Singing to Babies

You never know your capacity to compose bad music on the spot until you have a baby. We find ourselves singing to him daily. While a couple of not-exactly-cole-porter ditties have emerged (My wife’s B-B-B-Byron competing with my B-Y-R-O-N in the extremely local grammies for “most repetitive single”). I theorized on Twitter (where all important theorizations take place these days) that perhaps parents (especially mothers) singing to infants was the origin of music. I have since learned that that’s a serious anthropological theory with, one imagines, evidence and stuff. It’s hard to imagine a more natural emergence of rhythm and melody than some cavewoman soothing her fussy cavebaby. One imagines it was even more difficult back then, what with the rock pacifiers and the wooly mammoth pelt onesies that were so hot and scratchy. Ergo: music.

Maybe stories started the same way, but I suspect they had more to do with caveman trying to impress cavewomen with tales of their hunting exploits. It must have worked — the evidence is the cave babies. This proves beyond a doubt that stories came before music.

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