I’m sure you have thousands of songs in your mp3 player. And any particular song is distinct, unique in its own way, especially in terms of how it was composed and how it was performed by the artist. Each note, each set of lyrics, each instrument used differentiates this particular from the other songs. All put together, it’s a beautiful piece that’s worth listening to over and over again!
Then you might ask yourself, “I wonder how music started?” Like, who was so innovative enough to put together instruments, words, tempo, volume, pitch, treble, and bass all together to produce harmonious sounds? Here we find out how music began.
The origin of music likely stems from naturally occurring sounds and rhythms. Human music may have then developed from these naturally occurring phenomena by echoing them using patterns, repetition, and tonality.
Another possible origin of music is motherese, the vocal-gestural communication between mothers and infants. This form of communication involves melodic and rhythmic patterns as well as the communication of intention and meaning, and in this sense is quite similar to music.
However, it is very difficult to say when music exactly began. We do have references in various religious texts to singing and making music. We also see evidence in cave paintings that depict people dancing which strongly suggest the presence of music. It has been suggested that the first musical instrument might have been a roughly constructed hollow stick through which one could blow and make sound.
We also know much about music in the prehistoric times based on findings from paleolithic archaeology sites. Flutes are often carved from bones in which holes have been pierced through them.
The Divje Babe flute, found in an archeological park located near Cerkno in northwestern Slovenia, was carved from a bear’s bone. It is thought to be at least 40,000 years old, possibly the world’s oldest known musical instrument.
Instruments such as the seven-holed flute and various types of stringed instruments, such as the Ravanahatha, have been recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites.
India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world. In fact, Indian classical music are found in the Vedas which are texts that constitute the oldest Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.
The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was found in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BC.
The Hurrian song, found on clay tablets that date back to approximately 1400 BC, is the oldest surviving notated work of music.