of the day we are not needed anymore.”Watch the work of Rhiza Babuyile:RHIZA DRIVING ENTREPRENEURSHIPRhiza Babuyile has community development projects established in Orange Farm and Diepsloot, two of South Africa’s youngest and fastest growing townships.Unemployment is commonplace in both and this is one of the many reasons why the organisation has put such a huge focus on entrepreneurship and skills development, in the hopes of creating a sustainable solution to poverty by getting people actively involved in their own development.Perhaps the most important part of its involvement is its enterprise development hubs, which offer training in the fields of entrepreneurship, business administration and other factors that go into starting and successfully running a small-scale business.Commenting on the aim of the business hub, Muelenburg says: “It’s about promoting entrepreneurship in the township because there’s so much talent in the township and, through that talent, we can ensure sustainability and a long-term good future for South Africa.”Diepsloot entrepreneur Khabelo Tau says he managed to get his business off the ground with the help of the Rhiza Babuyile Enterprise Development programme. “I came up with a business plan, and then it went through,” Tau explains. “They got me a tent and 50 chairs for start-up.“So (from now on) it’s really from my side that I have to push up and grow the business.”Rhiza Babuyile’s clinics, while catering to a wide range of illnesses and injuries, dedicate most of their resources to mother and child care, dental care, TB and HIV/Aids. (Image: Rhiza Babuyile, via Facebook)OTHER PROGRAMMESApart from entrepreneurship and enterprise development, Rhiza Babuyile also runs programmes in the fields of education, healthcare and skills development, all as a means to help reduce some of the most common symptoms of poverty.Through its education programme, it focuses on early childhood development (ECD). Most ECD programmes in townships are informal, meaning that children often only receive a formal education from the age of seven or higher.Rhiza Babuyile has also established mobile clinics and what it calls semi-fixed clinics in various townships, including Diepsloot and Orange Farm.These clinics, while catering to a wide range of illnesses and injuries, dedicate most of their resources to mother and child care, dental care, TB and HIV/Aids.Much like the entrepreneurship and enterprise development programmes, the organisation’s skills development programme aims to equip people in townships with the knowledge and marketable skills they need to compete in the job market.“They’re doing a great job providing us with such opportunities,” Tau says. “We as Diepsloot youth, here we don’t have facilities, we don’t have information. We don’t have many things here.”PLAY YOUR PARTEveryone can make a positive difference in their own way. How are you working to support the development of those less fortunate?Are you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you through your everyday actions? Do you know of anyone who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.last_img read more

A Quick Guide to Nesting in Premiere Pro

first_imgHow do you use the nest feature? Have any other tricks to share? Let us know in the comments. Nesting in Premiere Pro is a great tool for streamlining a long project. It’s also great for combining more effects to a clip than is usually possible. Here’s how to use it.Image via ShutterstockWhen working with Premiere Pro, especially on longer or more complicated projects, there can be times where there is simply too much going on in your sequence. Things may get cluttered and difficult to navigate and you’d like to clean things up. Or you may have clips you’ve already used effects like speed/duration on that you’d still like to doctor with effects like Warp Stabilizer. Whatever the reason, the Nest option can be your best friend.Nesting in itself isn’t very difficult to use. In fact, it’s amazingly simple. It can also clean up your sequences and allow you more options. Here are a few tricks you can try. Just follow these steps!Nest Several Clips and Layers TogetherHighlight the clip or clips that you’d like to nest. Make sure they are all next to each other. You can also highlight layers and elements above and below (audio too) to include in your nest.Once you have them highlighted, right-click on one part of it to bring up the Options menu. Scroll up or down (it should be in the middle) to the Nest option. It will bring up a dialogue box to name your nest (it defaults to Nest Sequence 01, etc…).You should see your new nested sequence in your project folder and as a new sequence. It will show up on your original sequence as a single green-tinted clip. Nice and clean.Add Additional Effects on Your ClipsNow that your clips are together in a nested sequence, you can add additional clips to them that you wouldn’t normally be able to. It also adds them to all of them at once, which can be a huge time saver. You can now add both Warp Stabilizer and Speed to a clip by using the nest feature. Just add one to the original clip then the other to the nested sequence. Voilà!Add Effects and Transitions to Nested SequenceWhen working with multiple clips and layers, it becomes very difficult (and at times impossible) to add blanket transitions or effects to all clips and layers. If you have your sequence put together the way you like it, using the nest feature can be a great way to simplify your edit by adding a transition to the beginning or end that will cover all parts. (Otherwise they can animate in or out awkward and unevenly.)Here’s a how it can look all together. None of these would be possible together without the nest feature.Split clipsMultiple LayersWarp StabilizerSpeed ReverseTransition InTransition Outlast_img read more

Give time frame to fulfil election promises: Selja

first_imgTaking a dig at how the BJP and the JJP opposed each other during the Assembly elections, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja on Monday said now after forming the government in the State, both parties should give a time frame by which they will fulfil their poll promises. Stressing that both parties had levelled serious allegations against each other during electioneering, the Congress leader in a statement said, “People of the State want to know the time frame by when those promises will be fulfilled and allegations investigated.” When in the Opposition, the Jannayak Janta Party had alleged a cash-for-jobs scam and the drug menace, Ms. Selja said, adding that now people were “questioning it” for extending support to the BJP despite “opposing them tooth and nail” during electioneering. “People are seeing this as a betrayal of faith,” she said alluding to the post-poll alliance between the two parties. BJP promisesAttacking the BJP, the State Congress chief said the BJP had made many promises in the 2014 elections, which it “failed to fulfil” in the past five years of its rule.last_img read more