Pictured above is the Crookston (MN) High School Orchestra, in about 1917. My great-grandfather, Director G. Oliver Riggs, is seated in the center of the photo. My grandfather Ronald holds a clarinet and is in the second row, third from the right. My great-uncle Percy is in the front row, to the right of the drum.
According to the article, some scientists now believe that music may have been an evolutionary adaptation, and not a cultural invention. This genetic predisposition to music may have arisen as mothers used singing to more successfully calm their babies (and avoid attracting predators), or as being musical made people more attractive to the opposite sex (were there stone age band groupies, I wonder?).
The article cited three interesting facts in support of the idea of music as an evolutionary adaptation:
• The oldest known musical instrument, a carved bone flute found in a cave in Slovenia, dates back 40,000 years, when humans coexisted with Neanderthals
• Every culture incorporates music as an essential part of its rituals
• The brain's right temporal lobe is activated when people hear music
Other experts aren't buying it. The article quotes Steven Pinker, psychology professor at Harvard and author of How the Mind Works, as saying that "music is auditory cheesecake." He believes that humans invented it because it makes them feel good, not because it helps with survival or procreation of the species.
Maybe someday scientists will identify a music gene, and we'll know conclusively. In the meantime, I'm putting my money on the biology.
And now, it's back to the desk. If there is a gene for organization, I clearly didn't inherit that one.