THE HISTORY OF MUSIC

Music can be found in all the most diverse cultures, places and periods of the earth. Sources attest to its existence at least 55,000 years ago, with the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, and some scholars hypothesize its birth in Africa, when the first known human communities began to disperse on the globe. The history of music is a branch of musicology and history that studies the chronological development of musical ideas and conventions in different peoples, with particular regard to art music of western tradition, and is therefore a widespread discipline in universities and schools of music from all over the world. Music can be found in all the most diverse cultures, places and periods of the earth. Sources attest to its existence at least 55,000 years ago, with the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, and some scholars hypothesize its birth in Africa, when the first known human communities began to disperse on the globe.

The history of music is a branch of musicology and history that studies the chronological development of musical ideas and conventions in different peoples, with particular regard to art music of western tradition, and is therefore a widespread discipline in universities and schools of music from all over the world.

The problem of determining the era in which music was born is obviously connected with the definition of music that one chooses to adopt. While, in fact, for a theoretical system of sound organization, linked to precise aesthetic references, we have to wait for ancient Greece, for the first appearance of individual ingredients, such as the voluntary production, also through instruments, of sounds by man , we must go back to the Paleolithic (prehistoric music, more rarely primitive music).

Like most human phenomena, in fact, it was probably born for very specific social purposes. Hypothetically speaking, the music itself was born more or less during the first moments of human life, as soon as it discovered the possibility of producing noises in the simple beating of bones against stones, to then transform the noises into real sounds creating mechanisms a little more complex, perhaps combining stones of different sizes and mass next to each other and beating them in succession with a stick or a bone and thus producing real sounds of different tones and, therefore, “primordial melodies” that would gradually be evolved together with man, creating what we now call music.

Some testimonies in this sense can be deduced from numerous findings in bone and stone interpreted as musical instruments. Such are, for example, the Magdalenian whistles of Roc de Mercamps, or the Neolithic lithophones discovered near Dalat (Vietnam).

In the absence of direct or mediated testimonies, some hypotheses about the form that primitive music assumed can also be deduced from the observation of peoples whose stage of development is still similar to that of prehistoric cultures, for example the Brazilian Indians, the Aboriginal Australians, some African populations.

It can be assumed that the very first forms of music were born above all from the rhythm: perhaps to imitate, beating hands or feet, the beating heart, the rhythmic rhythm of running feet, or galloping; or perhaps altering, spontaneously and out of boredom, the spontaneous phonations during a tiring and monotonous job, such as for example crushing the wheat harvested to make flour, or bending over to collect plants and seeds. For these reasons, and due to the relative ease of construction, it is very likely that the first musical instruments were percussion instruments, and presumably some variant of a drum.

Archaeological excavations over the Paleolithic period brought to light various percussion instruments that were used mostly by hunters; among these there are the tied rattles, that is small objects such as nuts, seeds, hazels, animal teeth and others tied together by a string or cluster; pumpkin rattles, empty pumpkins filled with pebbles; slit drums, tree trunks with a longitudinal internal cavity.

Other tools found are scrapers, or scalloped jagged tools: shells, sticks, shells, bones that were scraped with a rigid object; and the first wind instruments: notched flutes, slit-bone flutes, trumpets made from hollow branches and trumpets made from animal bones.

Special instruments are the earthy harp, or earthy harp, and the musical bow. The ground harp consisted of a hole dug in the ground and covered with tree bark. A rope stretched over it, tying it to a stick fixed to the ground, and striking or pinching it produced a strange resonance.

The musical arch, instead, was formed by a flexible branch curved by a rope stretched between the two ends and bearing a pumpkin resonator intended to widen the sound of the pinched rope.