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Where Did Music Come From?

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Did humans evolve to sing and dance, or did we invent our musical pastimes?

Look anywhere and you'll find music. Without a single exception, every culture produces some form of it; like language, it's a universal trait in our species, and over the millennia it has bloomed into a diverse and stunning global symphony. Yet music's origin remains one of the great secrets of human history.

The oldest known instruments are 42,000-year-old bone flutes discovered in caves in Germany. Vocal music surely predates these, but the problem, according to University of Amsterdam musicologist Henkjan Honing, "is that music doesn't fossilize and our brains don't fossilize." With little hard evidence, scientists still debate what evolutionary purpose music serves. And because its purpose is obscure enough to warrant debate, some skeptics question whether it serves any purpose at all.

Music researchers have more or less settled into two camps: those who believe their subject of study is a biological adaptation, and those who believe it's a cultural invention.

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  • maxxmaxx 858 Pts   -  
    there are many ideas on this, some say it began by mimiking bitds, in which i disagree with, for whistles are a long way from any type of real rythym. Myself, i subscribe th the idea that the earliest beliefs in gods led to music. just for an hypthetical case;  early humans were in a severve drought and needed water; they probably noticed that thunder, a loud noise came with much rain. so in order to "talk and or appease" the rain gods, the tribes began "dancing" around banging with rocks and chanting in an effort to get the rain gods attention. Perhaps by a coincidence, rain came. they may have done the same with the animal gods to attract food, or the sun gods to bring warmth or light.  I think superstitions of ancient humans led to music .@JulesKorngold
  • piloteerpiloteer 1511 Pts   -  

    Some aspects of music, and even art, may have evolved from tribes that cannot be considered homosapien. But prehistoric evidence of music and art in our genetic history doesn't prove any kind of evolutionary advantage.      
  • exconexcon 452 Pts   -   edited November 2021
    Did humans evolve to sing and dance, or did we invent our musical pastimes?

    Hello J:

    I'm just hazarding a guess here, but our hearts beat at a certain rythm.   We feel it throughout our body.  Somebody started banging a tree trunk to his heartbeat, then the Beatles took over..  Ok..  Maybe not the Beatles.

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