Decorated flutes from mammoth bones have been found
in Cro-Magnon settlements in Europe. Castanets and other percussive instruments were made 30,000 years ago.
Music has always been the binding force in
human societies. There has never been a culture without it. Many traditions regard
sound as sacred, as the primal rhythmic forces that harmonize the universe.
the 6th century BC, found that sound is subject to mathematical laws and proportions– and that music is linked
to all phenomena: the seasons, tides, and the balance and dischords of the human spirit. He considered music to be the sound
He experimented by hanging different weights on
strings of adjustable lengths, and plucked strings so as to produce different sounds. He discovered that the shorter the string,
the higher the note. Halving the length of a vibrating string produced a note one octave higher.
Combinations of notes when the string lengths were
in ratios 1:1, 1:2, 2:3, etc., he found, were pleasing to the ear. The belief that numbers possess such meaning remained associated
with the study of musical harmony for nearly 2,000 years.
The ancient Chinese believed that music was
the basis of everything, that all civilizations were shaped and molded according to the kind of music performed. According
to Confucius, if the music changed, then society itself would change.
In Hinduism, the god Shiva
Nataraj represents the vibrations of all matter. The patterns of Shiva’s choreography translate
into musical harmonies: the changing of the seasons, the structure of snowflakes, sunflowers, and crystals. In Hindu tradition,
rhythmic vibration is not just an element of creation. Rather, creation is rhythm.
An ancient Sanscrit hymn has it that "your body is a sacred vibration."
that each celestial body produces musical tones that depend on the distance and speed of the star to earth.
The ancient Greeks believed that the circular movement
of the stars was a sonic harmony– and that music was the union of word and sound as an inseparable unit.
This led to the theory of the ‘music of the
spheres,’ wherein cosmic music accompanied the heavenly spheres in their revolving dances.
Ancient belief systems might easily be seen as
the transmigration of rythmic patterning to current scientific research such as quantum mechanics, and wave and string
(Notes are paraphrased excerpts from "Einstein’s
Violin," by Joseph Eger)