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History of Music




Nobody knows for certain what the origin of music was. Music is certainly older than poetry and painting but as early man had no way of recording it, we can only guess what it sounded like. Watching a child banging on a drum with its hands on a piece of wood, it is easy to see that this is the simplest of instruments. It does not take much effort to produce a rhythm on it.

Wall paintings show what some of the first instruments looked} like. Early civilizations had already discovered the three basic ways, of producing music: blowing into a tube, striking an object and scraping a string. We know that Western music comes from the ancient Greeks. The musical scales we use now are based on certain sequences of notes, which the Greeks used to create a particular mood.

Until the 16th century most players of instruments were single' performers, but as music became more widespread, orchestras and musical groups began to appear. This brought about the writing of music to be played by several musicians at one time. This can certainly be called the birth of modern music.

Until the early part of the 20th century there was certainly a distinction between popular music, the songs and dance tunes of the masses, and what we have come to call underground music. Up to that point, however, there were at least some points of contact between the two, and perhaps general recognition of what made a good voice or a good song. With the development of mass entertainment, popular music split away and has gradually developed a stronger life of its own, to the point where it has become incompatible with the classics. In some respects, it is now dominated by the promotion of youth culture, so that a concert by Elton John is just as much a fashion event, and other artists may be promoting dance styles or social protest.

For this reason it is impossible to talk about popular music as if it were only unified art. The kind of music you like may depend on what kind of person you are. Curiously, there are now classical musicians and operatic singers who have achieved the status of rock stars and have been marketed in the same way. This seems to suggest that many young people enjoy classical music but do not wish to be associated with the lifestyle of those who are traditionally supposed to enjoy it. Or it may simply be that recording companies have discovered that there is an insatiable desire for "sounds", and that classical music is beginning to sound exciting to a generation raised on rock.

 

       
 
   
 

 
 

1. What was the origin of music? 2. Which is older — music or poetry? 3. What do we know about the first musical instruments? 4. Where docs the Western music come from? 5. In what century was the modern music born? 6. Why is popular music dominated now? 7. Can the style of music you like show what person you are?







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