I am an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environment and Information Studies at Keio University SFC, where I direct the CompMusic lab. I have been a leader in reviving the comparative study of the world’s music, through which I hope to better understand not only music itself, but also its broader relationship to cultural and biological diversity.
Previously, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. I received my Ph.D. in Musicology from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2017. I also hold an M.Sc. in Psychology from McMaster University (Canada) and a B.A. in Music Composition from Amherst College (USA). In 2017, I became the fifth non-Japanese to receive the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Ikushi Prize, awarded by the Emperor to 17 doctoral students throughout Japan.
I have published on a variety of topics including musical universals, music and genetic anthropology, comparing human and bird songs, and automated methods for reconstructing folk song evolution. My research has been published in diverse academic journals including Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , Music Perception, and Ethnomusicology, and has been covered by media including the New York Times, NPR, and The Atlantic. My first book, Comparative musicology: The science of the world’s music, is under contract with Oxford University Press.
Key publications (full list here):
Whitehouse, H.*, François, P.*, Savage, P. E.*, Currie, T. E., Feeney, K. C., Cioni, E., Purcell, R., Ross, R. M., Larson, J., Baines, J., ter Haar, B., Covey, A., Turchin, P. (In press). Complex societies precede moralizing gods throughout world history. Nature.
Savage, P. E. (Under contract). Comparative musicology: The science of the world’s music. Oxford University Press.
Savage, P. E. (2019). Cultural evolution of music. Palgrave Communications, 5(6), 1–12. doi: 10.1057/s41599-019-0221-1
Savage, P. E. (2018). Alan Lomax’s Cantometrics Project: A comprehensive review. Music & Science, 1, 1–19. doi: 10.1177/2059204318786084
Savage, P. E., Cronin, C., Müllensiefen, D., & Atkinson, Q. D. (2018). Quantitative evaluation of music copyright infringement. In Proceedings of the Folk Music Analysis 2018 Workshop.
Savage, P.E., Tierney, A.T., & Patel, A.D. (2017). Global music recordings support the motor constraint hypothesis for human and avian song contour. Music Perception, 34(3), 327-334.
Savage, P.E., Brown, S., Sakai, E., & Currie, T.E. (2015). Statistical universals reveal the structures and functions of human music. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112(29), 8987–8992. (See PNAS commentary and news coverage at places like Quartz and NPR)
Savage, P.E., Matsumae, H., Oota, H., Stoneking, M., Currie, T.E., Tajima, A., Gillan, M., & Brown, S. (2015). How ‘circumpolar’ is Ainu music? Musical and genetic perspectives on the history of the Japanese archipelago. Ethnomusicology Forum 24(3), 443-467.
Brown, S., Savage, P.E., Ko, A. M.-S., Stoneking, M., Ko, Y.-C., Loo, J.-H., & Trejaut, J.A. (2014). Correlations in the population structure of music, genes, and language. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1774), 20132072. (See news coverage at places like NBC News, SciencesNews, and ScienceDaily)
(* = equal contribution, italics = student supervisee, bold = own name)