In all cultures, certain rhythmic sounds give listners intense pleasure and heartfelt emotions. What benefit could there be to diverting time and energy to the making of plinking noises, or to feeling sad when no one has died? Many suggestions have been made - music bonds the social group, coordinates action, enhances ritual, releases tension - but they just pass the enigma along rather than explaining it. Why do rhythmic sounds bound up the group, dissipate tension and so on? As far as biological cause and effect are concerned, music is useless. It shows no sign of design for attaining a goal such as long life, grandchildren, or accurate perception and prediction of the world. Compared with language, vision, social reasoning and physical know-how, music could vanish from our species and the rest of our lifestyle would be virtually unchanged. Music appears to be a pure pleasure technology, a cocktail of recreational drugs that we ingest through the ear to stimulate a mass of pleasure circuits at once. (How the Mind Works, pagina 528)
When the frequencies of the fundamental frequency element (Fo) in the vocalizations were recorded from more than 50 individuals varying in age from 6 months to 18 years, small but significant differences were consistently noted between the groups of animals older than 1 year. Such differences were not found in younger individuals, suggesting that they arise from learning.
Sugiura [un coleg al lui Matasaka] reported in free-ranging Japanese macaques that a coo sound with a rising pitch contour is likely to be responded to by another coo with a rising contour, and vice versa. This sort of vocal interaction was shown to occur between individuals affiliated although unrelated to one another, hence functioning to maintain and even strengthen the relationship between them.