Jan, Steven (2013) Mnemosyne’s Hexagons: Music, Memory and M(us)emes. In: Darwin, chef d’orchestre? Colloque interdisciplinaire sur l’évolution de la musique, 28th March 2013, Lyon, France. (Unpublished)

A thematic similarity between works of J.C. Bach and Mozart is the starting point for an overview of some of the central concepts underpinning the application of the discipline of memetics to music. These concepts are considered under two main headings. The synchronic aspects of the musical meme (or ‘museme’) include its intrinsic properties and attributes, chief among which are its tendency to form alliances with other musemes and, thereby, to generate multileveled structural hierarchies. Under this heading is considered, speculatively, the neuronal encoding of musemes, drawing upon William Calvin’s Hexagonal Cloning Theory (HCT) and its more recent development under the rubric of Grid Cells. The diachronic aspects of the museme include its instantiation of the Darwinian evolutionary algorithm of variation, replication and selection, arguably the engine behind cultural-stylistic evolution in music. Under this heading is considered the application of the Earth-Mover’s Distance (EMD) metric to issues of evolutionary musemic relationships. This account of the Darwinization of memory concludes with a brief exploration of some of the wider implications of the memetic perspective.

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