Pre-historic Music in Different Countries

Pre-historic music is a term in the history of music for all music produced in pre-ancient cultures (pre-history), starting around 60,000 years ago.


The use of the term ‘music’ is uncertain within pre-history. As in the folkloric music of much of sub-Saharan Africa, the idea of ‘music,’ as we know it, was somewhat distinct. Various languages traditionally have terms for music that combine cult, religion or dance. The circumstances in which pre-historic music took place have also become a topic of research. The sound made by music in pre-history would have been somewhat complicated, depending on the acoustics available. Some cultures have several examples of their music designating to mimic natural sounds. In some cases, this characteristic is related to shamanistic practices or beliefs. It may also assist in entertainment (games) or practical functions such as luring animals while hunting.

Pre-historic music in different countries.


India has one of the oldest and greatest musical traditions in the world—evidence of Indian classical music can be found in the Vedas, ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition. Tools such as the seven-holed flute and various sorts of complex instruments, such as the Ravanahatha, have been dug from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites. There is also proof of dancing figurines from Indus valley civilization, suggesting an organized musical tradition. A kind of lithophone has also been excavated in Orissa around 1000 BCE. The Nātya Shastra is the world’s oldest performing arts, including Indian theatre, early Indian classical music and Indian traditional dance.


Torres Strait Islander music and Australian Aboriginal covers the music of Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal Australians. Music has developed an indispensable part of the cultural, social, and ceremonial practices of these people, down through the millennia of their people and collective histories to the present day, and has survived for 40,000 years. The practices of the Torres Strait Islanders is similar to that of neighboring parts of New Guinea, and so their music is also similar. Music is a necessary part of Indigenous Australians’ cultural sustenance.


In 1986, many gudi (“bone flutes”) were excavated in Jiahu in Henan Province, China. They record to about 7000 BCE. They have about 6 and 9 holes each and were made from the void bones of a bird: the red-crowned crane. At the time of excavation, one was observed to still be playable.


In pre-historic Egypt, chanting and music were commonly employed in rituals and magic. The early Egyptians trusted the goddess Bat with the discovery of music. The cult of Bat was ultimately syncretized into that of Hathor because both were represented as cows. Hathor’s music was thought to have been used by Osiris as part of his struggle to civilize the world. The lion-Goddess Bastet was also deemed a goddess of music. Beats during this time were unvaried, and music served to produce rhythm. Small shells were used as whistles. During the time before dynasties in Egyptian history, funerary choruses remained important in Egyptian religion and followed flute or clappers.


In 2008, excavators uncovered a bone flute in the Hohle Fels cave near Ulm, Germany. It is one of the numerous similar instruments found in the area, which record to at least 35,000 years ago, making this one of the oldest approved finds of any musical instruments in archives. The Hohle Fels flute was discovered next to the Venus of Hohle Fels and a few miles from the earliest known human carving. On publishing the discovery, scientists implied that the findings confirmed the presence of a well-established musical culture when modern people colonized Europe.”


On the isle of Keros, 2 marble statues from the advanced Neolithic culture called Early Cycladic culture were unearthed together in a single grave in the 19th century. They represent a standing double flute player and a sitting musician performing on a triangular-shaped harp or lyre.


Oh, Canada. Our home and native land! Okay. Back to the article.

For 1000s of years, Canada has been populated by Indigenous Peoples from diverse cultures and different significant linguistic groupings. Each of the Indigenous groups had (and have) their unusual musical traditions. Chanting – singing is generally popular, with many of its players also using various musical instruments. They used the stuff at hand to make their instruments for 1000s of years before Europeans colonized the new world. They made animal horns and gourds into rolls, which were elaborately shaped and exquisitely painted.

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