Even though people think that they are much different among themselves, and among the cultures, a recent study shows that when it comes to our ability to recognize a strong rhythm, all the people across the world and in different societies dance to the same beat. The study which has been carried out by the University of Exeter and Tokyo University of the arts, revealed that songs of people around the world tend to share features such as strong rhythm which enables coordination in social situations and encourage a group bonding.
In fact, Dr Thomas Currie believes that this is the reason why human societies started making music in the first place, since the most common feature is to relate to other people and bring people together, in order to be able to bond in social groups. Dr Thomas Currie goes on to explain that music can be referred to as a special kind of social glue. Therefore, it can be said that our perception of music as being about an individual expression of personality, or a display of talent is not globally what music is. Globally, music is a social phenomenon that is used to unite and coordinate groups.
Furthermore, researchers analyzed 304 recordings of the numerous pieces of music across the world before trying to find a common denominator. Even though the researchers did not found absolute universals, they found numerous statistical universals. This is to say that numerous similar musical features exist across the world and in different worlds regions. Namely, these features include a certain pitch or rhythm, in addition to a certain social context and the interrelationships between the musical features.
For a long time people in the Western cultures believed that the Western scales were universal. Once they have realized that other cultures had different scales, they wrongly concluded from this piece of information that there are no universals in music across the world. However, this research shows that quite the contrary is true, and that many universals are shown across the world in musical pieces. These universals namely include pitch and rhythm, as well as the social context in which a musical piece is used.
Even though on the surface there might be a great diversity, music across the world is made from the same building blocks, namely referring to pitch and rhythm, and with similar functions: to bring people together. That is to prove that music is not a universal language, but rather the means of connecting with other people without having to use a language. Even babies are able to drum to beat and sing syllables, even before they start to speak.