Monday, June 25, 2012

TUBE OF SONG: The Complete and Utter History of Music on YT (Pt. 1)

PROLOGUE: Formation of the Earth from The Tree of Life (2011 A.D.)
Because, why not go back to the very beginning? FYI: The score is “Lacrimosa” by Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner, who wasn’t alive when the earth was formed but did a darn good job of imagining how it would be played by an orchestra.

Among the many, many theories about how music evolved on our planet is that of the repetition of sounds that predated actually putting notes together. One of the main ones was RHYTHM, which many argued came from the pre-literate beating of apes on logs, their chests, the ground or each others backs to show dominance and aggression and mark their territory – not to mention announce that they are horny [above]. As for the HARMONY AND MELODY side of things, some experts claim the dual influence of natural sounds like bird calls and elephant roars [below] and the exchange of sounds between mothers and infants, human or otherwise.
Modern equivalent: Drum Circles; Zoos; Maternity Wards.

Then, there was the problem of LYRICS, which the Hebrew Bible provided with its 150 Psalms, the oldest of which is Psalm 90 [above], which Moses allegedly composed it as a plea to the Big Guy Upstairs to get him and his flock out of the goddamn desert after 40+ years.
Modern equivalent: Jane Sieberry’s “Calling All Angels”; Paul Robeson’s “Let My People Go”; just about any blues song ever written.

“HURRIAN HYMN NO. 6” (approx. 1225-1400 B.C.)
This is the oldest known melody on Earth [above] in reasonably complete form, uncovered on clay tablets in the 1950s from what is now present-day Syria, part of 36 hymns praising the Nikkal, the Semetic “goddess of the moon.” So the first known song was composed in honor of a chick – and an imaginary one at that.
Modern equivalent: T-Pain’s “I’m N Luv (Wit A Stripper)”; Prince's "Cindy C"; The Penguins' "Earth Angel"; Roy Orbison's "Oh! Pretty Woman"; Train's "Drops of Jupiter."

DELPHIC HYMNS (approx. 138-128 B.C.)
In 1893, these two choral hymns [below] – basically odes to Apollo, the God of Light and Sun – were found inscribed in a stone wall in the ancient Greek city of Delphi. They are considered the first “unambiguous” examples of musical composition in that they both survived nearly intact and bore the names of their respective composers: Athinios and Limenius, both from Athens. Limenius is the more well-known, due to some confusion over the spelling of his colleague's name, and was believed to be a professional musician who was required to belong to the Artists of Dionysus guild, basically an early example of the pain-in-the-ass Musician’s Union except with more wine and sex.
Modern equivalent: The Beatles' "Sun King"; Vangelis’ “Oracle of Apollo”; The Polyphonic Spree’s “It’s The Sun”; Sheryl Crow's "Soak Up the Sun."

“SEIKILOS EPITAPH” (approx. 100 B.C.)
Another find from Ancient Greece [below] – which would later give us Vangelis, Yanni and Xenakis – is considered the oldest complete musical composition (including musical notation and the melody being "recorded" – namely, engraved – with its lyrics) discovered in 1883 on a tombstone in Turkey. The composer Seikilos purportedly wrote this in tribute to his dead wife Euterpe: ‘While you live, shine / Have no grief at all / Life exists only for a short while / And time demands his toll.’
Modern equivalent: Christopher Cross’ “Think of Laura”; Rascall Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most”; Wayne Cochran's "Last Kiss"; Henry Gross' "Shannon."

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