Who invented music? The search for stone flutes, clay whistles and the dawn of song

But researchers do know it happened thousands of years ago. The earliest civilizations throughout Africa, Europe and Asia had music. Back then, many believed it was a divine creation, a gift from the gods.

Indeed, gods and goddesses from many religions and mythologies are associated with music. Stories and works of art tell us that the African god Àyàn was a drummer; the Greek god Apollo played the lyre, a string instrument. In the Book of Genesis, Jubal – a descendant of Adam – is identified as the father of the harp and flute.

Scientists will probably never be able to credit one person, or even a group of people, with music’s invention. But as a musicologist – that’s someone who studies the history of music – I’ve seen many artifacts and much evidence that can help us understand how and why the ancients played music.

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