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History of Music in Africa

Many ethnographic studies demonstrate that music is a participatory, community-based activity.[74][75] Music is experienced by individuals in a range of social settings ranging from being alone to attending a large concert, forming a music community, which cannot be understood as a function of individual will or accident; it includes both commercial and non-commercial participants with a shared set of common values. Musical performances take different forms in different cultures and socioeconomic milieus. In Europe and North America, there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as a “high culture” and “low culture.” “High culture” types of music typically include Western art music such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern-era symphonies, concertos, and solo works, and are typically heard in formal concerts in concert halls and churches, with the audience sitting quietly in seats.

History /Origin of Music

Other types of music—including, but not limited to, jazz, blues, soul, and country—are often performed in bars, nightclubs, and theatres, where the audience may be able to drink, dance, and express themselves by cheering. Until the later 20th century, the division between “high” and “low” musical forms was widely accepted as a valid distinction that separated out better quality, more advanced “art music” from the popular styles of music heard in bars and dance halls.

However, in the 1980s and 1990s, musicologists studying this perceived divide between “high” and “low” musical genres argued that this distinction is not based on the musical value or quality of the different types of music.[citation needed] Rather, they argued that this distinction was based largely on the socioeconomics standing or social class of the performers or audience of the different types of music.[citation needed] For example, whereas the audience for Classical symphony concerts typically have above-average incomes, the audience for a rap concert in an inner-city area may have below-average incomes.[citation needed] Even though the performers, audience, or venue where non-“art” music is performed may have a lower socioeconomic status, the music that is performed, such as blues, rap, punk, funk, or ska may be very complex and sophisticated.

When composers introduce styles of music that break with convention, there can be a strong resistance from academic music experts and popular culture. Late-period Beethoven string quartets, Stravinsky ballet scores, serialism, bebop-era jazz, hip hop, punk rock, and electronica have all been considered non-music by some critics when they were first introduced.[citation needed] Such themes are examined in the sociology of music. The sociological study of music, sometimes called sociomusicology, is often pursued in departments of sociology, media studies, or music, and is closely related to the field of ethnomusicology.


Following the advent of writing, literate civilization are termed part of the ancient world, a periodization which extends from the first Sumerian literature of Abu Salabikh (now Southern Iraq) of c. 2600 BCE, until the Post-classical era of the 6th century CE.[63][64] Though the music of Ancient societies was extremely diverse, some fundamental concepts arise in virtually all of them, namely monophony, improvisation and the dominance of text in musical settings.[65] The “oldest known song” was written in cuneiform, dating to 3400 years ago from Ugarit in Syria. It was a part of the Hurrian songs, more specifically Hurrian hymn no. 6. It was deciphered by Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, and was demonstrated to be composed in harmonies of thirds, like ancient gymel,[66] and also was written using a Pythagorean tuning of the diatonic scale. The oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world, is the Seikilos epitaph, dated to either the 1st or the 2nd century CE.–-portugues/#comment-17431–-portugues/#comment-17428–-portugues/

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By the mid-13th century BCE, the late Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BCE) had developed writing, which mostly exists as divinatory inscriptions on the ritualistic oracle bones but also as bronze inscriptions.[70][71] As many as 11 oracle script characters may refer to music to some extent, some of which could be iconographical representations of instruments themselves.[72] The stone bells qing appears to have been particularly popular with the Shang ruling class,[n 17] and while no surviving flutes have been dated to the Shang,[74] oracle script evidence suggests they used ocarinas (xun), transverse flute (xiao and dizi), douple pipes, the mouthorgan (sheng), and maybe the pan flute (paixiao).[75][n 18] Due to the advent of the bronze in 2000 BCE,[77] the Shang used the material for bells—the ling [zh] (鈴), nao [zh] (鐃) and zhong (鐘)[60]—that can be differentiated in two ways: those with or without a clapper and those struck on the inside or outside.[78] Drums, which are not found from before the Shang,[79] sometimes used bronze, though they were more often wooden (bangu).
Women have played a major role in music throughout history, as composers, songwriters, instrumental performers, singers, conductors, music scholars, music educators, music critics/music journalists and other musical professions. As well, it describes music movements, events and genres related to women, women’s issues and feminism. In the 2010s, while women comprise a significant proportion of popular music and classical music singers, and a significant proportion of songwriters (many of them being singer-songwriters), there are few women record producers, rock critics and rock instrumentalists. Although there have been a huge number of women composers in classical music, from the Medieval period to the present day, women composers are significantly underrepresented in the commonly performed classical music repertoire, music history textbooks and music encyclopedias; for example, in the Concise Oxford History of Music, Clara Schumann is one of the only female composers who is mentioned.

Women comprise a significant proportion of instrumental soloists in classical music and the percentage of women in orchestras is increasing. A 2015 article on concerto soloists in major Canadian orchestras, however, indicated that 84% of the soloists with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal were men. In 2012, women still made up just 6% of the top-ranked Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. Women are less common as instrumental players in popular music genres such as rock and heavy metal, although there have been a number of notable female instrumentalists and all-female bands. Women are particularly underrepresented in extreme metal genres.[76] In the 1960s pop-music scene, “[l]ike most aspects of the…music business, [in the 1960s,] songwriting was a male-dominated field. Though there were plenty of female singers on the radio, women …were primarily seen as consumers:… Singing was sometimes an acceptable pastime for a girl, but playing an instrument, writing songs, or producing records simply wasn’t done.”[77] Young women “…were not socialized to see themselves as people who create [music].”[77]

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Women are also underrepresented in orchestral conducting, music criticism/music journalism, music producing, and sound engineering. While women were discouraged from composing in the 19th century, and there are few women musicologists, women became involved in music education “…to such a degree that women dominated [this field] during the later half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century.”[78]

According to Jessica Duchen, a music writer for London’s The Independent, women musicians in classical music are “…too often judged for their appearances, rather than their talent” and they face pressure “…to look sexy onstage and in photos.”[79] Duchen states that while “[t]here are women musicians who refuse to play on their looks,…the ones who do tend to be more materially successful.”[79] According to the UK’s Radio 3 editor, Edwina Wolstencroft, the music industry has long been open to having women in performance or entertainment roles, but women are much less likely to have positions of authority, such as being the conductor of an orchestra.[80] In popular music, while there are many women singers recording songs, there are very few women behind the audio console acting as music producers, the individuals who direct and manage the recording process.[81] One of the most recorded artists is Asha Bhosle, an Indian singer best known as a playback singer in Hindi cinema.


Popular music Edit

Main article: Popular music

Popular music is music with wide appeal[126] that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training.[127]


The original application of the term is to music of the 1880s Tin Pan Alley period in the United States.[127] Although popular music sometimes is known as “pop music”, the two terms are not interchangeable.[128] Popular music is a generic term for a wide variety of genres of music that appeal to the tastes of a large segment of the population,[129] whereas pop music usually refers to a specific musical genre within popular music.[130] Popular music songs and pieces typically have easily singable melodies. The song structure of popular music commonly involves repetition of sections, with the verse and chorus or refrain repeating throughout the song and the bridge providing a contrasting and transitional section within a piece.[131]

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In an essay on popular music’s history for Collier’s Encyclopedia (1984), Robert Christgau explained, “Some sort of popular music has existed for as long as there has been an urban middle class to consume it. What distinguishes it above all is the aesthetic level it is aimed at. The cultural elite has always endowed music with an exalted if not self-important religious or aesthetic status, while for the rural folk, it has been practical and unselfconscious, an accompaniment to fieldwork or to the festivals that provide periodic escape from toil. But since Rome and Alexandria, professional entertainers have diverted and edified city dwellers with songs, marches, and dances, whose pretensions fell somewhere in between.”

The music that composers and songwriters make can be heard through several media; the most traditional way is to hear it live, in the presence of the musicians (or as one of the musicians), in an outdoor or indoor space such as an amphitheatre, concert hall, cabaret room, theatre, pub, or coffeehouse. Since the 20th century, live music can also be broadcast over the radio, television or the Internet, or recorded and listened to on a CD player or Mp3 player.

Some musical styles focus on producing songs and pieces for a live performance, while others focus on producing a recording that mixes together sounds that were never played “live.” Even in essentially live styles such as rock, recording engineers often use the ability to edit, splice and mix to produce recordings that may be considered “better” than the actual live performance. For example, some singers record themselves singing a melody and then record multiple harmony parts using overdubbing, creating a sound that would be impossible to do live.

Technology has had an influence on music since prehistoric times, when cave people used simple tools to bore holes into bone flutes 41,000 years ago. Technology continued to influence music throughout the history of music, as it enabled new instruments and music notation reproduction systems to be used, with one of the watershed moments in music notation being the invention of the printing press in the 1400s, which meant music scores no longer had to be hand copied. In the 19th century, music technology led to the development of a more powerful, louder piano and led to the development of new valves brass instruments.

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