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Thread: Did Humans Invent Music?

  1. #26
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Humans may not have invented music, but they definitely invented the concept of it
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  2. #27
    mandolin's Lord Voldemort mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Miller: Let's come back to the age of music. The bone flutes are at least 35,000 years old, but vocal music might be a lot older, given the fossil evidence on humans and Neanderthal vocal tracts. Thirty-five-thousand years sounds short in evolutionary terms, but it's still more than a thousand human generations, which is plenty of time for selection to shape a hard-to-learn cultural skill into a talent for music in some people, even if music did originate as a purely cultural invention. Maybe that's not enough time to make music into a finely tuned mental ability like language, but nobody knows yet how long these things take.
    You can go back 100,000+ years and "humans" were just as intelligent as they are now. There's a common conceit that anything before the ages of written history (pre-history...prehistoric) was some kind of ignorant sub-human ...ain't it just amazing how much the brain size has increased in only 5,000 years?! Modern scientists and engineers still can't quite figure out how the Egyptians built the pyramids, or how Stonehenge was built.

    There's no way of telling how many times some sort of "civilization" may have arisen in the distant, distant past only to be wiped out by environmental disaster, disease or just bad luck. (Perhaps the sphinx is actually 12,000 years old, predating the pyramid era by 7000 years?)

    The idea that "harmony" has only been around for 1000 years is just speculation. There's no telling how many times some form of it may have arisen in ancient Hyborea; given the time span involved and that people were just as smart (and smart doesn't = "technology"), it's bound to have occured many times.

    And the conceit of humans as the 'crown of creation' (to quote the jefferson airplane), is also open to debate. If humans are so superior and brainy, how come we haven't cracked communication with the dolphins or orcas? or other species? Seems to me that the dolphins can understand human language to a much greater degree than the other way around. (Douglas Adams was on the right track!). Bring Jane Goodall and some animal intelligence researchers in on the topic. Alex, the African gray parrot could talk "human" a thousand times better than the researcher could talk "parrot". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_(parrot) So little is really understood regarding "animal" intelligence (as if humans are not "animals"), it's premature to make any claims regarding human ownership of music; the humpbacks may have something to "sing" about that.

    By the way - within 150 years (though probably much sooner), I'll bet humanity is as stupid, dumb and intellectually challenged as it's pre-technological ancestors, cause we're on the road back to the stone age, if not extinction.

    NH

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    All bananas aside, i know of no naturally occuring duo-tone (harmony). That's not to say it doesn't exist. Also, that's not to say that one must have harmony to equate to music. Hey, i just found a pick under my chair.

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    [QUOTE=swampy;1043994]I think its safe to say that humans did not invent music, but rather discovered it.

    Bravo, it's math & physics with a little artistry thrown in. Discovered & refined is more like it. Next topic please

    Could take that whole article BTW.

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    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjones View Post
    All bananas aside, i know of no naturally occuring duo-tone (harmony). That's not to say it doesn't exist. Also, that's not to say that one must have harmony to equate to music. Hey, i just found a pick under my chair.
    A couple pairs of Greater Sandhill Cranes live in the marsh behind my house. Mated pairs of sandhills do a type of call called a `unison call' where both male and female call at once.

    Technically, the female calls a short call, the male calls a longer/different call, and the female does her short call again. They do this repeatedly, and while the first couple times they're in synch after a few they always seem to get `off' on timing such that they call at the same time, before resolving back to something close to correct timing.

    Unlike the coyotes I also hear singing together, this pair call is odd as there are two tones we are presented with, first rhythmically then loosely together. Importantly, these same two birds will do this unison call for years together ... I'd love to know if/how it changes over time, if they get `better' at it.

    http://www.savingcranes.org/images/s...nison_Call.wav

    Not sure that link will work direct, if you want to hear a sample scroll down to unison call on this page:
    http://www.savingcranes.org/sandhill-crane.html

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    All bananas aside, i know of no naturally occuring duo-tone (harmony).
    This may be call-and-response rather than strict harmony, but it is still worth noting:

    http://media.scrippscollege.edu/feat...ise-scientists
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  7. #32

    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    I did a little Googling and came across this little gem. Anyone else stumble upon this?

    "The Earliest Known Chord Progression? Believed to be over 4 million years old.
    The progression was found scratched in the sand next to the bones of Lucy.
    There is considerable debate among scientists over evidence that Lucy
    preferred the sound of an oval hole mando over the sound of an f hole mando."


    -----|-3---6---8-------|-3-6---8-8-------|-3---6---8-------|-6---3-3---------|
    -----|-2---5---7-------|-2-5---7-7-------|-2---5---7-------|-5---2-2---------|
    -----|-0---3---5-------|-0-4---5-5-------|-0---3---5-------|-3---0-0---------|
    -----|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
    |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_|

  8. #33

    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    gees you guys get serious will you . aliens taught us . didn't you see encounters of the third kind ?

  9. #34
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by richardbradford View Post

    -----|-3---6---8-------|-3-6---8-8-------|-3---6---8-------|-6---3-3---------|
    -----|-2---5---7-------|-2-5---7-7-------|-2---5---7-------|-5---2-2---------|
    -----|-0---3---5-------|-0-4---5-5-------|-0---3---5-------|-3---0-0---------|
    -----|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
    |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_|
    This is deep! But a bit off. Ignoring the key change and that these aren't power chords, it should be:

    -----|-3---6---8-------|-3-6---9-8-------|-3---6---8-------|-6---3-3---------|
    -----|-2---5---7-------|-2-5---8-7-------|-2---5---7-------|-5---2-2---------|
    -----|-0---3---5-------|-0-3---6-5-------|-0---3---5-------|-3---0-0---------|
    -----|------------------|------------------|------------------|------------------|

    Just sayin' ...
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I will sit down with you and talk about anything, anytime, anywhere that serves coffee.
    Very kind of you, sir. Sounds good to me, good buddy. If you ever come down here, the cafe con leche is strong, delicious, and plentiful.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Music? no. Musical Instruments to play, create, and express? yes. If necessity is the mother of invention, then the musical instruments were invented to take up some of the sermon time in church, to keep sanity among the church goers. Who can listen to all that preaching without a break, so voila'........... Now, music can bore you to death also....12 bars blues droning on.......a banjo beating your ear drums into crazy.....so along came Jazz, to entertain without boring. Any other questions?
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

  12. #37

    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    [QUOTE=journeybear;1044162]This is deep! But a bit off. Ignoring the key change and that these aren't power chords, it should be:

    journeybear, thanks for the laugh, but in defense of Lucy, I think she was still woodsheddin' the tune...

  13. #38
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    True enough! We have no way of knowing. The historical record has such scant evidence. Perhaps Ritchie Blackmore found this and took it just a bit further, and didn't give Lucy the credit. Didn't need to, either - after all, her copyright would have lapsed long ago. '

    I cant help noticing little things like that (a holdover from my editor training) plus I have been working up a version of this on the conch - a truly prehistoric instrument. Further proof (if any is needed) that music is within and merely needs a means of expression. Who would think to put a shell to one's lips and blow to make a sound, but a human, presumably with nothing better to do?

    Which reminds me (somehow) of something I observed yesterday. Playing a duo gig in a brick courtyard masquerading as a tiki bar - really, more of a pass-through area under a building - which is to say a setting with nearly no ambience, an elderly couple walking through stopped and began to dance to the swing tune we were playing on guitar and mandolin. It occurred to me that there had to be something within their brains that resonated with what we were doing to inspire them to dance. That is, the music within them responded to the music we were playing. We didn't have a drummer to set the beat; the rhythm was coming just from playing chords. I recall seeing people dance at folk shows to just a singer with a guitar. My explanation (not backed up by any book larnin', I admit) is that some people have a proclivity for responding to music this way. Like that song from the 90s - groove is in the heart. Of course it isn't, really - physically, technically, actually - even if the heartbeat may respond to music - it's in the mind, but Messrs. Marcus and Miller might want to bear this in mind next time either writes an article for The Atlantic.

    Last edited by journeybear; Apr-18-2012 at 10:55am. Reason: finding that groove
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Animals make musical sounds, but we are don't see any storytelling, except maybe the whales and dolphins. Gorillas seem to croon to their babies, gibbons' morning songs are said to be impressive, but we define music as something like a story, in that it has a self-correcting code that resists arbitrary substitutions, and travels at least somewhat outside cultural boundaries.

    Sometime before we could be called anatomically human we were already imitating animal sounds, showing off by doing bird calls or lion roars (groupies loved it), and likely developing group movements like the Maori haka dances, to intimidate enemies. So music, like spoken language, happened as an evolutionary process alongside the other selection effects that yielded genetically modern people. Since basically everyone can recognize familiar songs, this argues it is as old as language. How it works is pretty well understood in principle, but that's another discussion.

    We didn't invent music, we invented humans. Music is part of the package. BTW no one really invents anything out of the blue, it is always an evolutionary/engineering tweak to something already being done. The internal combustion engine is a modified steam engine, which is a modified air pump, which is a modified forge bellows, etc.
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    A Dee Lite video on the Mandolin Cafe. My week is complete!

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    I guess music invented humans so there be somebody to play her properly.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    With that in mind, I'm pretty sure that humans are the only animals that create music simply for pleasure, not purpose - or if not, then to such an extent.
    I'm pretty sure I can safely disagree with that, though I don't have the time to dig back through my various ethology texts and back it up at the moment. Till then, I'll simply go on record as saying that our general inclination, as pretty clever primates shaped by all the cultural baggage associated with "Western civilization," is to wildly underestimate the credit due to other species.

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I guess music invented humans so there be somebody to play her properly.
    Ah, a classical reading! Of course more contemporary classicists might have a stricter and more genteel concept of what music is -- founded in western harmony and the symphonic orchestral tradition.

    What is music? Colored time?

    The account provided above by journeybear (about resonance within and a sympathetic response to environment) makes for entree into discussion of aesthetics--and the aesthetic response. There is all manner--from the most superficial to the most profound. This bears resemblance to a recent discussion here where the two poles of perspective were intuition (aptitude) versus repetition (practice); the experience of rhythm is salient here--as it constitutes most generally concepts of "what music is"... some folks hear music, motion, poetry all the time; others can't find the beat if you hand it them.

    I've recently taken up hurdy gurdy--interestingly, a non-rhythm instrument which was widely used to supply dance music--a neat exercise in concept and execution

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    O
    Quote Originally Posted by Laird View Post
    I'm pretty sure I can safely disagree with that, though I don't have the time to dig back through my various ethology texts and back it up at the moment. Till then, I'll simply go on record as saying that our general inclination, as pretty clever primates shaped by all the cultural baggage associated with "Western civilization," is to wildly underestimate the credit due to other species.
    Aka, simple anthropocentrism (but where would we be without it?...a bunch of pacifist sissies or something! ...that ain't gonna put gas in your tank)

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    try this guy - booze started it all:

    http://reignofterroir.com/2010/10/13...mcgovern-pt-1/
    Indeed. I read somewhere that the development of cities, the basis of modern civilization, was made possible by beer -- large populations in one place so polluted the water supply that people could only survive by drinking beer instead of water. I still do.

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    I love terrance McKenna--ever since I heard him advocate thelonious monk and hallucinogenics for elementary education

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    A Dee Lite video on the Mandolin Cafe. My week is complete!
    Here to help! It may be only Wednesday, but what the hey!

    Well, ya know, it's all music. And if what you want to say has been said perfectly by some techno-pop faux-hipsters sorta discovered by Bootsy Collins 15 years ago, gotta go with it.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    ... I'm pretty sure that humans are the only animals that create music simply for pleasure, not purpose - or if not, then to such an extent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laird View Post
    I'm pretty sure I can safely disagree with that ...
    I'm pretty sure that I used that locution to allow myself a wee bit of wiggle room in that statement. My course work in this area is rather limited, but I still believe that the amount of musical sounds produced by the animal kingdom for any reason not linked to some purpose such as mating and establishing territory (primal instincts related to survival) is provided by humans in overwhelming proportions, compared to all other species combined.

    That is not to say that sounds produced by other animals don't have inflections that may have been intended to convey emotional content, but the creation of music implies the expression of an aesthetic sense - that is, beauty for beauty's sake, which serves no or very limited purpose from a survival standpoint. This is above and beyond producing music to attract a mate and such; I'm pretty sure we are talking about producing music for music's sake. Humans do appreciate the beauty we perceive in the plaintive calls of whales, the giddy chirpings of birds, the lonely howls of wolves, and so on, but these are perceptions and descriptions from a human standpoint, echoing the emotions a human would feel in order to produce these sounds, and have very little to do with the animal's intent. That is, just because we perceive these examples as plaintive, giddy, or lonely, that is how we interpret them, irrelevant from the reason they were produced.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Summers View Post
    Indeed. I read somewhere that the development of cities, the basis of modern civilization, was made possible by beer -- large populations in one place so polluted the water supply that people could only survive by drinking beer instead of water. I still do.
    Can never be too sure about that water.
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
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    Default Re: Did Humans Invent Music?

    I thought I'd settled this question long ago...


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