The descent of music

The descent of music

With natural selection, grating noise becomes soothing sound

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 16:25 PM June 15, 2012

Musicians, take note: An artistic mind isn’t required to create appealing music. Starting with short sound sequences more grating than Muzak, scientists created pleasing tunes simply by letting them evolve through a Pandora-like process of voting thumbs up or thumbs down on each sequence.

Inspired in part by long-running experiments probing the evolution of bacteria, computational biologist Bob MacCallum and colleagues decided to see if pleasant music could evolve from a cacophonous mess w...

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