Music: how it moves us, why it matters

Humans have been making music for at least 40.000 years, and probably much longer. Since we were living in caves we’ve had something as wondrously elusive as sounds which make us move.

Sounds, also, which touch us emotionally. Which may give us the shivers, transform our mood, and give comfort and company.

Sounds which help us us find our place: as individuals in the human world, as humans in the universe.

Sounds which stimulate our imagination, transport us to different landscapes, and give the past a living presence.

Where does this power of music come from?

Since the stone age little has changed in our biology. But culture has advanced enormously. With stone age brains we drive our cars, watch television, and listen to Beethoven, hiphop or Xenakis.

How has music changed through time? And what do we miss when listening to Beethjoven with modern ears? And why do we listen?

There are no easy answers to those questions. Put they may lead us toward fascinating insights into how humans differ from other animals, what humans and cultures have in common, how they differ, and why music is important to the quality of our lives.