It could be a random dash of colours on a canvas or the logical flow of equations on paper. Or perhaps, the fluid motion of dance, or a blueprint of an architectural marvel. Art has always been man’s way of expressing his abstract thoughts and deepest emotions. Of many art forms that he has mastered, one of them uses the elements of rhythm, melody and harmony. We call this art music. Aficionados believe that music is the window to our microcosmic soul and a means to understand the macrocosmic universe through sound. But how did man find music?
Although the origin of music is untraceable, it is believed that music was a gift from Mother Nature. Perhaps, her sounds orchestrated the origin. Perhaps, the sound of chirping birds or the pitter-patter of raindrops inspired our distant relatives–the Neanderthals. Whether or not they had a language, it is said that they had a sophisticated form of communication. In fact, archaeologist Stephen Mithen, in his book The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body, says the Neanderthals might have communicated through music.
In all possibility, Homo sapiens too probably sang before they developed a language. In the Essay on the Origin of Languages, Genevan philosopher and music composer Rousseau writes: “The first language of humans was a song.” Researchers study different music forms and styles to understand the cultural aspects of ancient communities.