We look at music today as a behemoth that has so many different forms, genres and sub-genres than we can count.But have you ever considered where all these forms of music came from?

The origin of the first ever music is a bit hard to decipher because recorded history does not go as far back as ancient times namely the Stone Age where humanity experienced its first taste of what culture is and what they are capable of as a species. According to scholars, humans began to Create art in the form of paintings on cave walls, jewellery and also music approximately 50 millennia ago. This rudimentary music most likely had a much simpler form, and mainly consisted of singing, the clapping of hands or the banging of items on various surfaces to produce a sound. This helped them to build an identity , increase their chances of survival and served to lay the groundwork for what music would eventually evolve into music as we know it. Our early ancestors were said to also craft very simple instruments with which they could play even more complex forms of music but  the approximate date is mostly unknown.

Djive Baba flute, the first instrument

One such famous instrument is the Djive Baba flute. This flute was discovered in a cave in Slovenia in the mid nineties, and is thought o be at least fifty thousand years old. The subject of whether or not it truly was a musical instrument used by our ancestors is a controversial one, with some scholars claiming that the flute is just a bone fragment that had been chewed up by an ancient animal. The reason why this explanation is most likely flawed is because the bone has holes that are almost perfect in shape and are also perfectly spaced apart and so therefore was intentionally crafted by human hands. Over the years, other instruments were discovered with furthered the theory that our ancient ancestors has musical instruments although there is no proper record of this.


As humans began to disperse all around the world, they took their knowledge of music with them. As various cultures and civilisations began to appear, their music also evolved alongside them into something completely different. The music within a particular culture is what it is because of many determining factors, like the climate, their own personal

experiences and what sort of technology they had invented at the time or had access to. These factors, obviously being drastically different in various groups would result in completely different forms of music around the globe. Because at this time there were no proper form of written records this kind of music is called prehistoric music. Later in history, as humans were getting round to recording their feats we were able to take records of our music, and by then music had already become reasonably diverse in its forms in the world. This is mostly known as ancient music and goes as far back as 1000 BC.

So now we know that music is indeed very old. But what happened after the advent of historically recorded music? As various cultures began to develop so did their music. The people that eventually settled in Europe initially developed medieval music, as this was the only kind of music available to them at the time, around the year 1400. This form of music

although complex in itself was still relatively very simple in nature at the time. But that changed when renaissance music was introduced. The exact beginning of renaissance music is not clearly stated but it was mostly believed to have began in Italy, but others argue that renaissance music actually began in Northern Europe ,more specifically central and northern France, the Netherlands and Belgium.This style of music was highly favoured because of its smooth polyphonic nature. As technology advanced, so did the methods with which music was preserved and shared. Printing had been invented and  therefore aided in the the mass dissemination of music. Baroque and Classical music also made an appearance before the turn of the 20th century.

All other cultures and groups underwent their own form of music discovery and as time progressed their music evolved as well. Fast forward to the 20th century and almost every continent had their own form of music unique to them alone. In places like west Africa, drums and rhythmic music became the identity of their culture. India and other parts of Asia are also characterised by monophonic(based on a single melody)etc. Present day music is the most evolved and complex form of music. The factors that caused for music to be different within various cultures do not apply as much as before(access to technology, climate etc) and the world has become a global village.

Music in its current form

Music genres were born from the fact that different people have different tastes in music,Classical music from the classical era is still so popular that it still persists today as a genre of music preserved on the internet. So many other genres are the direct result of the persistence of ancient music, like Afropop in west Africa, which focuses on rhythm and drums.

What is your favourite genre of music? Is it hiphop?jazz? Or is it classical music? They all developed from centuries of evolution and we can thank our predecessors for what we currently call music.