Musical knack encoded in genes? - Annuja Anandaradje

Music is not just a source of entertainment in our life. Music is a form of art. Not every sound can be categorised as music. A sound may be music or noise. It makes us creative, enjoyable, helps develop our linguistic skills, listening skills in children and above all plays with our emotions.

So, whether the musical knack or so called ability of the individual is nurtured or by natural?

Let us venture into it:

Many authors suggest that human abilities to appreciate and practice music may be a biological adaptation, considering that in a long evolutionary past it may have been essential for survival and reproduction. All humans inherit an intrinsic form of musicality, in which the genetic factors play a major role. Studies have reported a possible association between musicality and polymorphism in the genes (AVPR1A, SCL6A4, ITGB3, COMT, DRD2 and DRD4). Most importantly, there was a strong association between hormone arginine vasopressin and its receptor (AVPR1A- located in chromosome 12q) in controlling cognitive function and memory. The AVPR1A gene has been associated with music learning and music listening. Also, the SCL6A4 gene – located in chromosome 17q has been found to be associated with music memory and choir singing.


All humans inherit an intrinsic form of musicality, in which genetic factors play a crucial role in its expression. However, the research on musical genetics is still at infancy. Future studies of the genetic basis of music would therefore likely benefit from a shift toward more current molecular genetic methods to investigate complex traits also genetic studies of musicality will enable the understanding about the origins and selective pressure of music and human history.

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