The Pre-History Of Music

Clemens Vasters

Carson Thurman, Staff Writer

In order to understand why people enjoy listening to the sick beats of the modern era, we have to go back to a time before history. 

Archaeological evidence shows that the common ancestors of humans up to 530,000 years ago had the bone structure necessary to control the pitch of their voice, according to an article on bbc.com. Although we can’t be sure that our ancestors utilized their voice boxes for song, it’s not too far fetched. These archaic vocalizations would’ve been used for social bonding, like a mother singing to her child or a group of friends singing around a campfire. 

In 2012, researchers in Germany found ivory flutes that were 42-43,000 years old according to carbon dating. These were made in a time that modern humans, Homo sapiens, were migrating from Africa into areas of Europe occupied by a soon to be extinct species of Neanderthals. The flutes are the oldest known evidence of music in human history, 

We know when woodwinds were made, and we knew how to bang sticks together forever, but how did we come up with string instruments? A painting in the Trois Freres cave in France that dates back to 13,000 BC depicts a figure using a hunting bow to play music and herd bison. These early musical bows could only play one note but by 2000 BC Greek artwork shows that people had figured out how to add more strings to the instrument and even a sound-box. This instrument was known as a Lyre and had 4 to 10 strings that were plucked just like a modern guitar. 

While the methods of creating enjoyable noises have changed drastically over millennia, it’s clear that humans have always had fun doing it.