Where to start!? Britney Spears? Madonna? Most won’t be surprised that music started way before any of these iconic artists, and there are many theories as to when and where…
Music can be traced back as far as ancient Israel, a thousand odd years before Christ, when King David apparently composed and sang hundreds of songs called psalms (we’re confident he would have dominated the Top 10 chart of the day). But music as we know it now, as having structure and form, is widely believed to have begun in the 10th century with Gregorian chants. Then, around the year 1200, troubadours singing “folk” music starting to appear in parts of Europe. The emergence of composers, made music, and the creation of the instruments such as the piano and flute soon followed.
The years 1750 to 1820 is known as the Classical period, with the piano being a composer’s instrument of choice. Mozart wrote his first symphony, Bach performed in London and Beethoven was finally born (not the dog, he came later). Many of the symphonies we enjoy today were written during this time.
In 1900, a man named Scott Joplin had composed and published the “Maple Leaf Rag,” an event many see as the beginnings of the music we know today as popular music. Soon after, new musical forms were taking hold. Jazz in the 1930s (Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday), big band music in the 1940s (Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington), and rock-and-roll (Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry) in the 1950s.
As the late fifties gave way to the early sixties, the rockabilly stars of the previous decade were fading away as they struggled to find material that would click with a new and energetic generation of kids.
It was at this point a large part of the innocence went out of pop music. And then came the British…. The Beatles were merely the most visible of the many British music acts that found success in America in the mid-60’s. Their sound and attitudes influenced everything that came afterwards and still even does today.
Fast forward through to the 70’s where arguably some of the best rock n roll of all time was recorded, to the 80’s where it seemed like almost every song had a 70’s sample in it! Music was changing fast. Electronic equipment opened the doors to experiment and was getting more sophisticated as artists like Kraftwerk and Jean Michael Jarre laid down some tracks that are still quite listenable to this day.
Indie, RnB, Hip-Hop and hundreds of other genres followed and it’s clear, many people have helped music evolve over the years.
Although each individual listen to various types of music they all started the same, with either a rhythm or beat. Music in general has made the world a better place. It gives people a way to express themselves. It crosses boundaries like nothing else, breaks down language barriers, social barriers, let’s us enjoy the moment, recall memories. It’s a friend, helps you heal or gives you the escape you need.
Sit back, turn it up and enjoy the masterpiece that is the creation of music. (Thankfully King David’s psalms are tricky to find)