It is known that upon entering into historical times, all civilizations had a
flourishing musical culture. It is unknown, however, where that flourishing
musical culture developed from. Some of the suggestions are that music was a
primitive language, or used to “expedite communal labor”, or a component of
It is relatively clear that despite prehistoric musical artifacts found in
central Europe, true Western music was born out of the Fertile Crescent. Here,
the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Hebrews developed cultures (as early as c.
3,500B.C.) which were eventually conquered by the Greeks, and later the Romans.
During these conquests, the conquerors brought the wonderful art form
these cultures had developed, into western Europe.
It is considered that in these early cultures, music was primarily used for
religious purposes, however pictures suggest it had other purposes as well.
These included military, festival, and general accompaniments. It is interesting
to note that music was always an accompaniment at this time, it would be a while
before music was entertainment by itself.
When music first arrived in western Europe, having been brought there by the
Romans, it immediately went under customization to meet the desires of the
people it had been brought to. Music found itself being limited by new rules
including the diatonic (7-note) scale which replaced some of the less restricted
systems of the past. At this early point in music’s history, the art was
already being laid out and set with the classifications, standards, etc.. Many
of the early concepts of music are incredibly spectacular because they have
survived. Prior to the Middle Ages, music had been prepared to entertain people
right to this very date, with considerably small changes to its original