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The origin of Music

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by kirbywrx, Dec 23, 2002.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Ive been meaning to ask this for a while, but just havent thought of a formal way to ask it :D

    How did music start? how did people discover that there are 7 whole notes in the music language? i know that cavmen started rythmic tunes by hitting on stones, but what about strings, woodwind, and piano? when did instruments start interacting with one and other, and how did people discover that certain notes fit in certain scales? This has plagued my mind for a while :)

    Does anyone get my drift, or am i just making a fool outta myself? :D
  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    One 'theory' is that God invented music. The angel Lucifer supposedly had a body that made music.

    Another one is that music was an extension of rhythms used for communicating via drums.

    I'm sure there are more.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The sort of western music we know today mostly started in Churches - notation was developed for plainchant, to enable monks to sing together in their daily worship,

    Polyphonic music really started as worship music in Churches - choirs singing. This is where the sort of chords and scales we know come from.

    Of course - there are other traditions - like Indian and Japanese Classical music, for example. But these use different scales, which can sound very "odd" to our our ears. And a lot of other traditions are basically "monophonic" - single lines of melody that aren't necesarily harmonised, although they can be played to rhythmic accompaniment.
  4. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Music first started as a means of communicating in africa, where human existance is said to stem from. It was all drums basically. It spread through the world as people moved around, and here and there people discovered that a thin piece of wood vibrates if you blow it, making a sound. Or this cup shaped thing makes a sound when you buzz your lips in it. Or a string of animal tendon stretched really tight makes this sound when plucked, etc. Sounds and sound methods were literally found by accident. If someone found how to make a controled noise, then he made it into an instrument.

    Modern music is based off of Gregorian Chant. As said, it was used in churches. It was the first system of writing music ever invented and widely accepted. That is where the first system of notation came from, and it is what today's form of notation is derrived from. This is also where the 7 tone scale was "invented".

    Asian music systems are much less widespread and aren't used much anymore, with the western style of notation bieng universal all over the world.

    In short, music first came from Africa. Todays music mainly comes from Gregorian Chant. And wodwinds, brasswinds, etc. were discovered by accident or trial and error.
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Here's a curveball for you: Songbirds sing songs with organised structures in the major scale. Where does human involvement come into this?

  6. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Pythagoras figured out (most of) the intervals of Western music with a monochord.

    The net is cool, but sometimes you need to go to an old fashioned library. Grout and Palisca is pretty much considered the standard book for History of Western music. Read chapter one.
  7. Music started when whatever kicked off the universe decreed that two regular waveforms summing at frequencies of certain mathematical intervals would create smooth waveforms "similar" to each seperate note.

    Then, atmosphere popped up and kinetic energy began to be transmitted in longitudinal pressure waves, which provided a good medium to reflect the harmony implicit in the math of waveforms.

    Well, something like that. Ur-men bashing hollow logs might come into things somewhere, I suppose.
  8. BertBert


    Nov 9, 2002
    In the Bible, there is this reference from Genesis 4:21...

    His [Jabal's] brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.

    This is sandwiched in a "begats" kind of passage halfway between the Cain and Abel incident and the account of the flood.
  9. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    How do you know it wasn't the other way around? Perhaps humans developed our major scale off of the tones of songbirds?
  10. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    music was birthed as a method of storytelling, which is the way most preliterate cultures spread their myths and values, and the manner in which later cultures celebrated theirs. remember music's intimate relationship to drama next time we all bash poison for their make-up and histrionics.

    pythagoras and a whole gang of pre-socratic greek philosophers worked out the mathematics of music, as best i can remember. but that's just the west, i've wondered if their were equivalent thinkers doing the same things in the east?
  11. no you're all wrong. it was me. i made music.
  12. One day a cave man Og hit one stone against another. He liked the sound and began experimenting it. He created rythms and time signatures and started to make up words.

    The Birth of Rock Music

  13. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Actually, the oldest archeolgical site of human civilization is in Thailand. So, one might want to reearch the oldest origins of music in that area. All I know about that is that it involved alot of whistles and bells. The first musical note scale as we know it, was found in the tomb of Marquis Zenghou Yi of China (who I believe was around the time of the Chu dynasty(?)). which was a series of bells that is quite acurate to the scales we know today. I can't remember off hand how old that is, but I think it was around 200BC or something like that. The cool thing about Zenghou Yi, was that he had all of his musicians killed to be burried with him so that they could play music for him for all of eternity. Gotta love that ol' Chinese dude.:)
  14. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    You are all wrong. It was Barry Manilow!
  15. bassackwards

    bassackwards Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    "Oh MANDY..." cocks shotgun, fires BLAM! Ok, that's better.
  16. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA

    The beatiing of our mothers hearts while we were in the womb, the rythem of our breathing.

    I think we have a need for vibration, not so much as tone, or hear, but felt. even from a treble insturment, there is still vibration. i think it all flows thru the air and speaks to all of our brain, not just a part of it, as belived before. it's a need.
  17. Stupidnick


    Mar 22, 2002
    ...my room...
    on the 8th day.. God Created Frank Black!!!



    or else rick flare.. WOOOOOOO!
  18. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    No, no. I'm sure it was Barry Manilow. He said so in one of his songs:

    "I've been alive forever and I wrote the very first song."

    So there!!!!!!:D