The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

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Excerpt: ...405 "It appeared to me that in ascending and descending the scale, the intervals were always exactly half-tones; and I am sure that the highest note was the exact octave to the lowest. The quality of the notes is very musical; and I do not doubt that a good violinist would be able to give a correct idea of the gibbon's composition, excepting as regards its loudness." Mr. Waterhouse then gives the notes. Professor Owen, who is likewise a musician, confirms the foregoing statement, and remarks that this gibbon "alone of brute mammals may be said to sing." It appears to be much excited after its performance. Unfortunately its habits have never been closely observed in a state of nature; but from the analogy of almost all other animals, it is highly probable that it utters its musical notes especially during the season of courtship. 333 The perception, if not the enjoyment, of musical cadences and of rhythm is probably common to all animals, and no doubt depends on the common physiological nature of their nervous systems. Even Crustaceans, which are not capable of producing any voluntary sound, possess certain auditory hairs, which have been seen to vibrate when the proper musical notes are struck. 406 It is well known that some dogs howl when hearing particular tones. Seals apparently appreciate music, and their fondness for it "was well known to the ancients, and is often taken advantage of by the hunters at the present day." 407 With all those animals, namely insects, amphibians, and birds, the males of which during the season of courtship incessantly produce musical notes or mere rhythmical sounds, we must believe that the females are able to appreciate them, and are thus excited or charmed; otherwise the incessant efforts of the males and the complex structures often possessed exclusively by them would be useless. With man song is generally admitted to be the basis or origin of instrumental music. As...show more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 188.98 x 246.13 x 9.65mm | 326.58g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236701704
  • 9781236701701

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3,111 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
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3 19% (606)
2 5% (157)
1 2% (75)
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