the birth of music

The birth of music

In his essay The Origin and Function of Music, published in 1858, Herbert Spencer addresses the question of the origin of music and states that it arises mainly from an emotional need. According to Spencer, in fact, primitive men had the opportunity to communicate stronger intentions, and in order to do it they needed a new language. That is music.

Darwin never agreed with this thesis. In 1871 he wrote The Origin of Man and Sexual Selection, where he emphasized how music, as well as for animals, was not born as an emotional need, but it had the function to express love before having acquired an articulated language.

Later, men began to create melodies with the voice and some objects in the attempt of imitating nature. For instance, by listening to the wind they designed instruments that consisted of animal bones in which they could blow. Therefore, it is thought that they tried to exploit them and create tools, which were more elaborate.

With the passing of time, there was a great evolution of music, since Sumerian population created various instruments destined to become very popular such as the harp and the lyre. These are stringed instruments made of wood, precious materials and animal gut. The Sumerians invented also early sheet music.

In conclusion, we can confirm the presence of music in our lives since ancient times and it became an important artistic form, which is appreciated all over the world.

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Ruben Costa


3AS – Liceo G. Galilei Spadafora, indirizzo Scienze Applicate

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