History of Music

The origins

The origins of music are lost in history, but there is no lack of various more or less truthful theories that make room among scholars. Music is supposed to have been born from imitating sounds found in nature, such as flowing water and blowing wind. The Darwinian theory was perhaps derived from the calls for courtship of animals, a theory much criticized at the time but carried on by other scholars and followers of the Darwinian theory. According to the biologist Spencer, music was born alongside language and the same goes for the musician Wagner who associates the birth of language with vocal music. For other scholars, music was born to satisfy practical needs such as to assist in the organization of shared work (Bucher) or improve the ease of communication at a distance (Stumpf), or even to improve communication with the divine or supernatural that dir if you like (Nadel).
We then arrive at the dualistic origins of Carl Sachs who glimpses two elements in music, the word and emotion, therefore a logogenic origin from Logos and/or pathogenic origin from pathos, expression and feeling even if for him they would have had separate origins. There is therefore no single theory on the origins of music but there are various more or less truthful hypotheses.
The origins of music do not even neglect the sphere of mythology, especially the Greek one with the Muse’s sources of artistic, ancient and modern inspiration. The Muses are nine female deities belonging to the ancient Greek religion. They were all sisters, as daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the “Memory”) and their guide was Apollo. They represented the supreme ideal of art understood as the truth of the “All” or the “eternal magnificence of the divine”.


The alleged flute player Divje Babe, Slovenia;

The potentially oldest instrument is the Divje Babe Flute from the Divje Babe cave in Slovenia, dated between 43,000 and 82,000 BC. C. is composed of a young cave bear femur. For this reason, it is assumed that music was born for the first time in the Paleolithic, with a very approximate dating due to the difficulty of dating such ancient objects (39 thousand years of difference in the dating of the first historical department that has come down to us are nothing few).

Hypothetically speaking, noises presumably arose before sounds, just think of the possibility of producing primordial noises and sounds with stones and animal bones. Lacking direct evidence, we could assume through the observation of indigenous peoples that the primordial music was very similar to that produced by indigenous Indian, Brazilian, Australian and African tribes.

© Dario Gatto All rights are reserved.


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