In the early 20th century, the investigation of the biological fundamentals was an important matter of comparative musicology with its centers in Berlin and Vienna. Pioneers of this science were Erich von Hornbostel, Curt Sachs, Carl Stumpf, Robert Lach and others. After World War II, the issue of a „Biology of Music“ (Lach) dissappeared from the scientific discourse. The anglo-american cultural anthropology displaced the perspectives of evolutionary biology
In the late 1990s a bioscientific analysis of the phenomenon of music got revitalized. Important publications in this field came from Wallin, Merker and Brown in 2000, Juslin and Sloboda in 2001, Peretz and Zatorre in 2003, Vitouch und Ladinig in 2009 and many more.
Some basic questions in the evolutionary studies of music
* Which cognitive and physical traits have made the Homo sapiens become a Homo musicus?
* What is the relatioship between human music and music-like utterances of other species? Is musicality specific to humans?
* Is music a side effect of language, as Pinker (1997) argues, or a faculty of its own?
* Have musical abilities an adaptive value? What could be the evolutionary advantage(s) of musical behavior?
* What is the relationship between music and language – particularly with regard to structure, communicative function, referentiality?
* Is there a common anthropological denominator of different forms of art – music, poetry, visual art and architectural art