My questions are: why do people like music? How and why did music-appreciation evolve? Are there other animals who "make" and "appreciate" (their own version or even human) music?

(I realize that this question might be outside of the scope of the forum, but it appears to me that it is in principle the same as asking why people like sweet things. There must be some explanation as to why our brains are so receptive to music.)

Thank you very much!

Enjoying music is unlikely to have "evolved" since there would be no pressure for that trait to survive in terms of survival or reproduction. Hedonism and pleasure are emotive terms but many animals from rodents upwards will do things to get a reward and in some cases definitely seems to “enjoy” an activity. Similarly, many birds when they sing, activate a whole range of neurons and nucleii in their brains which in turn triggers a diverse range of activities including reproduction. Ir would therefore not seem unreasonable to conclude that birds "enjoy" singing. Humans exhibit a more extreme form of that but that does not mean there is any evolutionary pressure for that ability to be maintained.

An alternative explanation of musical performance, that would have implications for reproduction if there was at least some genetic control, is that singing and music making are a means of attracting sexual partners and having more offspring as a result. This explanation invokes sexual selection rather than natural selection.

Darwin sketched out this idea in 'The Descent of Man' and you can access a readable paper on the subject at

http://www.unm.edu/~gfmiller/new_papers … music.DOC.

"Hope is a duty from which palaeontologists are exempt."
David Quammen