How Was Rock Music Invented?

Posted by Mike Schuck

When people refer to the invention of rock music, they usually reference two events; The development of rhythmical patterns in African drums and European folk songs, and then taking those patterns and translating them into an instrument that we now call the guitar.

However, there is one event that gets left out of this story- the use of instruments for entertainment purposes. As early humans made sounds by banging sticks together or blowing through holes, it led to some interesting developments.

As time went on, they began using hollow objects to produce sound. A person would place their voice inside of these openings and listen to how things sounded.

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This concept was eventually put to use by someone who had a lot of natural talent. An Indian tribesman noticed when he blew air through his nose, hiss sounds would occur! He experimented with different shapes and sizes of noses until he found something that worked well.

He called this new device a lute because its shape looked like a lyre, a stringed musical instrument. People soon started adapting his design and changing the strings to make it fit their own personal preferences. This is what gave us our modern day instrument, the violin.

First concerts

Before there were songs, there was music! Early humans made sounds to express themselves, praise or lament an event, or just because they wanted to. This usually consisted of rhythmical patterns produced by rubbing body parts together or blowing through a hole or tube. These rhythmic sounds are called rhythms.

Early people also sang about things they experienced or heard, like poems that incorporated rhyme and meter. It is thought that early singers used voice modulation to emphasize certain syllables, which we now call vocalization. Some even estimated how much energy their song contained via loud-to-soft phrases.

These musical activities didn’t occur in solitude either; others would join in and contribute additional noises and melodies. As technology advanced, some researchers have suggested that these gatherings may have evolved into what we know today as music.

However, although it's true that early humans engaged in music making, this doesn't mean they conceived of music as we do today. For them, music might’ve been more akin to a chant than a piece with a theme and lyrics.

What Is Music?

Music is a universal expression that comes from the inner world and is shared across cultures. According to Aristotle, it consists of two components: rhythm and melody.

While anyone can appreciate rhythm (for example, when you're dancing to the beat!), most people are not very good at distinguishing between different pitches.

First recording studios

how was rock music invented

Recording music is a very difficult process to do properly, and one that takes a lot of time. Starting with someone singing or playing an instrument, people learned how to make noises onto a medium such as paper or tape. The early recordings were not perfect, but they served their purpose – to be listened to and inspired future musicians.

The first person to record themselves was Johann Sebastian Bach in his 20th century work “Chorale” (also known as Auf mein Herz tritt das Weinen). He wrote it for use during Holy Week when there are many sacred songs. Many versions of this song exist, so there is no definitive version!

Sir Edward Elgar also left some of us lucky individuals recorded pieces we know well. His most famous piece is called “Pomp and Circumstance March No 1” which he composed at the age of twenty-one for the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in 1902. It has been used in various movies and TV shows, including the Lord Of The Rings movie series.

These two examples show that even young talented artists manage to leave something behind them. Technically speaking, however, these recordings are just short bits stitched together. There is no real structure to them like what you would find in normal language.

First lyrics

how was rock music invented

Before there were songs with lyrics, music was mostly just sounds that people made. There’s an ache in your heart? You put some headphones on and listen to something sorrowful or beautiful, and it makes you feel better.

Thinking about things can make you feel good, so making a sound out of what you are thinking and singing or chanting them is a way to enjoy music. This is how our ancestors listened to music!

Some experts say that early humans sang laments to express grief, gratitude for gifts, or thoughts they wanted to share. They may also have sung praise or announced special events like weddings or birthings.

These are the precursors to human song later on. When we talk about pre-literate cultures, non-English speaking ones especially, this process of musical expression comes more naturally to people.

It seems almost intuitive to most people when they start listening to music.

With today’s technology, it’s easy to forget that not every person has the ability to speak and therefore cannot contribute to the art form that way. However, there are many ways to use music to achieve different goals, and one of those is writing your own lyrics.

You could write a poem to a particular tune, create your own lyrics, or even choose a familiar melody and add new words to describe something or someone.

First melodies

how was rock music invented

Before there were songs with lyrics, there were simple chants and tunes. These are what we now call music. The first instances of this go back at least two million years ago when monkeys would make sounds to attract mates or scare off competitors.

For example, chimpanzees will imitate other chimps making loud calls for food or to show their strength. Elephants make low rumbles called a bull roar that get lots of attention.

These noises are not fully-formed songs like ours, but they are still very powerful. For instance, when an elephant is being bullied it uses its roaring voice as sort of self defense.

By humans, “music” usually means repeated patterns built up into something that has rhythm and melody. When these components come together, it becomes more than the sum of its parts.

That’s why people often describe some pieces of music as beautiful or catchy. It goes beyond just pure sound.

So how did we develop singing? And later writing down those stories? By learning from animals! - Sarah Aleshire

This article was written by Sarah Aleshire, a writer who loves history. She is currently working on her Master's in History and teaches online courses in History through University Course Catalog. You can find her blogging about history topics on her website www.HistoryAsStory.com.

First recording equipment

how was rock music invented

Recording is a very important part of music. It’s what musicians use to make their songs, notes, melodies, and lyrics exist. Before there were people doing it, everything was written down by someone!

We now know that this isn’t the case anymore, but back in the early stages of recorded music, everyone knew how to write things down.

Musicians would take pen and paper and record what they heard or performed into a notebook, then go back and add sound effects and other pieces of music to create an album.

This process was time consuming, so most people didn’t do it too often. There weren’t many ways to get away with recording your own music as we have today.

It wasn’t until the 19th century when people began using instruments to create something more than just writing down a song.

First musicians

how was rock music invented

As we know, music has existed well before humans! There are theories that suggest music is an evolution of sounds that animals make for communication or to keep each other awake or asleep.

Some believe that early human beings made noises with their hands and feet and rhythmically repeated patterns of sound and space which morphed into what we recognize as music today.

Other studies suggest that early humans sang about personal experiences and songs were linked to social gatherings and celebrations. These stories would be passed down from person to person and eventually compiled into something we call music.

It’s thought that when these people united under one culture, they began to unite over common musical styles and concepts born from these roots.

First songs

how was rock music invented

Before there were formalized rules for song structure, lyrics, or melodies, early musicians made up their own things that we now consider standard parts of music.

Many of these components came directly from nature.

Music is a form of communication, so sounds such as whistles, howls, growling, moaning, and singing are all around us. Animals use sound to communicate with each other, and some even make noises to amuse themselves.

This gave birth to the first songs, which are just repeated patterns of sound designed to convey an idea or message.

These messages can be about love, sadness, hope, fear, etc., and people have used them to influence others for centuries.

It’s no surprise then that early humans would connect these ideas to their inner lives, creating what we call lyrical poetry or prose in music.

And while it may feel like today’s artists rip off this style, they actually bring new life to it by adding unique touches to keep it personal.

First television

how was rock music invented

Before there were songs, music was just sounds that people made while doing things. For example, singing is making a sound along with something else. There are some traces of this in ancient civilizations. Priests would sing during ritual ceremonies, for instance.

But it wasn’t until around 1800 BC when someone actually recorded their voice alongside what they were doing. This person sang a song and danced at an acadecacy. We now know them as we have recordings of musicians and dancers from this time period.

By recording your voice and matching it with what you do, it allowed us to see how professionals use music in the art form of performing. More than 200 years later, we still learn lots about performance marketing through studies of these early singers and dancers.

Television didn’t exist yet so most entertainment consisted of listening to or watching performers perform. It is thought that radio began this trend by allowing individuals to broadcast short messages.

However, it took decades before anyone figured out how to transmit pictures instead of sounds, which is why TV became popular. But one man did! He invented a device that could take advantage of this technology to make a difference.

He called his invention “televisions” because he wanted it to be used for viewing. His creation included light bulbs and wires connected to each other. When electricity flowed through those components, lights turned on!

This guy got very lucky.

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