How Music and Instruments Began?

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  • How Music and Instruments Began?

    Precio : Gratis

    Publicado por : kamabeup

    Publicado en : 25-08-21

    Ubicación : London

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    How Music and Instruments Began?

      How Music and Instruments Began?

        Music must first be defined and distinguished from speech, and from animal and bird cries. We discuss

    the stages of hominid anatomy that permit music to be perceived and created, with the likelihood of both

    Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens both being capable. The earlier hominid ability to emit sounds of

    variable pitch with some meaning shows that music at its simplest level must have predated speech. The

    possibilities of anthropoid motor impulse suggest that rhythm may have preceded melody, though full

    control of rhythm may well not have come any earlier than the perception of music above. There are four

    evident purposes for music: dance, ritual, entertainment personal, and communal, and above all social

    cohesion, again on both personal and communal levels. We then proceed to how

    outdoor musical instrument began, with a

    brief survey of the surviving examples from the Mousterian period onward, including the possible

    Neanderthal evidence and the extent to which they showed “artistic” potential in other fields. We warn

    that our performance on replicas of surviving instruments may bear little or no resemblance to that of the

    original players. We continue with how later instruments, strings, and skin-drums began and developed into

    instruments we know in worldwide cultures today. The sound of music is then discussed, scales and

    intervals, and the lack of any consistency of consonant tonality around the world. This is followed by

    iconographic evidence of the instruments of later antiquity into the European Middle Ages, and finally,

    the history of public performance, again from the possibilities of early humanity into more modern times.

    This paper draws the ethnomusicological perspective on the entire development of music, instruments, and

    performance, from the times of H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens into those of modern musical history,

    and it is written with the deliberate intention of informing readers who are without special education in

    music, and providing necessary information for inquiries into the origin of music by cognitive scientists.

        But even those elementary questions are a step too far, because first we have to ask “What is music?

    ” and this is a question that is almost impossible to answer. Your idea of music may be very different

    from mine, and our next-door neighbor’s will almost certainly be different again. Each of us can only

    answer for ourselves.

        Mine is that it is “Sound that conveys emotion.”

        We can probably most of us agree that it is sound; yes, silence is a part of that sound, but can there

    be any music without sound of some sort? For me, that sound has to do something—it cannot just be random

    noises meaning nothing. There must be some purpose to it, so I use the phrase “that conveys emotion.”

    What that emotion may be is largely irrelevant to the definition; there is an infinite range of

    possibilities. An obvious one is pleasure. But equally another could be fear or revulsion.

        How do we distinguish that sound from speech, for speech can also convey emotion? It would seem that

    musical sound must have some sort of controlled variation of pitch, controlled because speech can also

    vary in pitch, especially when under overt emotion. So music should also have some element of rhythm, at

    least of pattern. But so has the recital of a sonnet, and this is why I said above that the question of “

    What is music?” is impossible to answer. Perhaps the answer is that each of us in our own way can say

    “Yes, this is music,” and “No, that is speech.”

        Must the sound be organized? I have thought that it must be, and yet an unorganized series of sounds

    can create a sense of fear or of warning. Here, again, I must insert a personal explanation: I am what is

    called an ethno-organologist; my work is the study of musical tubular musical instrument (organology) and worldwide

    (hence the ethno-, as in ethnomusicology, the study of music worldwide). So to take just one example of an

    instrument, the ratchet or rattle, a blade, usually of wood, striking against the teeth of a cogwheel as

    the blade rotates round the handle that holds the cogwheel. This instrument is used by crowds at sporting

    matches of all sorts; it is used by farmers to scare the birds from the crops; it was and still is used by

    the Roman Catholic church in Holy Week when the bells “go to Rome to be blessed” (they do not of course

    actually go but they are silenced for that week); it was scored by Beethoven to represent musketry in his

    so-called Battle Symphony, a work more formally called Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria,

    Op.91, that was written originally for Maelzel’s giant musical box, the Panharmonicon. Beethoven also

    scored it out for live performance by orchestras and it is now often heard in our concert halls “with

    cannon and mortar effects” to attract people to popular concerts. And it was also, during the Second

    World War, used in Britain by Air-Raid Precaution wardens to warn of a gas attack, thus producing an

    emotion of fear. If it was scored by Beethoven, it must be regarded as a musical instrument, and there are

    many other noise-makers that, like it, which must be regarded as musical instruments.

        And so, to return to our definition of music, organization may be regarded as desirable for musical

    sound, but that it cannot be deemed essential, and thus my definition remains “Sound that conveys


        But then another question arises: is music only ours? We can, I think, now agree that two elements of

    music are melody, i.e., variation of pitch, plus rhythmic impulse. But almost all animals can produce

    sounds that vary in pitch, and every animal has a heart beat. Can we regard bird song as music? It

    certainly conveys musical pleasure for us, it is copied musically (Beethoven again, in his Pastoral

    Symphony, no.6, op. 68, and in many works by other composers), and it conveys distinct signals for that

    bird and for other birds and, as a warning, for other animals also. Animal cries also convey signals, and

    both birds and animals have been observed moving apparently rhythmically. But here, we, as musicologists

    and ethnomusicologists alike, are generally agreed to ignore bird song, animal cries, and rhythmic

    movement as music even if, later, we may regard it as important when we are discussing origins below. We

    ignore these sounds, partly because they seem only to be signals, for example alarms etc, or “this is my

    territory,” and partly, although they are frequently parts of a mating display, this does not seem to

    impinge on society as a whole, a feature that, as we shall see, can be of prime importance in human music.

    Perhaps, too, we should admit to a prejudice: that we are human and animals are not…

        So now, we can turn to the questions of vocalization versus motor impulse: which came first, singing

    or percussive rhythms? At least we can have no doubt whatsoever that for melody, singing must long have

    preceded instrumental performance, but did physical movement have the accompaniment of hand- or body-

    clapping and perhaps its amplification with clappers of sticks or stones, and which of them came first?

        Here, we turn first to the study of the potentials of the human body. There is a large literature on

    this, but it has recently been summarized by Iain Morley in his The Prehistory of Music (Morley, 2013). So

    far as vocalization is concerned, at what point in our evolution was the vocal tract able to control the

    production of a range of musical pitch? For although my initial definition of music did not include the

    question of pitch, nor of rhythm, once we begin to discuss and amplify our ideas of music, one or other of

    these, does seem to be an essential—a single sound with no variation of pitch nor with any variation in

    time can hardly be described as musical.

        All animals have the ability to produce sounds, and most of these sounds have meanings, at least to

    their ears. Surely, this is true also of the earliest hominims. If a mother emits sounds to soothe a baby,

    and if such sound inflects somewhat in pitch, however vaguely, is this song? An ethnomusicologist, those

    who study the music of exotic peoples, would probably say “yes,” while trying to analyze and record the

    pitches concerned. A biologist would also regard mother–infant vocalizations as prototypical of music

    (Fitch, 2006). There are peoples (or have been before the ever-contaminating influence of the electronic

    profusion of musical reproduction) whose music has consisted only of two or three pitches, and those

    pitches not always consistent, and these have always been accepted as music by ethnomusicologists. So we

    have to admit that vocal music of some sort may have existed from the earliest traces of humanity, long

    before the proper anatomical and physiological developments enabled the use of both speech and what we

    might call “music proper,” with control and appreciation of pitch.

        In this context, it is clear also that “music” in this earliest form must surely have preceded

    speech. The ability to produce something melodic, a murmuration of sound, something between humming and

    crooning to a baby, must have long preceded the ability to form the consonants and vowels that are the

    essential constituents of speech. A meaning, yes: “Mama looks after you, darling,” “Oy, look out!” and

    other non-verbal signals convey meaning, but they are not speech.

        The possibilities of motor impulse are also complex. Here, again, we need to look at the animal

    kingdom. Both animals and birds have been observed making movements that, if they were humans, would

    certainly be described as dance, especially for courtship, but also, with the higher apes in groups.

    Accompaniment for the latter can include foot-slapping, making more sound than is necessary just for

    locomotion, and also body-slapping (Williams, 1967). Can we regard such sounds as music? If they were

    humans, yes without doubt. So how far back in the evolutionary tree can we suggest that motor impulse and

    its sonorous accompaniment might go? I have already postulated in my Origins and Development of

    xylophone musical

    (Montagu, 2007, p. 1) that this could go back as far as the earliest flint tools, that

    striking two stones together as a rhythmic accompaniment to movement might have produced the first flakes

    that were used as tools, or alternatively that interaction between two or more flint-knappers may have led

    to rhythms and counter-rhythms, such as we still hear between smiths and mortar-and-pestle millers of

    grains and coffee beans. This, of course, was kite-flying rather than a wholly serious suggestion, but the

    possibilities remain. At what stage did a hominim realize that it could make more sound, or could

    alleviate painful palms, by striking two sticks or stones together, rather than by simple clapping? Again

    we turn to Morley and to the capability of the physiological and neurological expression of rhythm.

        The physiological must be presumed from the above animal observations. The neurological would again,

    at its simplest, seem to be pre-human. There is plenty of evidence for gorillas drumming their chests and

    for chimpanzees to move rhythmically in groups. However, apes’ capacity for keeping steady rhythm is very

    limited (Geissmann, 2000), suggesting that it constitutes a later evolutionary development in hominins.

    Perceptions of more detailed appreciation of rhythm, particularly of rhythmic variation, can only be

    hypothesized by studies of modern humans, especially of course of infantile behavior and perception.

        From all this, it would seem that motor impulse, leading to rhythmic music and to dance could be at

    least as early as the simplest vocal inflection of sounds. Indeed, it could be earlier. We said above that

    animals have hearts, and certainly, all anthropoids have a heartbeat slow enough, and perceptible enough,

    to form some basis for rhythmic movement at a reasonable speed. Could this have been a basis for rhythmic

    movement such as we have just mentioned? This can only be a hypothesis, for there is no way to check it,

    but it does seem to me that almost all creatures seem to have an innate tendency to move together in the

    same rhythm when moving in groups, and this without any audible signal, so that some form of rhythmic

    movement may have preceded vocalization.

        But Why Does Music Develop from Such Beginnings? What is the Purpose of Music?

        There are four obvious purposes: dance, personal or communal entertainment, communication, and ritual.

        Seemingly more important than these fairly obvious reasons for why music developed is one for why

    music began in the first place. This is something that Steven Mithen mentions again and again in his book,

    The Singing Neanderthals (Mithen, 2005): that music is not only cohesive on society but almost adhesive.

    Music leads to bonding, bonding between mother and child, bonding between groups who are working together

    or who are together for any other purpose. Work songs are a cohesive element in most pre-industrial

    societies, for they mean that everyone of the group moves together and thus increases the force of their

    work. Even today “Music while you Work” has a strong element of keeping workers happy when doing

    repetitive and otherwise boring work. Dancing or singing together before a hunt or warfare binds the

    participants into a cohesive group, and we all know how walking or marching in step helps to keep one

    going. It is even suggested that it was music, in causing such bonding, that created not only the family

    but society itself, bringing individuals together who might otherwise have led solitary lives, scattered

    at random over the landscape.

        Thus, it may be that the whole purpose of music was cohesion, cohesion between parent and child,

    cohesion between father and mother, cohesion between one family and the next, and thus the creation of the

    whole organization of society.

        Much of this above can only be theoretical—we know of much of its existence in our own time but we

    have no way of estimating its antiquity other than by the often-derided “evidence” of the

    anthropological records of isolated, pre-literate peoples. So let us now turn to the hard evidence of

    early musical practice, that of the surviving musical instruments.1

        This can only be comparatively late in time, for it would seem to be obvious that sound makers of soft

    vegetal origin should have preceded those of harder materials that are more difficult to work, whereas it

    is only the hard materials that can survive through the millennia. Surely natural materials such as

    grasses, reeds, and wood preceded bone? That this is so is strongly supported by the advanced state of

    many early bone pipes—the makers clearly knew exactly what they were doing in making musical instruments,

    with years or generations of experiment behind them on the softer materials. For example, some end-blown

    and notch-blown flutes, the earliest undoubted ones that we have, from Geissenkl?sterle and Hohle Fels in

    Swabia, Germany, made from swan, vulture wing (radius) bones, and ivory in the earliest Aurignacian period

    (between 43,000 and 39,000 years BP), have their fingerholes recessed by thinning an area around the hole

    to ensure an airtight seal when the finger closes them. This can only be the result of long experience of

    flute making.

        So how did tembos

    musical instrument
    begin? First a warning: with archeological material, we have what has been found;

    we do not have what has not been found. A site can be found and excavated, but if another site has not

    been found, then it will not have been excavated. Thus, absence of material does not mean that it did not

    exist, only that it has not been found yet. Geography is relevant too. Archeology has been a much older

    science in Europe than elsewhere, so that most of our evidence is European, whereas in Africa, where all

    species of Homo seem to have originated, site archeology is in its infancy. Also, we have much evidence of

    bone pipes simply because a piece of bone with a number of holes along its length is fairly obviously a

    probable musical instrument, whereas how can we tell whether some bone tubes without fingerholes might

    have been held together as panpipes? Or whether a number of pieces of bone found together might or might

    not have been struck together as idiophones? We shall find one complex of these later on here which

    certainly were instruments. And what about bullroarers, those blades of bone, with a hole or a

    constriction at one end for a cord, which were whirled around the player’s head to create a noise-like

    thunder or the bellowing of a bull, or if small and whirled faster sounded like the scream of a devil? We

    have many such bones, but how many were bullroarers, how many were used for some other purpose?

        So how did pipes begin? Did someone hear the wind whistle over the top of a broken reed and then try

    to emulate that sound with his own breath? Did he or his successors eventually realize that a shorter

    piece of reed produced a higher pitch and a longer segment a lower one? Did he ever combine these into a

    group of tubes, either disjunctly, each played by a separate player, as among the Venda of South Africa

    and in Lithuania, or conjointly lashed together to form a panpipe for a single player? Did, over the

    generations, someone find that these grouped pipes could be replaced with a single tube by boring holes in

    it, with each hole representing the length of one of that group? All this is speculation, of course, but

    something like it must have happened.

        Or were instruments first made to imitate cries? The idea of the hunting lure, the device to imitate

    an animal’s cry and so lure it within reach, is of unknown age. Or were they first made to imitate the

    animal in a ritual to call for the success of tomorrow’s hunt? Some cries can be imitated by the mouth;

    others need a tool, a short piece of cane, bits of reed or grass or bone blown across the end like a key

    or a pen-top. Others are made from a piece of bark held between the tongue and the lip (I have heard a

    credit card used in this way!). The piece of cane or bone would only produce a single sound, but the bark,

    or in Romania a carp scale, can produce the most beautiful music as well as being used as a hunting call.

    The softer materials will not have survived and with the many small segments of bone that we have, there

    is no way to tell whether they might have been used in this way or whether they are merely the detritus

    from the dining table.

        This bone does raise the whole question of whether H. neanderthalensis knew of or practised music in

    any form. For rhythm, we can only say surely, as above—if earlier hominids could have, so could H.

    neanderthalensis. Could they have sung? A critical anatomical feature is the position of the larynx

    (Morley, 2013, 135ff); the lower the larynx in the throat the longer the vocal cords and thus the greater

    flexibility of pitch variation and of vowel sounds (to put it at its simplest). It would seem to have been

    that with H. heidelbergensis and its successors that the larynx was lower and thus that singing, as

    distinct from humming, could have been possible, but “seems to have been” is necessary because, as is so

    often, this is still the subject of controversy. However, it does seem fairly clear that H.

    neanderthalensis could indeed have sung. It follows, too, that while the Divje Babe “pipe” may or may

    not have been an instrument, others may yet be found that were ensemble musical instrument. There is evidence that

    the Neanderthals had at least artistic sensibilities, for there are bones with scratch marks on them that

    may have been some form of art, and certainly there is a number of small pierced objects, pieces of shell,

    animal teeth, and so forth, found in various excavations that can only have served as beads for a necklace

    or other ornamentation – or just possibly as rattles. There have also been found pieces of pigments of

    various colors, some of them showing wear marks and thus that they had been used to color something, and

    at least one that had been shaped into the form of a crayon, indicating that some reasonably delicate

    pigmentation had been desired. Burials have been found, with some small deposits of grave goods, though

    whether these reveal sensibilities or forms of ritual or belief, we cannot know (D’Errico et al., 2003,

    19ff). There have also been found many bone awls, including some very delicate ones which, we may presume,

    had been used to pierce skins so that they could be sewn together. All this leads us to the conclusion

    that the Neanderthals had at least some artistic and other feelings, were capable of some musical

    practices, even if only vocal, and were clothed, rather than being the grunting, naked savages that have

    been assumed in the past.

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