London - Music has often played a role in winning a woman’s affections, but if she’s fertile a suitor will need to be a virtuoso.

Researchers say that a woman’s musical tastes change when she is at her most fertile, making her more responsive to men who can produce more complex music.

The University of Sussex team, whose research was published by the Royal Society, say their findings support Charles Darwin’s theory that music’s primary function is in sexual courtship.

In the study, women were played four similar piano compositions that progressed from one of a few chords and a simple rhythm to one of greater complexity.

When asked which composer they would prefer in relationships, women chose composers of the more complex music as short-term sexual partners only at the point in their menstrual cycle when the chance of conception was at its highest.

No preference was shown when choosing a long-term partner in a committed relationship.

Benjamin Charlton, the paper’s author, said: ‘These results suggest that women may acquire genetic benefits for offspring by selecting musicians able to create more complex music as sexual partners.’ - Daily Mail