Music and speech
Researchers at Duke University, North Carolina, have recently discovered that 12 tone intervals of the (Western) musical scale correspond closely to the sounds of speech, according to an article on ScienceDaily.
The researchers analysed recordings of spoken English and Mandarin using spectrum analysers and compared them to musical scales. They found that 70% of the speech sounds had frequency ratios that matched the intervals between musical notes. They also believe music sounds ‘right’ to us because the notes used are similar to the sounds of speech.
Other projects they plan include one to try to find out whether the musical scales used in different countries are related to the languages spoken there. They will also investigate why we tend to perceive music a major key as happy, and that in a minor key as sad.
Maybe singing came before speech, as discussed on this blog. If this is so, then the reason why musical notes are related to speech could be because speech developed from singing, rather than the other way round.