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Evolutionism in Music History: toward Reconciliation


  • Francisco Castillo

    (Universidad Distrital FJdC)


The first part of this paper identifies some of the reasons why evolutionism has been avoided in historical musicology in the Latin American context, including political ideologies, postcolonial studies, and philosophical positions. Moreover, nature has been used many times as an argument to validate music theory and musical hierarchies, causing the links between biology and musicology to be full of faults made by past thinkers. The second part presents some arguments derived from analysis, critically reviewing the objections to musical evolutionism and showing how these have misunderstood the basic principle of natural selection. The paper also discusses the possible claim of evolutionary biology as a useful tool in order to understand music history, while contributing to current discussions in music historiography.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Castillo, 2019. "Evolutionism in Music History: toward Reconciliation," Proceedings of Arts & Humanities Conferences 9310902, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:sek:iahpro:9310902

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    More about this item


    Music History; Evolutionism; Historical musicology;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Y90 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Other - - - Other

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