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Steven Bornw and Joseph Jordania (2013)

Universals in the world’s musics

Psychology of Music, 41:229-248.

Many decades of skepticism have prevented the field of musicology from embracing the importance of musical universals. When universals have been discussed, it has generally been in the form of meta-critiques about the concept of universals, rather than in positive proposals about actual universals. We present here a typology of four categories of musical universals and a listing of 70 putative universals in musics cross-culturally. These universals span a wide variety of features, including pitch, rhythm, melodic structure, form, vocal style, expressive devices, instruments, performance contexts, contents, and behaviors.

comparative, cross-cultural, music, classification