This book examines a wide range of such practices: from the dancing and singing of South Indian devadasis (ritual and royal courtesans) to the provocative dialogues exchanged between Chinese rural villagers; from the vigorous dance songs of prepubescent girls of the Baka (Cameroon) to the ‘bump and grind’ and serpentine movements of pole dancers in night clubs. And how did a composer like Mozart define the interplay of attraction and recoil in his operas?
Many aspects – from conventions of language to gestures, postures, smells and other sensual signals – appear to be unique for specific local traditions. Other features, such as the seductive qualities of the human voice or the appreciation of vocal musical dialogues as a ‘battle of wits’ clearly transcend cultural boundaries. The shared point of departure for the wide-ranging (musical, biological and anthropological) excursions in this volume is the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of music’s power to establish a sexual rapport. Does music – like sex – go deeper than culture ? A range of scholars from different disciplines set out to address these questions.