The fervor (mostly genital) aroused by some musical performers (especially soft singers whose voice seems to be born from the scrotum) was not born with the 'Beatlemania' or a band of the twentieth century, as early as the mid 1800s, Franz Liszt originate the so-called 'Lisztomania'. German fans and groupies even made bracelets with the broken strings of their piano, which was an achievement because classical music performers do not usually arouse such passions.
Apparently, Liszt's secret was, among other things, that he behaved like a showman or a rock star, in the style of Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger or Elvis. But Why are musicians so attractive to so many people, although some are quite ugly (like Hendrix)?
According Petr Janata, associate professor of psychology at the University of California:
When you are able to show that you have the time and resources to improve your ability, you end up being attractive to a potential partner.
That is, according to Janata, a musician would be like a peacock: playing an instrument well and attracting the attention of the masses would require a surplus of time and resources, which is good for our offspring. That is why there are so many people who buy an expensive car (even if it means an economic sacrifice): in order to pretend they have that surplus. Benjamin D. Charlton It also suggests that, in effect, "music is a product of sexual selection through the choice of a partner.", as he had suspected more than a century earlier Charles Darwin in The origin of the man.
Not all that glitters is gold
To reach such conclusions, Benjamin D. Charlton and his colleagues at the University of Sussex, conducted an experiment with 1,465 women who listened to four piano compositions of increasing levels of complexity. They were then asked to confess which composer seemed most desirable to them..
They found that women who they were in the equator of their menstrual cycle (at its most fertile moment) they tended to consider that men with musical abilities had better genes than men without that ability. Women who were not at the point of maximum conception were generally ambivalent, they did not prefer a single composer over another; but those who were between days six and fourteen of their respective reproductive cycles preferred the interpreter of the most complex song.
However, this preference was only for short-term relationships, which implies that women wanted to procreate quickly with qualified musicians, but not keep them as a long-term partner. That is the musician who invites the masses has more facilities to reproduce, but not to have a stable partner. Something similar to what happens with the typical rebel without cause, the quarrel who has a girlfriend in each port.
Music describes skills
It may seem that being attracted to someone who simply plays an instrument well or sings in an emotional way is a reason too irrelevant when it comes to having a good offspring. Why has evolution led to this dynamic? At the end of the day, anyone can learn to play music, and later it will be a series of arbitrariness that, on many occasions, will drive that person to stardom. Where is goodness, morality, fidelity or reliability, which are evolutionarily more important traits?
Becoming a great musician takes time, resources, tenacity, concentration, and a multitude of other traits. So, an expert musician You have already had to test all the above mentioned qualities individually (at least in many cases). In addition, showing love for music also denotes sensitivity, intelligence; and depending on the type of music we listen to or interpret, we also offer all kinds of information about our personality, our ideas, the type of social circles in which we move, etc. A study by the University of Texas at Austin supports this statement, correlating musical taste with characteristics such as political orientation or verbal ability, among others.
Further, good musicians are also good imitators: They are able to learn by imitating other musicians, and they also manage to mix influences to obtain compositions that remind us of what we have already heard but with other nuances. That is, they are creative copiers. Evolutionarily, the ability to imitate is very valuable, because it is the main form of the human being to learn new skills. Susan Blackmore, in The machine of the memes, sums it up like this:
The meme-gen coevolution assumes that humans will prefer to mate with those who best transmit their minds. (...) Poems and love songs constitute the historical evidence of the above as well as evidence, for example, the sexual behavior of politicians, writers and television stars (Miller, 1993). (…) Let's see some examples. In the first hunter-gatherer societies, the especially skilled man to imitate would have been able to copy the most cutting-edge hunting skills or the latest developments in technology to manufacture stone instruments and, therefore, would have acquired a biological advantage. (...) This suggests that the most desirable couple would be one whose lifestyle allowed them to transmit a greater number of memes, such as a writer, an artist, a journalist, a presenter, a film actor and a musician. Without a doubt, some of these professions represent a good opportunity to have admiring fans and to have sexual relations with whoever they want. Jimi Hendrix, it seems, had many children in four different countries before he died at the age of twenty-seven. It is said that H.G. Wells, although ugly and with a horrible voice, was a specialist in the art of seducing several ladies every night. Charlie Chaplin was short and not exactly graceful and, nevertheless, his history as a seducer is notorious as it was, apparently, that of Balzac, Rubens, Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci.