Music – it’s a misunderstood artform that very often doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
With bubblegum Pop dominating the charts and the majority of Hip Hop containing more profanity than genuine feelings, you’d be forgiven for thinking that music is nothing more than a commercial gimmick. A way of large record labels and corporations generating large sums of money off the back of the everyday Joe.
And while to a certain extent that may be true, back when money was no object, music was far more than just a commercial venture. It was an artform. One that was all about passion, love, romance and in its early days, even a form of communication.
So before you dismiss music as some sort of modern commercial gimmick, be sure to take the time to understand how special music really is. And why even today, it’s considered to be one of the most expressive and meaningful artforms.
When did music first come about?
Making music is one of the oldest art forms on the planet.
Way before anyone had even picked up a paintbrush, or even established any form of language, music was being used by ancient civilisations as a means of communication. Contrary to popular belief, music isn’t believed to have originated in Africa. The first known instruments were actually found inside caves in Germany; a bunch of flutes that (according to experts) date back over 42k years!!
Look seriously into the history of music, and you’ll come across a number of exciting discoveries that all point back to Europe as being the birthplace of musical instruments. A theory that starts to make a lot of sense when you consider that Europe is home to some of the largest romantic figures on the planet: Shakespeare, Dante and Sappho to name but a few. All of whom were poets, which coincidentally, is the base of pretty much all modern music, right from Rock & Roll to Jazz and Hip Hop. It’s all poetry… set to music.
A thought that makes even more sense when you consider that the original purpose of music (according to Charles Darwin) was thought to be a form of attraction. A way of prehistoric man signaling his ‘interest’ to the opposite sex.
Perhaps why love songs remain incredibly popular to this day?
What were some of the first musical instruments to ever exist?
There’s no shortage of musical instruments today.
However back in prehistoric times things were a lot different; musical instruments weren’t quite what you’d imagine. The guitars, pianos and violins we associate with music today were yet to be invented! For prehistoric man, musical instruments consisted of…
- Flutes – The first musical instrument ever to be invented was said to be the flute. The instrument in question was hollowed out of a piece of bone and likely blown through by our ancestors for either a hunting purpose or to attract a mate. Back then, there were no orchestras; flutes are arguably the most primal instrument you can find.
- Bullroarers – Quite an odd instrument and one that you very rarely come across today. Bullroarers were a thin slat of wood attached to a string, which were used by our ancestors to communicate over long distances. It’s said these instruments were used to ward off evil spirits during a whole range of tribal ceremonies and burials. Hence why today, bullroarers would serve little purpose.
- Lithophones – The easiest way to describe a lithophone is a piano-style structure where the keys are made of rocks and are played like a glockenspiel. Each rock playing a specific note when struck. And while the piano is thought to have originated in Italy, Lithophones couldn’t come from anywhere any further away; the lithophone is believed to have first been invented in Vietnam, in Asia!
Intrigued by the history of musical instruments? Be sure to click this link to learn more about all the instruments you can start playing today.
Why is music an artform?
There’s no question about it – music is certainly an art form. It’s even argued that today music is more of an artform than ever before.
With the vast array of music instruments and production technology we have in today’s modern era, producing original and thought-provoking music should be easier than it ever has been. So here’s 4 reasons why music is, always has been & should forever remain a respected artform…
The expression of emotions
Music has always been one of the easiest mediums through which to express emotion. Many argue there’s few better ways to do so.
The combination of heartfelt lyrics mixed with an insatiable rhythm is a pretty good recipe for romance. Perhaps because the beat of a song simulates that of your heart? So much so that certain songs may even fall in-sync with your body’s rhythms, causing them on a subconscious level, to even push-on certain emotional triggers!
Bringing ideas to life
Today’s world is black and white, but the world of music isn’t.
There’s no right and wrong when it comes to music. As with all arts, it’s wholly subjective. Something that alone is a good enough argument to say that music is a genuine form of art. Just as a painting is created by someone applying their ideas to a page, music is created by someone having an idea for a song, and using musical instruments to paint that image/ feeling in your head.
Team that with the fact that music (in comparison to physical art) is far more effective when it comes to expressing emotions, and you could even argue that the ideas conveyed by music are far more vivid & 3 dimensional.
It’s an artistic arrangement
As free-flowing and creative as both music and other artforms like painting and drawing may be, they all have one thing in common. They’re an arrangement.
Music is made up of an arrangement of notes within a given spectrum, timeframe and order. Just as physical works of art are an arrangement of colour across a given area, be that a canvas or a piece of paper. It’s this which is where the genius truly lies.
Anyone can create art, but it takes a very selective eye to be an artist, be that in music or at the helm of a paintbrush. The more you look into it, the similarities between music and arts are actually quite staggering!
Music tells a story
The reason a lot of great paintings are regarded as ‘great’ in the first place, comes back to the story they tell.
The Last Supper is a prime example, as are the countless other paintings touching on everything from historical battles and fairytales, to religious beliefs and provocative sexual escapades. And when you really look at it, the story’s much the same with music.
In fact, a lot of the best songs (especially the classics) take the listener on a journey, and the majority of the time tell a story. Love songs are especially prone to doing this, as relatable stories or snippets can instantly help the listener relate to the song.