Music is vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
Both the simple folk song and the complex electronic composition belong to the same activity, music. Both are humanly engineered – both are conceptual and auditory, and these factors have been present in music of all styles and in all periods of history, throughout the world.
Music is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies.
Since all people of the world, including the most isolated tribal groups, have a form of music, it may be concluded that music is likely to have been present in the ancestral population prior to the dispersal of humans around the world.
Consequently, the first music may have been invented in Africa and then evolved to become a fundamental constituent of human life, using various different materials to make various instruments.
The origin of music is unknown as it occurred prior to 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 today, 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 has been suggested that the “Divje Babe Flute”, a cave bear femur dated to be between 50,000 and 60,000 years old, is the world’s oldest musical instrument and was produced by Neanderthals.
“Ancient music” is the name given to the music that follows music of the prehistoric era. The “oldest known song” was written in cuneiform, dating to 3400 years ago from Ugarit in Syria.
The oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world, is the Seikilos epitaph, dated to either the 1st or the 2nd century AD.
Indian classical music (marga) can be found from the scriptures of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. Samaveda, one of the four vedas, describes music at length.
Greek written history extends far back into Ancient Greece, and was a major part of ancient Greek theatre. In ancient Greece, mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons.
Instruments included the double-reed aulos and the plucked string instrument, the lyre, especially the special kind called a kithara. Music was an important part of education in ancient Greece, and boys were taught music starting at age six.
According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Jubal was named by the Bible as the inventor of musical instruments (Gen. 4:21). The Hebrews were much given to the cultivation of music. Their whole history and literature afford abundant evidence of this.
Musicologists divide classical music into historical eras and stylistic subgenres. One way to examine classical music history is to divide it into seven periods:
• Medieval period
• Renaissance period
• Baroque period
• Classical period
• Romantic period
• Modern period
• Postmodern period
The medieval era (476 to 1400), which took place during the Middle Ages, started with monks developed the first forms of modern European musical notation in order to standardize liturgy.
Renaissance music (c. 1400 to 1600) was more focused on secular (non-religious) themes, such as courtly love. Around 1450, the printing press was invented, which made printed sheet music much less expensive and easier to mass-produce (prior to the invention of the printing press, all notated music was hand-copied).
The Baroque era of music took place from 1600 to 1750, as the Baroque artistic style flourished across Europe; and during this time, music expanded in its range and complexity. Baroque music began when the
first operas (dramatic solo vocal music accompanied by orchestra) were written.
The music of the Classical period (1730 to 1820) aimed to imitate what were seen as the key elements of the art and philosophy of Ancient Greece and Rome: the ideals of balance, proportion and disciplined expression.
In the Romantic period, music became more expressive and emotional, expanding to encompass literature, art, and philosophy.
Music of all kinds also became increasingly portable. The 20th century saw a revolution in music listening as the radio gained popularity worldwide and new media and technologies were developed to record, capture, reproduce and distribute music.
Throughout history, some new forms or styles of music have been criticized as “not being music”, including Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge string quartet in 1825, early jazz in the beginning of the 1900s and hardcore punk in the 1980s.
Today, there are many different genres of music. There is also a huge amount of music genre crossover.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. The term “classical music” did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to distinctly canonize the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Ludwig van Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to “classical music” recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1829.
Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads.
Techno is a genre of electronic dance music. Use of the term “techno” to refer to a type of electronic music originated in Germany in the early 1980s. In 1988, following the UK release of the compilation Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit, the term came to be associated with a form of electronic dance music produced in Detroit. Detroit techno resulted from the melding of synthpop by artists such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra with African American styles such as house, electro, and funk.
The violin is probably the best known and most widely distributed musical instrument in the world. Similar string instruments to violin have been around for almost 1000 years.
The first time the piano was played in a public concert in London was in 1768 when it was played by Johann Christian Bach. Most historians agree that today’s violin emerged in the early 16th century in northern Italy, an area which would maintain the violin-making tradition over the coming centuries.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the best and most famous composer of classical music. Born in Salzburg, in the Holy Roman Empire, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty, embarking on a grand tour. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position.
During the 1990s, several research papers and popular books wrote on what came to be called the “Mozart effect”: an observed temporary, small elevation of scores on certain tests as a result of listening to Mozart’s works. The approach has been popularized in a book by Don Campbell, and is based on an experiment published in Nature suggesting that listening to Mozart temporarily boosted students’ IQ by 8 to 9 points.