Prehistoric Music categorizes all music that was created in the preliterate age (a period before any cultures had created a system to read and write.)
Because it’s occurrence was prior to recorded history, the origin of music is still unknown; however, some believe that it’s creation was stemmed through the occurrence of natural sounds and rhythms. Humans may have learned to incorporate these natural sounds into their music by using patterns, repetition, or tonality.
Even today, many cultures create music that is purposely intended to imitate certain sounds in nature. (For example this type of music is woven into shamanistic beliefs or practices. Another reason this may be used is for practical reasons such as hunting in wildlife.) i.e. shamanism is usually practiced in Siberia or in Sami groups where there music intentionally involves mimicking sounds.
Music during this era was very simple and had no written form or scale, meaning there were no harmonies, tuning, or musical notation involved, just simple sounds.
It was said that many ancient cultures used music as a mnemonic device to remember and imprint important stories and myths into minds. It was a common way to pass down tribal history, and is locked quickly into memory.
The first musical instrument that was most likely used was the human voice.
However, humans learned pretty early on how to make their own instruments. It seems that Ice Age men were also quite fond of music, seeing that a bone flute was found in a cave in the Swabian mountains of south-western Germany dating back 35,000 years ago, in the Late Pleistocene Era. The flute was made from the tusk of a wooly mammoth. Back then, ivory was the considered the most beautiful and extravagant material you can find, obviously proving the importance of music, even that far back.
Because music has been around for so long, it has left many to wonder if humans have been shaped by evolution to be musical. Charles Darwin being one of the people to believe so. However, this continues to be a very debatable topic.
With the preliterate period coming to an end, the prehistoric music era also disappears with it, being replaced by a new era known as the Ancient Music Era (occurring from c. 1200 BCE - 500 CE.) At this point, music is most popular within Greek and Roman societies, and basic musical theory has also been established. Of course, this era also marks the start of recording and musical notation.
As far back as 400 BCE, The great philosopher, Plato, was marveled at the power of music’s way of affecting human character and human emotion. He was quite concerned over the way that music could either degrade or elevate the mind’s of young people. He said, “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul…” -Plato 400 B.C.E.
The first written song ever to be recorded was found in an ancient city known as Ugarit, in Northern Syria, dating 4,000 years back before the creation of the city itself. It was...