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Wed 8 Aug 2012 21:00 BBC Radio 4

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 08 August 2012

Is our taste in music, and how it's changed over the centuries, governed by creative genius or simply by survival of the fittest sounds, chosen by us the consumer? Does Darwin's theory of natural selection apply to more than just life on the planet? The idea of survival of the fittest and cultural evolution can be applied to many aspects of our lives; from fashion to the naming of our children. In a world of digital sampling evolutionary biologist, Professor Armand Leroi of Imperial College and his colleagues have designed an experiment to see if they can create the perfect song by asking individuals to choose which tunes survive and reproduce to create new tunes and which ones die out. If they can do this, where does that leave today's musical producers and composers? Do we still need a trained mind to compose truly amazing music? Armand Leroi discusses the idea that music evolves with evolutionary biologists Dr Luke Rendell of St Andrews University and Professor Mark Pagel of Reading University, composer Dr Martin Parker of Edinburgh University, and composer Aphrodite Raickopoulou.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz.


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