The origin of music is not known as it occurred prior to the advent of recorded history. Some suggest that the origin of music likely stems from naturally occurring sounds and rhythms. Human music may echo these phenomena using patterns, repetition and tonality. Even nowadays, some cultures have certain instances of their music intending to imitate natural sounds. In some instances, this feature is related to shamanistic beliefs or practice. It may serve also entertainment (game) or practical (luring animals in hunt) functions.
Even aside from the bird song, monkeys have been witnessed to beat on hollow logs. Although this might serve some purpose of territorialism, it suggests a degree of creativity and seems to incorporate a call and response dialogue.
It is possible that the first musical instrument was the human voice itself, which can make a vast array of sounds, from singing, humming and whistling through to clicking, coughing and yawning. (See Darwin's Origin of Species on music & speech.) The oldest known Neanderthal hyoid bone with the modern human form has been dated to be 60,000 years old, predating the oldest known bone flute by 10,000 years; but since both artifacts are unique the true chronology may date back much further.
Most likely the first rhythm instruments or percussion instruments involved the clapping of hands, stones hit together, or other things that are useful to create rhythm and indeed there are examples of musical instruments which date back as far as the paleolithic, although there is some ambiguity over archaeological finds which can be variously interpreted as either musical or non-musical instruments/tools. Examples of paleolithic objects which are considered unambiguously musical are bone flutes or pipes; paleolithic finds which are open to interpretation are pierced phalanges (usually interpreted as 'phalangeal whistles'), objects interpreted as bullroarers, and rasps.
Music can be theoretically traced to prior to the Oldowan era of the Paleolithic age, the anthropological and archeological designation that suggests when stone tools first began to be used by hominids. The noises produced by work such as pounding seed and roots into meal is a likely source of rhythm created by early humans.
Prehistoric music varies greatly in style, function, general relation to culture, and complexity. The Timbila music of the Chopi is considered one of the most complex preliterate musics...
Musical Notation - History
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