The prehistoric era is considered to have ended with the development of writing, and with it, by definition, prehistoric music. "Ancient music" isthe name given to the music that followed. The "oldest known song" waswritten incuneiform, dating to 4,000 years ago from Ur. It wasdeciphered by Prof. Anne Draffkorn Kilmer (University of Calif. atBerkeley), and was demonstrated to be composed in harmonies of thirds,like ancient
, 1976,Bit Enki, Berkeley, Calif., LCC 76-16729), and also was written usingaPythagorean tuningof thediatonic scale.Double pipes, such as used by the ancient Greeks, and ancient bagpipes,as well as a review of ancient drawings on vases and walls, etc., andancient writings (such as in Aristotle,
Book XIX.12) whichdescribed musical techniques of the time, indicate polyphony. One pipein the aulos pairs (double flutes) likely served as adroneor "keynote,"while the other played melodic passages. Instruments, such as the sevenholed flute and various types of stringed instruments have beenrecovered from theIndus valley civilizationarchaeological sites.
) can be found from the scriptures of theHindutradition, theVedas.Samaveda, one of the four vedasdescribes music at length. The history of musical development in Iran[Persia]Persian music, dates back to the prehistoric era. The greatlegendary king, Jamshid, is credited with the invention of music. Musicin Iran can be traced back to the days of theElamite Empire(2,500-644B.C). Fragmentary documents from various periods of the country'shistory establish that the ancient Persians possessed an elaborate musicalculture. TheSassanianperiod (A.D. 226-651), in particular, has left usample evidence pointing to the existence of a lively musical life inPersia. The names of some important musicians such as Barbod, Nakissa and Ramtin, and titles of some of their works have survived.The termEarly musicera may also refer to contemporary but traditionalor folk music, includingAsian music,Persian music,music of India,Jewish music,Greek music,Roman music, themusic of Mesopotamia,themusic of Egypt, andMuslim music.
Early music is a general term used to describe music in the Europeanclassical tradition from after the fall of theRoman Empire, in476CE,until the end of theBaroque erain the middle of the18th century. Musicwithin this enormous span of time was extremely diverse, encompassingmultiple cultural traditions within a wide geographic area; many of thecultural groups out of which medieval Europe developed already hadmusical traditions, about which little is known. What unified thesecultures in the Middle Ages was theRoman Catholic Church, and itsmusic served as the focal point for musical development for the firstthousand years of this period. Very little non-Christian music from this period survived, due to its suppression by the Church and the absence of music notation; however, folk music of modern Europe probably hasroots at least as far back as the Middle Ages.
While musical life was undoubtedly rich in the earlyMedievalera, asattested by artistic depictions of instruments, writings about music, andother records, the only repertory of music which has survived from before 800 to the present day is the plainsongliturgical music of theRoman Catholic Church, the largest part of which iscalledGregorian chant.Pope Gregory I, who gave his name to themusical repertory and may himself have been a composer, is usuallyclaimed to be the originator of the musical portion of the liturgy in its present form, though the sources giving details on his contribution datefrom more than a hundred years after his death. Many scholars believethat his reputation has been exaggerated by legend. Most of the chantrepertory was composed anonymously in the centuries between the timeof Gregory andCharlemagne.During the9th centuryseveral important developments took place. First,there was a major effort by the Church to unify the many chanttraditions, and suppress many of them in favor of the Gregorian liturgy.Second, the earliest polyphonicmusic was sung, a form of parallelsinging known asorganum. Third, and of greatest significance for musichistory,notationwas reinvented after a lapse of about five hundredyears, though it would be several more centuries before a system of pitchand rhythm notation evolved having the precision and flexibility thatmodern musicians take for granted.Several schools of polyphony flourished in the period after 1100: theSt.Martial schoolof organum, the music of which was often characterized by a swiftly moving part over a single sustained line; the Notre Dameschoolof polyphony, which included the composersLéoninandPérotin,and which produced the first music for more than two partsaround1200; the musical melting-pot of Santiago deCompostelainGalicia, a pilgrimage destination and site wheremusicians from many traditions came together in the late Middle Ages,the music of whom survives in theCodex Calixtinus; and the Englishschool, the music of which survives in theWorchester Fragmentsand