The birth and development of music

The birth and development of music

listening to music improves health

listening to music improves health

The annual World Music Day is celebrated on June 21, 2024. It is an opportunity to take a look at how music and rhythm have evolved since ancient times. As the study conducted by Hattori and Tomonaga shows, when a group of chimpanzees were played a rhythmic piece, they began to dance to the tune! However, their vocal cords have not evolved for singing; they can only growl: listen to them. So, we humans owe not only many of our genes and our blood groups to the apes, but also our sense of rhythm!

So then, when did we humans start singing and playing music on instruments? Researchers have established that we started speaking during the Old Stone Age (2.5 million years ago and continuing until 10,000 BC), and started 'singing' a little later. The fact that we can sing and play instruments came about 40,000 years ago, when it was discovered that a flute was made using an animal bone, with seven holes in it to play 'tunes'. It is a must to click through this site and enjoy it to the fullest.

Ragams and Talams

Actual musical notation appears to have been established in Europe and the Middle East during the 9th century BC with interval notation ('do, re, ma, fa, po, la, ti') for singing and instrumental music. And in India, it is believed to have been there since the Vedic period (1,500- 600 BC) with notes ('sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni'). We had vowels ('sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni'), writes Dr Jameela Siddiqui. You can hear MS Subbulakshmi singing 'Soobbilu saptaswara' in Raga Jaganmohini, and Rupaka talam composed by Saint Thyagaraja (indicating that musical notes come from the navel, heart, tongue and nose of our body). Thus we have made significant progress since those days by organizing notation in a geometric and classical way and inspiring our musical taste.

But you need not be a connoisseur or listener of classical music, and listen to only MS Subbulakshmi, Bismillah Khan, Bach, Beethoven or Mozart, but also enjoy jazz, qawwali, popular and film music, as many do. They too are made up of octaves or parts of it – and with proper rhythm. Folk songs are extremely fun across the country and even around the world. A recent report by Alison Parshall in the May 17, 2024 issue of 'Scientific American' shows that folk songs are similar across the world and everyone enjoys them for their tune and tone.

The benefits of music

When you listen to music, your health improves. It doesn't matter if it's prayer, vocal or instrumental, classical or traditional, popular and film songs. The Johns Hopkins University site says that if you want to keep your brain young, play or listen to music. Learning to sing or play an instrument improves attention, memory, mood and quality of life. This is especially important for school and college students. Some sources have even suggested that learning or listening to music also helps the elderly avoid age-related problems.

There are many music academies in India that organize festivals from time to time where we get to hear established musicians and prominent youngsters sing and play instruments in Carnatic, Hindustani and Western styles. Let us join them and enjoy!

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