The Origins of Music


Every culture uses music for essentially the same reasons: to inspire, to energize, to sooth, and to bond with others. While there are many theories and speculations about the origin of music, there is yet no real understanding of it source and beginning.  Music, like speech, doesn’t leave artifacts. There are no artifacts that can be traced to its prehistoric beginnings, so any theory of the source and origin of music remains just that:  a theory.


One popular theory is that music originally spawned from the “playful” voices mothers use when speaking to infants. According to this theory, the way adults talk to babies and infants, using the soothing sounds made when nursing was the first step in the “evolution” of music. The theory goes on to say that evolutionary changes in human brains occurred between one and two million years ago resulting in earlier births; which meant more fragile infants and a critical need for a stronger relationship between mother and child to protect them.


The theory is called “motherese” – an evolutional strategy to strengthen the maternal bond to help ensure the infant’s survival.  Babies born earlier would need more care and protection in order to survive, and this would mean the baby communicating its state and needs more clearly to the mother by crying and other signals. The maternal response of making soothing “musical” sounds to calm the infant with “sounds from the mother’s voice and the nonverbal responses by infants were  “codes” that both babies and mothers understood’ and those sounds were the evolutional basis for music and singing.


Others theories suggest that music exists for males to attract sexual partners, with the most skilled musicians being rewarded with the best mates. Which would explain the invention of the “Rock Concert”.


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