Where Did Music Come From?

Throughout history, music has been an important cultural and social factor and form of expressing human emotions. Scientists think Prehistoric humans first started making music as imitating sounds of nature. It was either for religious or entertainment reasons. The first musical instrument is probably the human voice even though archaeologists also found some rudimentary instruments such as flutes dating back more than 35,000 years ago. Some of the research indicated that musical instruments actually date back to the Neandertal period, way before scientists predicted. People who lived in that period were members of a group of archaic humans who were replaced by Homo sapiens. Fossilized skulls and jaws of early apes were studied by scientists to see if they were able to control and vocalize pitch. According to researchers, the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans had the vocal anatomy to "sing" like us about a million years ago. However, it's impossible to know if they actually did. Prehistoric humans probably created rhythmic music by clapping their hands and smacking stones or sticks together. Unfortunately, archaeologists can’t find most of these instruments because they have been made from soft materials (wood and reeds). Yet bone pipes survived and some of the earliest ever found are between 39,000 and 43,000 years old.

Gradually humans become more and more intertwined with music and develop a writing system that we still use today. The first-ever written music (written with the cuneiform alphabet) dates back to 3400 years ago which was found in Syria. Researchers discovered the existence of string instruments (such as the lyre) and flutes (the aulos) dating back to ancient Greece. Some studies of drawings on walls, vases, and other objects suggested the existence of polyphony. Egypt, China, India, and Ancient Greece were some of the first big empires that contained ancient musical instruments.


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