Music is a universal feature of human societies, which suggests that an evolutionary perspective should help us understand our appreciation. The reward (pleasure) system of the brain offers a suitable framework. The question is why we evolved rewards for listening to and producing sounds with particular qualities. The primary evolutionary advantage is probably related to the importance of language; features of sound, such as purity, harmony, complexity, and rhythmicity, are useful for facilitating oral communication. One would expect evolution to associate rewards with these qualities in order to stimulate the development of brain regions involved in interpreting and producing relevant sounds. There are additional adaptive aspects of music, such as relaxation, social coherence, and sexual selection. Music can be regarded as a superstimulus that accentuates and exploits rewards associated with hearing. As such, music is not necessarily adaptive in a biological sense, but serves the purpose of improving quality of life.
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