In a new review in MAKE Literary Magazine, Matthew Franke discusses Gary Tomlinson’s A Million Years of Music: The Emergence of Human Modernity. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below.
“A Million Years of Music is a crucial work which provides a fresh perspective on an old problem. It is, in many ways, the ultimate rebuttal of Steven Pinker’s glib dismissal of music as a disposable pleasure stimulus (Tomlinson is understandably acerbic when discussing Pinker). Written with passion and great erudition, it demonstrates music’s role as an essential part of human identity, rivaling speech. Readers interested in the origins of music, the role of culture in prehistoric societies, and evolutionary theory should be able to appreciate the complexity of Tomlinson’s interdisciplinary approach. Admirers of this book and enthusiasts of the history of music and ideas can celebrate the fact that Tomlinson is working on a sequel, Culture and the Course of Human Evolution. Until that volume’s publication, this book stands alone as a rare musicological examination of music’s origins. For that reason alone, it is worth slow and careful scrutiny.”