Egyptians express their joy at Mubarak's departure by mixing music with words. What words? I dunnot, but they sound cheerful.
Friday, Victory Day, people around the world watched Egyptians dancing in the street. The next day the Metropolitan Opera in New York broadcast live around the world a performance of an opera, Nixon in China. These incidents following so hard on each other's heels remind me of a great mystery. Music is found in all cultures, suggesting that it fulfills some basic function, and yet nobody can quite figure out what that function might be. In this regard, music is the opposite of language. Language is so universally useful that a thousand good reasons for its evolution present themselves . Leonid Perlovsky of Harvard has just published a paper--"Music. Cognitive Function, Origin and Evolution of Musical Emotions"—that proposes that music and language co-evolved in order to maintain a stability that language by itself undermines.