Analogy, Homology, and Rhythmic Phylogeny: Commentary on Adrian Poole's "Comparing Timeline Rhythms in Pygmy and Bushmen Music"

Authors

  • Justin London Carleton College

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18061/emr.v12i3-4.6050

Keywords:

rhythmic analysis, similarity measures, African music, phenotypical analysis

Abstract

In his article "Comparing Timeline Rhythms in Pygmy and Bushmen Music," Adrian Poole uses computational phylogenetic analysis to assess the similarity between canonical rhythmic patterns from two African musical cultures. He then uses these analyses to evaluate previous claims of a common origin for their (now) distinct musical practices. Poole was unable to find clear evidence of a common origin, and here I provide additional analyses of these timelines casting further doubt on such claims. Instead, I offer a perspective from convergent evolution/sociobiology which can account for the broad similarities that exist between these two sets of timelines. I conclude with a critique of the claim of Poole and others that African timelines and the musical cultures in which they appear are especially resistant to change.

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Published

2018-06-25

Issue

Section

Commentaries