Some Plausible Theories on How Music Originated

Determining when and how music was invented is a challenge that researchers have yet to achieve. Music has been present in every timeline ever recorded as history of man, yet dating only as far back as 40,000 years ago, the period in which the first modern homo sapiens existed.

Dr. Iain Morley, a lecturer in Palaeoanthropology and Human Sciences at the Oxford University has studied the music created by the human hunter-gather groups tens of thousands of years. To go back further in order to establish the earliest musical instruments was met with an obstacle. In Dr. Morley’s book, “The Prehistory of Music,” he gave emphasis to the fact that any evidence of traditional instruments used millions of years ago, may have perished as they could have been made from materials that rot easily.

Different Theories on How Music Came About as a Cultural Trait

Groups of researchers offered theories which they believe were ways on how music was invented. Their theories are based on the premise that man’s first musical instrument was the human voice. Undertaking experiments aimed at reproducing natural clicking, trilling and humming sounds by way of vocals and natural elements, may have functioned as the earliest rudiments on which music evolved.

What we call now as music may have been chants used to claim a territory. After all, a shared sound common to members of a tribe or clan would have encouraged social cohesion. Tribal war cries and chants distinguished members of one group from the others. This idea may have been inspired by animals like gibbons and birds, as they are known to use vocalization in carrying out mating rituals and in defending mating territory.

Another example is a simple and repetitive type of speech known as motherese. It is common in all cultures, as it is regarded as a natural maternal instinct. This type of communication is between mother and child, which other members of a tribal family also used; often times with exaggeration and in different pitches. Motherese, as we all know the practice, engages and encourages a baby to talk. Motherese or baby talk therefore has been considered as a possible origin from which vocal music was developed.