The History of Song

Let's take a few moments to look at a the history of song. The human voice is the original musical instrument. Singing is such an instinctive activity that there has never been a single civilisation discovered that doesn't sing. The earliest melodic sounds people produced were probably imitations of sounds found in nature. As cultures evolved, music came to play a central role in religious ceremony and helped maintain a lyrical record of events. This folk music conveyed the collective life story of the community that produced it.

The History of Song: Artistic Music

Art music, or music composed as an artistic reflection of life, didn't emerge until later on. The first civilizations to produce music for artistic reasons were probably located in early Mesopotamia. These cultures even had professional musicians, and the oldest noted music on record is a Sumerian hymn that dated before 800 B.C.

The Egyptian, Greek as well as Judaic cultures all appreciated music profoundly and created highly developed musical cultures. But it was Christianity, under the Roman Catholic Church, that came to dominate the next 13 centuries of the history of song western music. The original plainchant style (otherwise known as Gregorian chant) gave way to polyphony (music with more than one melodic part) in the ninth century. Then by the early 1600s, theater emerged as a new secular venue for music, and the grand age of opera began.

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The History of Song: Opera

Although opera may seem outdated to us today, it was enormously popular for centuries and played a vitally important role in the history of song. The opera was a great social and cultural event. Everyone went to the opera to see friends, to relax and hang out, to be seen, to make business deals, to eat and of course sometimes even to watch it. As the popularity of opera grew, so did the expectations of the audiences and new singing talent was in demand and sought from across the world. From Spain came the first castrati, or adult men who’d been castrated before puberty could change their voices. Then the early eighteenth century saw the first divas, as female sopranos claimed their place as the queens of the stage.

The History of Song: Technology and Popular Music

It wasn’t until after the World War I that popular music surged in significance and the history of song took a new course. As classical styles became less accessible and less attractive to modern audiences, people turned to jazz, blues, and swing music. People no longer had to go to the opera or concert halls to appreciate music, as new technologies like the phonograph and the wireless radio brought music into the home. Also electric amplification was important because it allowed singers to use a more natural, conversational singing style. Hollywood, began churning out musicals with gusto. By the middle of the century, a singers appearance became all important, as television began broadcasting performances and Les Paul’s invention of the electric guitar after the Second World War set the stage for the development of rock and roll.

Today, popular music is everywhere: on the street, in the buses, in homes, in workplaces. There are few places you can go without hearing music. Live performances, in venues ranging from concert halls to local bars, are accessible for most people. The proliferation of burned CDs and songs in the easily-downloadable MP3 file format have enabled a wide variety of international musical styles, sounds, and genres to flourish and find niche audiences.

The History of Song: Making Your Own Music

Making your own music has never been easier. Microphones, amplifiers, keyboards, and mixing equipment are easily available in models for almost every budget. Karaoke bars give anyone a chance to try out their singing skills in front of an audience, while competitions like American Idol encourage aspiring vocal artists to dream that they can be a pop star.

Is there any better time to be learning to sing than right now? No way! So enjoy the benefits of the modern world you live in and teach yourself to sing like a pro with the ultimate guide to singing like a star.

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