In olden days, Western people thought that Western scales of music were universal. But, when they realized that scales in other cultures were different, they concluded that there was nothing universal about music.
A new research which analyzed 304 recordings of stylistically diverse music from different parts of the world has now shattered this false belief. They have found that songs from around the globe tend to share common features. These included attributes pertaining to rhythm and pitch as well as interrelationships and social context between musical features.
They found that music from all sampled regions -- Central/South America, North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania, had rhythms based on two or three beats present in them.
These findings suggest that most of the music from across the world, despite their great surface diversity, is constructed from very identical basic building blocks and performs the basic function of bringing people together. “Music is not a universal language... music lets us connect without language" says the research lead.
The results of their study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.