Although comparative studies became unfashionable and sometimes even unacceptable in mainstream ethnomusicology post-WW2, for most of my life I have been interested in cross-cultural studies of vocal polyphony. I believe if you want to research the origins of the phenomenon of vocal polyphony (or any other “big” topic of ethnomusicology), you must first be aware of the richness of musical traditions from all over the world.
You can find here several texts from my writings on this subject:
- Here is a section from the book “Who Asked the first Question. The origins of human choral singing, Intelligence, Language and Speech”, Section 2: Comparative Perspectives.
- Here is a similar section: Singing in Human Cultural History Chapter 2, from the Book "Why do People Sing? Music in Human Evolution".
- Here is a conference paper dedicated to the topic: “Comparative study of Traditional Polyphony: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Edited in the Sixth International Symposium on Traditional Polyphony, held at the International Research Centre of Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatory on September 24-29, 2012.