The Evolution of Jazz

Jazz Evolution


Jazz survived and prospered because folk loved it as it stirred primordial responses in minds and bodies.

Here's the question ...

how did a young black musician from the pits inveigle white 'uber alles' to change their tunes ?  

Around 1900 in New Orleans the musical interpretations of jazz bands produced amazing physical & perceptive effects on folk which bounced the music into prominence -

the blues; hauntingly different - melodies & scales with compelling complex rhythms & infectious syncopations with

dirty timbres; fun - irreverence & interactive social conversations from within a tradition ... 'I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll'  

improvisation; spontaneous - creative unwritten collective self expression, which posed an intriguing challenge for players and listeners alike as surprisingly coherent musical trajectories emerged from a spontaneous, apparently chaotic environment

swing; rhythmic lilt - buoyant, detached, floating, melodic & rhythmic trajectories, away from the 'ground beat', resulting in a lilt, which was difficult to describe but unmistakable when heard and felt; it was the manifestation of the tension & release created by the interaction of juxtaposed rhythmic lines

Jazz ensembles evolved, for sure, there was no trace of 'intelligent design' only the unfolding of an evolutionary process -

deep universal neural circuits in the brain enticed individuals to sing, play music, and dance ... folk experimented in an intriguing attempt to understand and make sense of sounds  

surprise dopamine kicks 'emerged' from complex interacting detail as some collective sound sequences produce a rewarding excitement & resolution which was more than the sum of the individual parts

the spontaneous environment of jazz was not a 'free for all' it was rooted in a rigorous social discipline, nevertheless something new & rewarding emerged every night from risky innovations, otherwise folk would stop playing and go home & grow tomatoes

complex rhythms, and harmonies & pitches, were undoubtedly the 'cause' of the pleasure of jazz but any top down analysis destroyed the effect as the beauty of the music was found in the emerging sound of the whole band and not in the technical design of the music which was difficult to pin down and not very meaningful 

jazz ensembles built excitement from the bottom up by a process of trial & error, retaining what worked for one and rejecting what didn't work for another ... swing was like an emergent tapestry, was it really improvised?

but whatever the detailed 'cause', some sounds were loved and survived, others were no good and discarded ... freedom was in the air, jazz was freedom, and the sounds of jazz were in the air in New Orleans in 1900 ... jazz was music for getting with it ...

Perhaps one way to start to understand the evolution of jazz is to take a broad overview of the last 150 years and trace the history of the music and its influences ... but beware interpretations of the past change as our knowledge of the present progresses ... remember it was impossible to identify Mitochondrial Eve during her lifetime, she only emerged from the mists much later and only worshiped as an icon when, in the fullness of time, others failed to fulfill her promise ...

American popular music ebbed & flowed easily through the sensitive ears of folk and some liked what they heard and played it again. But the sounds couldn't be placed neatly into compartments, there were no boundaries, sounds went with folk, sounds could travel round corners, travel through time on records, across radio airwaves, through talkies & telly and through armies of performers who did their best. And there were a handful of giants of genius who created tsunamis ...

American popular music was a whole shebang & caboodle, a nested set of sets, which could be perceived as an amazing visual picture of soups of bubbling hierarchies of interconnected, interactive complexity ... 'as if' each musical sound structure, at each level was competing for survival, 'as if' some musical structures grew as entropy was harvested more & more effectively ... and the less effective structures died out ... this was evolution, everybody influenced everybody else because everybody heard the sounds ... think about it ... nobody designed Louis Armstrong's opening cadenza of 'West End Blues' ... Louis Armstrong heard it in his head ...

Origins of MusicBut why music? Making 'sense' of sounds was a necessity for survival, responding to music not only helped individual the well being, but also the social cohesiveness.

Why religion? Making 'sense' of 'All Things Bright & Beautiful' was explored endlessly as a universal survival aid ... in comparison music was just as universal but strangely neglected as a 'functionless by product of evolution' ...

Throughout Jazz was very different from serious, Classical Music. In Classical Music the giants of creative genius wrote down what they heard in their heads as instructions for others to play and for others to listen to ... written out 'dots' organised performance and 'dotters' became highly accomplished in their art ... hours of practice were required to master the complexity ... 'dottin'' was no easy route to utopia ...  

classical_musicJazz was not better or worse than Classical Music, it was just very different and, as Humph opined, 'never the twain shall meet' ... jazzers thought most Classical Music was 'serious music' and didn't 'swing for dancing fun', and often folk didn't dance to such music ... there were no 'compelling rhythms', instead folk enjoyed listening to the music.

Don't get it all wrong, 'serious' and 'fun' were just labels some folk applied to some music   

But, of course, all musical performancers had to learn to play their instruments 'correctly', of course, everybody had to learn how their music 'worked', of course, everybody had to soak up the sounds. The classical musicians checked out the sounds of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and all the great composers, whatever their specialisation they had to enter into the minds of the great composers and after familiarisation they then created their own interpretations.

Wynton Marsalis reminded every jazzman, every musicianer, that it wasn't easy, it was not free of charge, dues had to be paid. Students had to check out the sounds of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker ... but then the great jazzmen forgot about it all, cleared their minds, and played The Blues ... and checked out there own sounds and listened. The Blues were far deeper than the notes ... the great classical musicians didn't play the Blues they played Bach, Beethoven, Mozart ... 

But after all, all the music that was ever played came from the same deep place ... all great music was internalised. The origin of music was in an ancient evolutionary past ... to understand the depth of music read the spiel from The Great British School of Jazz -

'The performer or composer uses the devices of music to build up tension and excitement as patterns are established or anticipated and expectations aroused but a climax is delayed or disguised in a series of unanticipated surprises and intriguing diversions. All music plays on our natural brain sense, the art lies in tantalising the listener with heightened expectation before a final revelation'.

Hear this! Music can be enjoyed by everyone but playing music was always difficult ... maybe not difficult ... intimately familiar was a better description. Great classical music and great jazz have to be internalised, this was familiarisation rather than difficulty. Learning was a familiarisation not a difficulty ... anyone could do it ... ?

Classical Music & Jazz Swing evolved down different branches of the same evolutionary tree, the divergence of two species -

Jazz was American with a groove & swinging sounds to keep things together as complex rhythms to built statements & repetitions, variations & embellishments, developments & contrasts and satisfying resolutions.
Learning to hear what others are playing.

Classical was European with a conductor & written scores to keep things together as complex harmonies to built statements & repetitions, variations & embellishments, developments & contrasts and satisfying resolutions.
Learning to read what others were hearing.

Notation evolved in Europe over a thousand years. But jazz trashed it. Notation indicated what should be played but said little about how it should be played. Nobody could write down how to play after midnight music in Funky Butt Hall around 1900 ... this was a new language. azz was a new happening under the sun. Jazz was not serious or popular jazz was fun. 

Musical criticism of Jazz came from both ends of the political spectrum -

the Right criticised American pop as moral degeneracy ascribed to sexual & racial influences.

the Left criticised American pop as industrial manipulation of taste & fashion for profit.

Evolutionary economists rejected both these positions as a totally incomprehensible interpretation of history & evolution.

Mouldy Fig or BebopperLife was much more than the struggle for survival, life and music were 'as if' a struggle for betterment through experiment & learning ... for sure this music business was an evolutionary system of sounds where new generations of youngsters were always innovative & creative as older generations tried to hang on to the sounds of past creative genius. There was an inevitable conflict of sensibilities not only between young and old but also in the case of North American jazz between African and European culture.

The evolutionary process continued within the jazz sub cultures as the youngsters rebelled and discovered new sounds to enjoy ... as 'mouldy figs' confronted 'beboppers' and it nearly came to blows! Evolutionary economists celebrated diversity! Richard Middleton pointed out the pervasive nature of evolution, not only music & culture but also production & markets  -

'Anglo American industry traced a cyclical pattern of continual conflict between conservative major companies and innovative grassroots independents. Monopolies need the independent small producers for economic reasons, to maintain the flow of new products and communicate with an active market ... a constantly mutating organism. A model which pits bourgeois individualism against the reified social totality of monolithic appearance. Many overestimate the homogeneity of culture under advanced capitalism'.
David Buss, University of Texas, 'There can be no autonomous agent with unitary interests called 'society' that exerts causal influence. This is a logical impossibility' ... or as someone else said, 'there is no such thing as society' ...

CharlestonJazz, a different species? ... some unsatisfactory generalizations.

jazz was a participative folk music of North America, a social music for dancing, a popular music but not vulgar ... 'commercial' because it was 'popular' not 'popular' because it was 'commercial' ... there was much to be said about the fascinations of the evolution of Jazz Dance

jazz came from black musicians adapting African rhythms to European harmonies, songs and instruments involving rhythmic & melodic innovations within a simple structure of functional harmony

a stream of rural 'blues' songs from the Plantations & Church, and the popular Ragtime banjo and piano music from Minstrelsy, fused within Black & Creole Hot Dance and Parade Bands in New Orleans to produce Jazz.

new rhythms were explored, new instruments styles were played and different individual roles were integrated within the band with a general irreverence, individuality and a 'dirty' 'blue' timbre

jazz bands developed the ability to sustain a blue, hot, swinging, spontaneous, improvised, upbeat, exciting atmosphere in dance halls, parades, clubs and bars, the best results were spectacular and in great demand

youngsters learned and found jobs by acquiring the skills through aural imitation but there was a culture of continual innovation as experiments continued

 'swing' was not a 'thing' that could be defined or instructed but an emergent property of cooperation at lower levels ... a living tapestry of folk doing their best ... and sometimes it worked ... like 'society' if you analysed it was full of internal contradictions

although the jazz rhythms were irresistible white moral indignation was almost perpetual as jazz and jazz dance evolved. The Afro American movements were out of kilter with Anglo American ideas of proper body deportment and the kids enjoyed too much body contact during dancing for prim comfort. Were the out of kilter cultural differences significant enough to produce the isolation necessary for speciation?

'raw' black innovations were often 'sweetened' by white musicians for commercial audiences, but this was a love affair not exploitation, the whites loved the new music especially the youngsters -

black cultural bohemianism v. white cultural capitalist commercialism

Black face minstrelsy - white performers 'covered' the black innovations of the plantation

Kerry Mills 'At a Georgia Camp Meeting' - Scott Joplin 'Maple Leaf Rag'

Vernon & Irene Castle - James Reese Europe

ODJB - Freddie Keppard

Country music - the Blues

Paul Whiteman & Bix and Bing - Louis Armstrong

Tin Pan Alley commercialism - exciting black traditions

Benny Goodman & Swing - Fletcher Henderson

Lu Watters - King Oliver

Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan - Bebop

Elvis & Rock 'n' Roll - R&B

British Trad - the New Orleans fusion

The Beatles & Rock - Chuck Berry

geniuses included: Louis Armstrong (trumpet & vocals), Jelly Roll Morton (piano & orchestra), Sidney Bechet (clarinet & soprano sax), Duke Ellington et al (leader & composer), Count Basie et al (leader of Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young), Fletcher Henderson et al (orchestrated Louis), Charlie Parker et al (saxophone), Miles Davis et al (trumpet) ...

Such diversity, yes, but there was just one tree, from start to finish Jazz was improvised, swinging, Blues!

Jazz GumboJazz Ken Burns, an example. Understand The Civil War, Baseball & Jazz and understand America.

The Ken Burns film 'Jazz' was one of many interpretations of the evolution of jazz - emerging from the gumbo of American freedom and Democracy ... Jazz encouraged individual innovation in the context of a co-operative group ... 

1. New Orleans - Gumbo (the musical mix) - The Roux (the Blues) - The Big Noise (Buddy Bolden) - The Soul of the Negro (Ragtime) - The Creators of Jazz (Keppard, ODJB)

2. Chicago and New York - The Gift (Louis in New Orleans) - Hellfighters (Jim Rees Europe) - Blessed (young Duke) - Chicago (King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band) - New York (Stride, Duke and the Harlem Renaissance) - Austin High School Gang (Chicago) - To Make the Angels Weep (Louis with Fletcher)

3. The Jazz Age 1925 - Our Language (The Hot 5s) - Sing Like the Devil (Bessie) - Bix (Tram and Goldkette ) - The Most Dog (Sidney Bechet and young Benny) - The Mother of Us All (Ethel Waters and the Red Hot Peppers) - Race Man (Cotton Club and young Artie) - Wake Up Bix (Paul Whiteman) - Modern Time (Louis' swing)

4. The Depression 1929/35 - The True Welcome (The Savoy Ballroom) - Mr Armstrong (Louis survives on Broadway) - Elegance (Duke survives in Hollywood) - An American Invention (The Roseland Ballroom) - Hard Times (John Hammond) - Tremendous Pride (Duke orchestrates, Louis sings) - A Great Medicine (Let's Dance and The Palamar)

5. Big Band Swing - Pure Pleasure (Benny Goodman) - Dreaming (Duke dreams, Louis re-launches, & The Big Bands swing) - The Business Part (Artie Shaw) - The Road (nationwide pops) - Like Taking a Drug (teenage bobby sox craze) - Men Working Together (Teddy, Lionel and Billie) - Do You Remember (Chick v. Benny)

6. Kansas City Swing - The Velocity of Circulation (saxophones) - Kansas City (magnetic blues riffs) - The Count (rhythm section swing) - Memories of You (Lucille and Decca) - Musical Kinship (Lester and Billie) - A Whore in Church (Carnegie Hall) - The Ray (Benny disapproves) - Strange Fruit (Billie) - A Reason for Living (rhythmic art from Basie and Ellington)

7. Bebop - Dedicated to Chaos (Mintons) - Soldiers of Music (Glen Miller) - Finding Each Other (Billy Strayhorn, Dizzy and Bird) - Kill Jim Crow (freedom at home) - The Street (52nd Street) - We Need to be Free (Duke supreme) - These Things Can't Happen (freedom in Europe) & Louis Jordan

8. Bird - Risk (Parker flies) - Trying to Play Clean (the Pied Piper) - This is My Home (the drugs) - Sustained Intensity (the birth of the cool) - Apostle of Hipness (white misunderstanding) - Monk (logical eccentric) - Cool (West Coast) - The Life Unlived (Bird dies)

9. Miles - The Adventure (Soul to Rock) - The Titan (Sony Rollins and Newport '56) - Eavesdropping (Miles and tenderness) - Ooftah (whites loved him blacks forgot him but Louis spoke out) - The Messengers (Art Blakey) - Inside/Outside (Miles Ahead, Kind of Blue) - Existence Music (Trane) - The Adventure (Free Ornette) & Ray Charles

10. Back to fun and dance - A Masterpiece by Midnight (Rock is easier & the gap grows) - Freedom Now (apocalyptic protest music digging deeper) - Imaginary Concerts (Cecil Taylor but no audience) - Not to be Understood (Duke's sustained quality) - Shooting Comets (John Coltrane artistic success) - Tennis without a Net (Miles goes free form and then electric) - Good Evening Everybody (Ambassador Satch) - Homecoming (we stand on their shoulders and are hooked for life)

Sound Bites.

Louis Armstrong -

'Of course it's folk music, I ain't ever heard a horse sing, there's only two types of music, good and bad.'

Sidney Bechet, Treat It Gentle -

'After emancipation ... all those people who had been slaves, they needed the music more than ever now ... that music, it wasn't spirituals, or blues, or ragtime but everything all at once ... all the way to the place where it could be its own ... it was like they were trying to find out in this music what they were supposed to do with this freedom ... they were playing the music and listening to it ... waiting for it to express what they needed to learn ... straight out to life and to what a man does with his life when it finally is his ...'

Duke Ellington on Jazz -

'Jazz is a good barometer of freedom. America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which jazz evolved. The music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of freedom yet produced'  ...

Wynton Marsalis (1961-), at 8 years old, joined The Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band run by the legendary banjo player Danny Barker (1909-94), then Art Blakey (1919-90) and the Jazz Messengers in 1980 and became founder & Musical Director of Jazz at The Lincoln Center in 1987.

Wynton Marsalis on jazz -

'There's no right or wrong ... just some choices that prove better than others' ... 'Jazz music is America, a cooperative group spontaneously interacts and negotiates with one another as they play & listen and produce a musical conversation, tellin' a story. Africa meets Europe, black meets white in a new world full of enormous risk but rooted in the blues. Folk vote with their feet and join a club of their choice with its own rules, a rich tradition but brand new every night. Above all Jazz swings' ... 'Our Jazz is all about the Blues, swing and collective improvisation. It is very difficult. Louis didn't just play a melody line, he played on harmonies, like a guitar or piano. These harmonies are progressing, the chords are going by and they're not going to stop for anyone. You've got to learn to feel them and the way they progress. It takes a lot of time. When you hear an idea you've got to respond in the context of the harmony and the beat. The progression is the internal motion, moving with the beat. The progression has a rhythm as well. Louis plays percussively on top of the beat of moving harmonies ... and its always coming. It all sounds so easy and relaxed but it's not. You don't have time to do what you want, you have to respond in context, with a lilt on the rhythm & harmony. Louis finds these blues, rests, spaces and long trajectories which enhance the swing ... its much easier to fall back on short bits on the beat so you don't lose it. But Louis makes intelligent, effective improvisation choices in the context of form and rhythm. That context is 4 bar blue phrases, on C, F & G7 harmonies, with a 3/4 over 4/4 rhythm ... listen!'

The Jazz TraditionA Map of the Jazz Tradition.

Jazz emerged from a complex of nested sets of sets of genres and sub genres which were all interconnected & all interacted as a whole shebang & caboodle of popular music.

Could such complexity be mapped, perhaps, by trying to formulate a classified system of jazz genres and sub genres identified by some characteristic of rhythm, melody, harmony or structure ... played by typical regular guys whose music has stood the test of time, perhaps the leader of other jazzers (virtuosos), with a popular following of punters (aficionados)?

Our map suggests seven streams of Jazz influences which fed the New Orleans Fusion around 1900 -

1. Folk Blues

2. Plantation Songs

3. Church Songs

4. Minstrelsy

5. Hot Bands

6. Ragtime

7. Vaudeville

Or perhaps the technology could be followed from the plantation stoops to the dances, bandstands & street parades, to the sheet music for parlour pianos, to the Victrolas & 3 minute records, to steam radios & movies, to LPs, to cassette tapes, to CDs, electronics and MP3s?

Or perhaps the instruments; banjo, guitar, piano, cornet, saxophone ... or the decades of the 1840s & Dixie, the 1850s & Stephen Foster, the 1860s & war songs, the 1870s & parlour songs, the 1880s & Coon Songs, the 1890s & Souza, the 19 noughties & ragtime, the 19 teens & ODJB, the 1920s & Louis, the 1930s & swing, the 1940s & bebop, the 1950s & Elvis, the 1960s & The Beatles, the 1970s & rock ...

With hindsight the genres certainly seemed to have existed; Blues, Minstrelsy, Ragtime, Jazz, R&B, Swing, Bebop, Rock 'n' Roll, Rock ... what was going on?

The rhythms were always impossible to pin down ... Jazz was all about discovering a groove ... this was evolution not design ... and evolution seemed to result in one Afro American species; Jazz was improvised, swinging, Blues!

All you have to do is listen!

Convergent and Divergent EvolutionMemetic Speciation.

Richard Dawkins in 1976 suggested that the copy, vary, select process of evolution applied to anything that replicated with imperfect copies; anything that was inherited with modification must be subject of natural selection. Maybe memes were units of culture ? Maybe there were musical memes?

Memetic speciation had its Darwin in 1976 but not yet its Mendel nor its Crick & Watson?

On the 30th anniversary of the Selfish Gene in 2006 Richard Dawkins -

'Memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorical but technically. A very interesting paper by Juan Delius, a distinguished brain scientist, is bold enough to ram home the point by actually publishing a detailed picture of what the neuronal hardware of a meme might look like.'

Juan Delius of the University of Kanstanz, Germany 1991 -

'Cultural evolution is the inevitable spin off from the imperfect replicative properties of memes.
The multitude of species and sub species populating the earth is the most striking product of genetic evolution. Speciation is the emergence of assemblies of mutually adjusted genes (genomes) adapted to survive and reproduce in different ecological niches. Cultures and sub-cultures can be similarly understood as co adapted assemblies of memes which thrive in different socio ecological niches. At least temporary isolation between pools of genes facilitates biological speciation. Restriction of the meme flow for whatever reason (geographic separation) between host populations, is an important factor in cultural speciation. Media and mobility are the antithesis of cultural speciation, as they facilitate the transport of memes between previously isolated cultures.'

Studies of genetics, studies of memetics and studies of culture raised the question; does memetic speciation lead to different musical genres?

Divergent evolution - related species became more and more dissimilar, usually as they adapt to different environments. But can speciation also occur from cultural isolation?

Convergent evolution - unrelated species become more and more similar in appearance as they adapt to the same environment.

Culture - a set of learned responses to an emerged CAS of personal, natural & symbolic interactions.

Convergent cultural evolution - different cultures exposed to similar environment pressures resulted in similar traits, belief systems & living strategies.

Divergent cultural evolution - different groups within the same culture became isolated and experienced different environmental pressures, resulted in different cultures.

Coevolution - species which had a symbiotic relationship in the same environment, and weren't converging or diverging, but were evolving to match the adaptations of other species.

African Rhythm and European Harmony produced a distinct hybrid Jazz which replicated and evolved ... ? 

Were the out of kilter cultural differences between African Rhythm and European Harmony significant enough to produce the isolation necessary for speciation? Or did the twin cultures coevolve, influencing each other but remained distinct?

SpeciationNew musical genres had their origins in musical diversity, and there was massive diversity in New Orleans at the end of the 19th century when Jazz was born ... New Orleans was a melting pot; a musical 'gumbo'. Music in America was heard and imitated everywhere ... there was no isolation necessary for speciation ... or was there?

 Neo Darwinian speciation theory was essential to grasp if the more difficult evolutionary processes of music were to be understood and linked to the better understood molecular processes of allele frequency adaptive changes due to natural selection. Darwin explained why species adapted to their environments by natural selection ... bootstrapping rather than speciation?

Memetic speciation required a source of diversity, imitative replication and natural selection ... ALL THREE were necessary for adaptation, and if copying, variation and selection existed the appearance of design MUST result.

In New Orleans music, there was, for sure, diversity, imitation and selection ... all present in abundance.

The interesting question was whether the resulting process designs, the musical genres, were adaptive species?

Did meme mutations, or idea sex, within the musical environment of the New Orleans population trigger a new distinct viable replicator; Jazz?

Was Jazz the new replicator which adapted to the local environment?

All this hurts the brain!
For sure there was one common ancestor for everyone, if you go far enough back. And everyone has many ancestors. But lineages don't march through time side by side ... they have sex; genetic sex ... and idea sex?

Speciation by genetic divergence through reproductive isolation involved allopatric speciation (isolation by physical geography) which was easy, or sympatric speciation (isolation within the same location) by other environmental factors food, language ... music ... why so difficult?

Was language sufficient for communicative separation and speciation?

What happened to reproductive isolation? Did the Jews try for reproductive isolation? Did the beboppers?

But it did look like interactive Jazz was distinct, new and thriving (appealing) in the dives of New Orleans.

Was jazz an ideology, or a language, or a religion; a compatible set of musical ideas?

Was there a barrier to classical music in the dives because it was not dance music?

Idea sex; were jazz thinkers less likely to breed classical thinkers?

Can it be concluded that the two species will continue to diverge?

There seems to be no barrier in global music over which ideas cannot flow.

Did speciation occur when musical cultures were isolated by slavery?

Were mobility and music the antithesis of cultural speciation?

Or did emancipation free slaves to find partners with similar ideas for idea sex?

Did the 10,000 hours required to accomplish creative expertise act as an isolation barrier?

Does the brain contain a physical barrier where incompatible memes find impossible to thrive in when alternatives hae established neural residence?

Did a certain homogeneity develop in pop music? Rap music infested every society, globally but Sinatra memes were incompatible. And classical music had a disdain for both. Innovation at the periphery created a new species which lived happily in its 'isolated' niche?

Does a music genre construct a niche in the brain?

Were Economic Anthropology and Musical Anthropology the same thing?

All this hurts the brain!

There were at least two approaches to adaptive speciation theory.

1. Ecological models of speciation focus on the evolution of ecological differentiation through divergent natural selection. These models could explain the stable coexistence of the resulting daughter species in the face of interspecific competition, but they were often vague about the evolution of reproductive isolation.

2. Sexual selection models of speciation focused on the diversification of mating strategies through divergent sexual selection. These models could explain the evolution of reproductive isolation, but they were typically vague on questions like ecological coexistence. Memetic sex was not Lamarkian, to change a culture within an acquired lifetime required a too big rewiring job.

Niche Construction and the Baldwin Effect.

But the brain offered an ecology of its own, populated by memes, and the brain feeds back and influences the survival chances of the memes. Separating sex from the environment didn't make sense. In the same way that niche construction exposed the error of trying to separate nature from nurture. Integrated models were needed, incorporating both ecological interactions and sexual selection. Here disruptive selection on both ecological and mating strategies was necessary, but not sufficient, for speciation to occur. Speciation required mating that reflected ecological characteristics. The interaction of natural and sexual selection was also pivotal in a model where sexual selection facilitates ecological speciation even in the absence of diverging female preferences.

In view of these results, it is counterproductive to consider ecological and sexual selection models as contrasting and incompatible views on speciation, one being dominant over the other. Instead, an integrative perspective is needed to achieve a thorough and coherent understanding of adaptive speciation.

 But like tended to mate with like, we surround ourselves with folk we like and we like folk with similar memes.

Cooperative Synergies of Specialisation & Scale.

Memetic symbiosis leads to synergistic or parasitic arms races! But parasitic ideas have an inbuilt replication problems in that they don't benefit brains as, by definition there are no synergies., they reduce synaptic space.

In 1976 Richard Dawkins, ‘genes do cost / benefit analysis’ ... and, perhaps, ‘memes do cost / benefit analysis’?

Jazz memes found it very EXPENSIVE to colonise brains which were infested with Classical Music memes. This was because memes work in cooperative teams and thus a big rewiring job was required. Research in 2003 indicated gray matter volume in motor, auditory and visual spatial brain regions was larger in musicians than non musicians.

Polarisation within society was common within any ideology!

Memes compete for synaptic space so groovy music spreads and helps mating? Members of clubs help other members survive. Memes protect their territory by hanging on to synaptic space. You can hear but you don't listen! Getting into another's mind is not easy. 8 is like a snake. Flat 7th mean dissonance to some but the Blues to others, there is no space for the memes of both? If the Blues was a way of life it gets under your skin ... and competes with Mozart in the same way mouldy figs were in competition with boppers? Just as there were two ways of understanding the world creation or evolution, they were mutually exclusive, to the point of incomprehension. And atheist will tend to marry atheists not creationists. There is a massive investment in your own particular set of memes occupying synaptic space it becomes the difference between life and death unresolvable by communication but resolvable by science?

'Brain Structures Differ between Musicians and Non-Musicians' by Christian Gaser, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 2003.

Is it human thought, design and ideas OR diversity and natural selection?

There was no barrier in our global society over which ideas cannot flow. Barriers of culture, language and distance effectively formerly isolated different pools of ideas ... but now diversity decreases as so many variations are incapable of being sustained would there be any creativity?

But ideas are now created within the new paradigm as complexity increases diversity at the periphery increases, it is still a branching tree.

Speciation ... ?

1980s - in 1981 the Sonny 'Walkman' becomes popular and in 1983 the CD were introduced. Both helped to change the public attitude to listening to music and sparked a huge nostalgia for the old sounds and many different types of music, including jazz.

1990s brought a new form of jazz called 'Acid' jazz. However, it was a short passing fad. 

There became a real problem as sub genres proliferated in a wealth of fragmentation and fusion.

Only time would distinguish the sub genres with the lasting appeal of successful niche construction. As in biological speciation ...


Established academic fields of music study include - Musicology & theory, Anthropology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurology, Neuro-anatomy, Computer Science, Psychology, Acoustics, Therapy ...

'Studying Popular Music' by Richard Middleton, Open University, 1995.

'Brain Structures Differ between Musicians and Non-Musicians' by Christian Gaser, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, 2003.

'The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body' by Steven Mithen, 2007.

'Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life' by Wynton Marsalis & Geoffrey C Ward, 2008.

... and Louis Armstrong, the greatest philosopher of all who understood it all and sang 'Hello Brother' ...

a man wants to work for his pay
a man wants a place in the sun
a man wants a gal proud to say
that she'll become his lovin' wife
he wants a chance to give his kids a better life
well hello, hello, hello brother
you can travel all around the world and back
you can fly or sail or ride a railroad track
but no matter where you go you're gonna find
that people have the same things on their minds

Just sayin' ...


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