Nothing concrete has been established about the origin of music in our species. The earliest remains of musical instruments date back only 40000 years. But we may have been making sounds much before that as the voice box had started descending to a position lower in our neck region around 1.8 million years ago. So those ancient skulls reveal , they say. Some say, that as human babies had bigger heads than the older primates, they couldn’t cling to the mother and the mothers had to carry them around . The origin of the use of sounds may have been some form of “motherese” , says one hypothesis .
Darwin was of the view that music may have been used by our species much like bird songs, by the male to attract the female. Whatever may have been the origin, music may be one factor that helped bonding amongst the early homo-sapiens and given them the advantage over neanderthal man, so one theory goes and there are many.
It’s a remarkable ingredient of our lives. No two ways about it . Listening to one’s favourite music reportedly gives us a dopamine rush but the why is still a riddle as it does not have any intrinsic direct value in the evolutionary process like food or sex.
Why do we feel sad when listening to certain strains of music and why do we feel joyful while listening to others? Indian classical traditions even have particular ragas for the different times of the day and if you listen to them, they do evoke the moods that one would associate with the hours between the rising of the sun and it’s setting.
Here’s an early morning raga:
An afternoon raga:
An evening raga:
One for the night :
I’ve been reading up on all of this all day , all the time listening to the lilting melodies of Lata Mangeshkar, who turned 86 today. Her songs have matched all our moods and many , many of her melodies have a timeless quality .
Wishing Lataji a healthy , peaceful life .
Here’s a link to a nice collection of classical songs from the great singer.