1. Classification, clustering, and maps of music
  2. Cultural evolution of music
  3. Musical universals
  4. Music and human migration
  5. Biological evolution of music


1. Classification, clustering, and maps of music

Ellis, B. K., Hwang, H., Savage, P. E., Pan, B.-Y., Cohen, A. J., & Brown, S. (2016). Identifying style-types in a sample of musical improvisations using dimensional reduction and cluster analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and  the Arts. doi: 10.1037/aca0000072. 

Freeman, L. C., & Merriam, Alan P. (1956). Statistical classification in anthropology: An application to ethnomusicology. American Anthropologist, 58(3), 464-472.

Harris, M. (1976). History and significance of the emic/etic distinction. Annual Review of Anthropology, 5(1), 329-350.

Hornbostel, E. M. von, & Sachs, C. (1914/1961). Classification of musical instruments. Galpin Society Journal, 14, 3-29. Translated by Anthony Baines and Klaus P. Wachmann.

Kolinski, M. (1957). The determinants of tonal construction in tribal music. The Musical Quarterly, 43(1), 50-56.

Kolinski, M. (1961). Classification of tonal structures. Studies in Ethnomusicology, 1, 38-76.

Kolinski, M. (1962). Consonance and dissonance. Ethnomusicology, 6(2), 66-74.

Kolinski, M. (1965). The general direction of melodic movement. Ethnomusicology, 9(3), 240-264.

Kolinski, M. (1973). A cross-cultural approach to metro-rhythmic patterns. Ethnomusicology, 17(3), 494-506.

Kolinski, M. (1978). The structure of music: Diversification versus constraint. Ethnomusicology, 22(2), 229-244.

Kolinski, M. (1982). Reiteration quotients: A cross-cultural comparison. Ethnomusicology, 26(1), 85-90.

Lomax, A. (Ed.) (1968). Folk song style and culture. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Downey, J. C. (1970). Review of A. Lomax, Folk song style and culture. Ethnomusicology, 14(1), 63-67.

Driver, H. E. (1970). Review of A. Lomax, Folk song style and culture. Ethnomusicology, 14(1), 57-62.

Erickson, E. E. (1976). Tradition and evolution in song style: A reanalysis of Cantometric data. Cross-Cultural Research, 11(4), 277-308.

Henry, E. O. (1976). The variety of music in a North Indian village: Reassessing Cantometrics. Ethnomusicology, 20(1), 49-66.

Maranda, E. K. (1970). Deep significance and surface significance: Is Cantometrics possible? Semiotica, 2(2), 173-184.

Nettl, B. (1970). Review of A. Lomax, Folk song style and culture. American Anthropologist, 72(2), 438-441.

Lomax, A., & Berkowitz, N. (1972). The evolutionary taxonomy of culture. Science, 177(4045), 228-239.

Lomax, A. (1976). Cantometrics: An approach to the anthropology of music. Berkeley: University of California Extension Media Center.

Rzeszutek, T., Savage, P. E., & Brown, S. (2012). The structure of cross-cultural musical diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 279, 1602-1612.

Savage, P. E., & Brown, S. (2014). Mapping music: Cluster analysis of song-type frequencies within and between cultures. Ethnomusicology, 58(1), 133–155.

Savage, P.E., Merritt, E., Rzeszutek, T., & Brown, S. (2012). CantoCore: A new cross-cultural song classification scheme. Analytic Approaches to World Music, 2(1), 87-137.

Tenzer, M. (Ed.). (2006). Analytical studies in world music. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Tenzer, M., & Roeder, J. (Eds.). (2011). Analytical and cross-cultural studies in world music. New York: Oxford University Press.

Toiviainen, P. (Ed.) (2009). Musical similarity [Special issue]. Musicae Scientiae, 13(1 suppl).

Toiviainen, P., & Eerola, T. (2001). A method for comparative analysis of folk music based on musical feature extraction and neural networks. In H. Lappalainen (Ed.), Proceedings of the VII International Symposium of Systematic and Comparative Musicology and the III International Conference on Cognitive Musicology (pp. 41-45). Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.


2. Cultural evolution of music

Grauer, V. A. (2011). Sounding the depths: Tradition and the voices of history. CreateSpace.

Jan, S. (2007). The memetics of music: A neo-Darwinian view of musical structure and culture. Hants: Ashgate.

MacCallum, R. M., Mauch, M., Burt, A., & Leroi, A. M. (2012). Evolution of music by public choice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(30), 12081–12086.

Mace, R., & Holden, C. J. (2005). A phylogenetic approach to cultural evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20(3), 116-21.

Mauch, M., MacCallum, R. M., Levy, M., & Leroi, A. M. (2015). The evolution of popular music: USA 1960-2010. Royal Society Open Science, 2, 150081.

Ravignani, A., Delgado, T., & Kirby, S. (2016). Musical evolution in the lab exhibits rhythmic universals. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(0007), 1–7.

Savage, P. E., & Atkinson, Q. D. (2015). Automatic tune family identification by musical sequence alignment. In Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) (pp. 162–168).

Stock, J. P. (Ed.). (2006). Echoes of our forgotten ancestors [Special issue]. The World of Music, 48(2-3).

Whiten, A., Hinde, R. A., Stringer, C. B., & Laland, K. N. (2012). Culture evolves. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


3. Musical universals

Aubert, L. (2007). The music of the other. New challenges for ethnomusicology in a global age. With a foreword by Anthony Seeger. Aldershot (UK): Ashgate. (English translation of La Musique de l’autre. Les nouveaux défis de l’ethnomusicologie, 2001).

Blacking, J. (1977). Can musical universals be heard? The World of Music, 19, 14-22.

Brown, S., & Jordania, J. (2013). Universals in the world's musics. Psychology of Music 41: 229-248.

Ellis, A. J. (1885). On the musical scales of various nations. Journal of the Society of Arts, 33(1), 485-527.

Fritz, T., Jentschke, S., Gosselin, N., Sammler, D., Peretz, I., Turner, R., … Koelsch, S. (2009). Universal recognition of three basic emotions in music. Current Biology, 19(7), 573–576.

Gill, K. Z., & Purves, D. (2009). A biological rationale for musical scales. PLoS One, 4(12), e8144. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008144

Harrison, F. (1977). Universals in music: Towards a methodology of comparative research. The World of Music, 19, 30-36.

Harwood, D. L. (1976). Universals in music: A perspective from cognitive psychology. Ethnomusicology, 20, 521-533.

Helmholtz, H. L. F. von. (1873/1954). On the sensations of tone as a physiological basis for the theory of music. Translated by Alexander J. Ellis. New York: Dover.

Hood, M. (1977). Universal attributes in music. The World of Music, 19, 63-69.

List, G. (1971). On the non-universality of musical perspectives. Ethnomusicology, 15(3), 399-402.

McAllester, D. P. (1971). Some thoughts on “universals” in world music. Ethnomusicology, 15(3), 379-380.

McDermott, J. H., Schultz, A. F., Undurraga, E. A., & Godoy, R. A. (2016). Indifference to dissonance in native Amazonians reveals cultural variation in music perception. Nature, 535, 547–550.

Nattiez, J.-J. (1977). Under what conditions can one speak about the universals of music? The World of Music, 19, 92-105.

Nettl, B. (1977). On the question of universals. The World of Music, 19, 2-7.

Savage, P. E. (In press). Universals. In J. L. Sturman (Ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. SAGE Publications.

Savage, P. E., Brown, S., Sakai, E., & Currie, T. E. (2015). Statistical universals reveal the structures and functions of human music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(29), 8987–8992.

Seeger, C. (1971). Reflections upon a given topic: Music in universal perspective. Ethnomusicology, 15(3), 385-398.

Stumpf, C. (1890). Tonpsychologie (Vol. 2). Leipzig: S. Hirzel.

Wachsmann, K. P. (1971). Universal perspectives in music. Ethnomusicology, 15, 381-384.


4. Music and human migration

Brown, S., Savage, P. E., Ko, A. M.-S., Stoneking, M., Ko, Y.-C., Loo, J.-H., & Trejaut, J. A. (2014). Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences281(20132072).

Grauer, V. A. (2011). Sounding the depths: Tradition and the voices of history. CreateSpace.

Jordania, J. (2006). Who asked the first question? The origins of human choral singing, intelligence, language, and speech. Tbilisi: Logos.

Savage, P. E., Matsumae, H., Oota, H., Stoneking, M., Currie, T. E., Tajima, A., … Brown, S. (2015). How “circumpolar” is Ainu music? Musical and genetic perspectives on the history of the Japanese archipelago. Ethnomusicology Forum, 24(3), 443–467.

Stock, J. P. (Ed.). (2006). Echoes of our forgotten ancestors [Special issue]. The World of Music48(2-3).


5. Biological evolution of music

Brown, S. (2007). Contagious heterophony: A new theory about the origins of music. Musicae Scientiae, 11(1), 3-26.

Bücher, K. (1896). Arbeit und rhythmus [Work and Rhythm]. Leipzig: Teubner.

Darwin, C. (1859). On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: John Murray.

Darwin, C. (1871). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray.

Doolittle, E. L., Gingras, B., Endres, D. M., & Fitch, W. T. (2014). Overtone-based pitch selection in hermit thrush song: Unexpected convergence with scale construction in human music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(46), 16616–16621.

Deliège, I. (Ed.) (2009). Music and evolution [Special issue]. Musicae Scientiae, 13(2 suppl).

Deliège, I., Vitouch, O., & Ladinig, O. (Eds.) (2010). Musique et évolution. Wavre: Mardaga.

Dissanayake, E. (1988). What is art for? Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Dissanayake, E. (1992). Homo aestheticus: Where art comes from and why. New York: Free Press.

Dissanayake, E. (2000). Art and intimacy: How the arts began. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Fitch, W. T. (2006). The biology and evolution of music: A comparative perspective. Cognition, 100(1), 173–215.

Jordania, J. (2006). Who asked the first question? The origins of human choral singing, intelligence, language, and speech. Tbilisi: Logos.

Mâche, F.-B. (1992). Music, myth, and nature, or the dolphins of Arion. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers.

Mâche, F.-B. (2001). Musique au singulier. Paris: O. Jacob.

Miller, G. F. (2000). The mating mind: How sexual choice shaped the evolution of human nature. New York: Doubleday Books.

Mithen, S. J. (2005). The singing Neanderthals: The origins of music, language, mind, and body. London: Weldenfeld & Nicholson.

Nadel, E. (1930). The origins of music. Musical Quarterly, 16, 531-546.

Newman, E. (1905). Herbert Spencer and the origin of music. Musical studies (pp. 189-216). New York: Haskell House Publishers.

Patel, A. D., Iversen, J. R., Bregman, M. R., & Schulz, I. (2009). Experimental evidence for synchronization to a musical beat in a nonhuman animal. Current Biology, 19(10), 827-30.

Rousseau, J.-J. (1781/1998). Essay on the origin of languages. In Essay on the origin of languages and writings related to music (pp. 289-332). Translated and edited by John T. Scott. Hanover: University Press of New England.

Savage, P. E., Tierney, A. T., & Patel, A. D. (2017). Global music recordings support the motor constraint hypothesis for human and avian song contour. Music Perception34(3), 327–334.

Schachner, A., Brady, T. F., Pepperberg, I. M., & Hauser, M. D. (2009). Spontaneous motor entrainment to music in multiple vocal mimicking species. Current Biology, 19(10), 831-6.

Spencer, H. (1857). The origin and function of music. Fraser’s Magazine, 56, 396-408.

Spencer, H. (1890). The origin of music. Mind, 15, 449-468.

Stumpf, C. (1911). Die anfange der musik [The beginning of music]. Leipzig: J.A. Barth.

Tierney, A. T., Russo, F. A., & Patel, A. D. (2011). The motor origins of human and avian song structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(37), 15510-15515.

Wallaschek, R. (1891). On the origins of music. Mind, 16, 375-386.

Wallin, N. L., Merker, B., & Brown, S. (Eds.) (2000). The origins of music. Cambridge: MIT Press.


Comparative Musicology (general)

Adler, G. (1885/1981). The scope, method, and aim of musicology. Yearbook for Traditional Music, 13, 1-21. Translated by Erica Mugglestone.

Clayton, M. (2007). Music, time, and place: Essays in comparative musicology. Delhi: B.R. Rhythms.

Hornbostel, E. M. von. (1905/1975). The problems of comparative musicology. In Hornbostel opera omnia (pp. 247-270). Translated and edited by Klaus P. Wachsmann, Dieter Christensen, and Hans-Pieter Reinecke.The Hague: Marinus Nijhoff.

Merriam, A.P. (1977). Definitions of "comparative musicology" and "ethnomusicology": An historical-theoretical perspective. Ethnomusicology, 21(2), 189-204.

Nettl, B., & Bohlman, P. V. (Eds.) (1991). Comparative musicology and anthropology of music?: Essays on the history of ethnomusicology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rehding, A. (2000). The quest for the origins of music in Germany circa 1900. Journal of the American Musicological Society, 53(2), 345-385.

Sachs, C. (1943). The rise of music in the ancient world: East and west. New York: Norton.

Sachs, C. (1962). The wellsprings of music. (J. Kunst, Ed.). The Hague: M. Nijhoff.

Savage, P. E., & Brown, S. (In press). Vers une nouvelle musicologie comparative: cinq domaines et débats clés. Anthropologie et Sociétés, 37(3).

Savage, P. E., & Brown, S. (2013). Toward a new comparative musicology. Analytical Approaches to World Music, 2(2), 148–198.

Savage, P. E., & Brown, S. (2014). Pour une nouvelle musicologie comparée: Cinq champs de recherche, cinq débats essentiels. Anthropologie et Sociétés, 38(1), 193–216.

Schneider, M. (1957). Primitive music. Oxford history of music, I: Ancient and oriental music (pp. 1-82). London: Oxford University Press.

Schneider, A. (Ed.) (2008). Systematic and comparative musicology: Concepts, methods, findings. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Toner, P. G. (2007). The gestation of cross-cultural music research and the birth of ethnomusicology. Humanities Research, 14(1), 85-110.

Wachsmann, K. P., Christensen, D., & Reinecke, H.-P. (Eds.) (1975). Hornbostel opera omnia. The Hague: Marinus Nijhoff.

General Resources

Arom, S. (1991). African polyphony and polyrhythm: Musical structure and methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Boiko, M. (1992). On the interaction between styles in Baltic folk music: Sutartines polyphony and the east Baltic refrain songs. In M. P. Bauman, A. Simon, & U. Wegner (Eds.), European studies in ethnomusicology: Historical developments and recent trends (pp. 218-236). Wilhelmshaven: Florian Noetzel. 

Brambats, K. (1983). The vocal drone in the Baltic countries: Problems of chronology and provenance. Journal of Baltic Studies, 14(1), 24-34. 

Brandl, R. M. (2008). New considerations of diaphony in Southeast Europe. In A. Ahmedaja & G. Haid (Eds.), European voices: Multipart singing on the Balkans and in the Mediterranean (pp. 281-297). Vienna: Bohlau Verlag.

Caporaletti, V. (2005). I processi improvvisativi nella musica. Un approccio globale [The improvisational process in music: A global approach]. Lucca: Libreria musicale italiana.

Clarke, E. F., & Cook, N. (Eds.). (2004). Empirical musicology: Aims, methods, prospects. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dowling, W. J., & Harwood, D. L. (1986). Music cognition. Orlando: Academic Press.

Elschek, O. (1963). Comparative introductive study of the European polyphonic folk song. Hudobnovedne Studies, 6, 79-114.

Elschekova, A. (Ed.). (1981). Stratigraphische probleme der volksmusik in den Karpaten und auf dem Balkan. Bratislava: Veda.

Falck, R., & Rice, Timothy (Eds.) (1982). Cross-cultural perspectives on music. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Hijleh, M. (2012). Towards a global music theory: Practical concepts and methods for the analysis of music across human cultures. Farnham: Ashgate.

Huron, D. (2006). Sweet anticipation: Music and the psychology of expectation. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Krumhansl, C. (1990). Cognitive foundations of musical pitch. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kubik, G. (1999). Africa and the blues. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

Kuper, A., & Marks, J. (2011). Anthropologists unite! Nature, 470(7333), 166-168.

Lerdahl, F., & Jackendoff, R. (1983). A generative theory of tonal music. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Levitin, D. J. (2006). This is your brain on music: The science of a human obsession. New York: Dutton Books.

Merriam, A. P. (1964). The anthropology of music. Evanston: Northwestern Univ Press.

Messner, G. F. (1989). Jaap Kunst Revisited. Multipart singing in three East Florinese villages fifty years later: A preliminary investigation. The World of Music, 2, 3-51.

Mirelman, S. (Ed.). (2011). The historiography of music in global perspective. Piscataway: Gorgias Press.

Müller, L. (2017). What the doctor overheard: Dr. Leopold Müller’s account of music in early Meiji Japan. (E. Markham, N. Terauchi, & R. Wolpert, Eds. & Trans.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell East Asia Series.

Nattiez, J.-J. (1990). Music and discourse: Toward a semiology of music. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Nattiez, J.-J., Bent, M., Dalmonte, R., & Baroni, M. (Eds.) (2003). Musiques, une encyclopédie pour le XXIe siècle [5 vols.]. Paris: Cité de la musique.

Nettl, B. (1956). Music in primitive culture. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Nettl, B. (2005). The study of ethnomusicology: Thirty-one issues and concepts (2nd ed.). Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

Nettl, B., Stone, R., Porter, J., & Rice, Tim. (1998). The Garland encyclopedia of world music (10 vols.). New York: Routledge.

OIlivier, E., & Fürniss, S. (1999). Pygmy and Bushman music: A new comparative study. In K. Biesbrouck, S. Elders, & G. Rossel (Eds.), Central African hunter-gatherers in a multidisciplinary perspective: Challenging elusiveness (pp. 117-132). Leiden: CNWS.

Patel, A. D. (2008). Music, language and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Peretz, I., & Zatorre, R. J. (2003). The cognitive neuroscience of music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rahn, J. (1983). A theory for all music: Problems and solutions in the analysis of non-Western forms. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

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Seeger, C. (1977). Studies in musicology 1935-1975. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Toussaint, G. T. (2002). A mathematical analysis of African, Brazilian, and Cuban clave rhythms. Proceedings of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music and Science, 157-168.

Toussaint, G. T.  (2003). Classification and phylogenetic analysis of African ternary rhythm timelines. Extended version of paper that appeared in: Proceedings of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science, 25-36.

Toussaint, G. T.  (2005). Mathematical features for recognizing preference in Sub-Saharan African traditional rhythm timelines. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Advances in Pattern Recognition, 18-27.

Toussaint, G. T. (2005). The Euclidean algorithm generates traditional musical rhythms. Proceedings of BRIDGES: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science, 47-56.

Toussaint, G. T. (2010). Computational geometric aspects of rhythm, melody, and voice-leading. Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications, 43(1), 2-22.

Toussaint, G. T. (2011). The rhythm that conquered the world: What makes a "good" rhythm good. Percussive Notes, November, 52-59.

Tzanetakis, G., Kapur, A., Schloss, W. A., & Wright, M. (2007). Computational ethnomusicology. Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies, 1(2), 1-24.

Tsitsishvili, N. (2010). A historical examination of the links between Georgian polyphony and Central Asian-Transcaucasian monophony. In R. Tsurtsumia & J. Jordania (Eds.), Georgian part-singing in 17 arguments. New York: Nova Science.



Nettl, B., Stone, R., Porter, J., & Rice, Tim. (1998). The Garland encyclopedia of world music (10 vols.). New York: Routledge. [Includes 9 companion CDs]

Leothaud, G., Lortat-Jacob, B., & Zemp, H. (Eds.) (1996). Voices of the world: An anthology of vocal expression [3 CDs]. CNRS/Musée de l’Homme. Le Chant Du Monde, CMX 3741010-11-12.

Simon, A., & Wegner, U. (Eds.) (2000). Music! The Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv (1900-2000) [4 CDs]. WERGO. SM 1701 2.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. (2011). Smithsonian global sound.