Think of a flute. By contrast to today’s auditory technology, it seems like such a simple instrument; a long rod with holes in it to pass air through creating sound. So simple in fact, a flute may have been the first musical instrument I history. A in Southern Germany, a flute similar to the one you’re thinking of was found, only this flute is thought to be 35,000 years old. L This flute’s story, unlike its build, is anything but simple. This flute is thought to be the mark of civilization of the Paleolithic era.
It, and the music it creates is an example of a human civilization going from merely reviving, to thriving, a pattern that would live on throughout human history. Seen through comparative analysis of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian timeliness; societies focus on music as well as music education marks the height of that civilizations academic, economic and spiritual existence. We can begin where many ideas in history have begun, in Ancient Greece. Eternally a stronghold of western civilization and topic of many a history lecture, Ancient Greece is a prime example of music marking the height of a nation’s society.
In the precious time after the Persian Wars, UT before the onset of the Peloponnesus Wars, Greece experienced what is known as the Golden Age or Classical Age of Greece. 2 While the Golden Age was literally named after the detailed statues and intricate pottery work found from that time in Greek history, the name also serves as a strong and accurate connotative meaning. It was during this age Greece, as well as Greek music, was at its peak. 3 Just as Greek government was pioneering the new use of democracy, Greek society was experimenting with a whole new perspective on music.
What had previously mostly en use for official military matters and exclusive celebrations was now being seen as an art; music became mainstream. Most music of the time was monophonic, it wasn’t usually written out but learned by ear or taught by example, later to be advanced by philosophers and students. 4 But it was the concept of music’s integration into every day society that revealed Grace’s rise to being a great civilization. Greece as a nation was no longer Just trying to sustain life and gain land, they had moved past that onto exploring new ideas and wondering about the universe and their own existence.
There were now artistic standards to be taught and followed, ones that would last for a sizeable denomination of Western Civilization. Athens, the capitol of Greece, led the forefront of the musical as well as educational focuses. Being the cultural and educational center of the world at the time, it would only make sense. In Athens, the great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle studied and theorized about music, further regulating the art and more importantly making it considered a significant part of society.
Plato in particular strongly stressed music’s role in education, he himself being a teacher. He believed music education, both vocal and instrumental, was necessary to strengthen the minds of his students. Being a student of Plato, Aristotle followed these ideas while inputting his own. Aristotle endorsed the concept of music as an enjoyable art, History of Music Education: Greek, Roman and Egyptian By Contradictorily taught) music took center stage in many classroom debates and Socratic seminars.
The Academy students were taught music as an important art, and spread this idea across Greece as The Academy was one of the most influential institutions of the early civilization, touching the minds of many and spreading the concepts and ideas through the youth. 5 No matter their styles, the two philosophers ideas on everything; politics, science, philosophy and of course music, were known to be true in all of Greece, cementing music education as a prime part off blossoming society. Later in Greek history, music was fully involved in society, and reached a communicable base with the help of Pythagoras.
Famous for the Pythagorean theorem, Pythagoras also is responsible for the development of the octave and the intricate formations of armory, which both serve as the base for both base and treble clef to this day and completely revolutionized music. The idea of the octave also gave way understanding some of the first string instruments, particularly the lyre, which some say was invented by the Greeks, and some say was the creation of the Gods. Pythagoras also had extensive theories about music involving nature and morality as well as music’s association with poetry and human morality that were widely accepted. However, it was the standards he created for music that would stand the test of time and define he Golden Age of Greece as the height of its existence. Even more fascinating than music’s existence at the height of Greece is its lack of existence as Greece fell. As Roman pressure finally corroded the great Greek Empire, Greek music, at the time, fell with it and was all but forgotten. Even with the great developments made, music and music education was completely at the mercy of it’s countries well being. Responsible for the downfall of Greece as well as taking its place as the great empire of the time was none other than Rome.
After the great expansions of the Roman Republic and the Augustan political rule era, Rome reached what is now known as the Paxar Romano, or Roman peace. This was a time of minimal expansion and military force, but immense cultural growth. Included in this advance were the arts, drama, philosophy, and of course, music. Influenced by the Greeks, used the same octave and harmonic ideas. But unlike the Greeks, music of the Romans was mostly comprised of military uses and choir performances for celebrations or drama. 7 Rome has possibly the most dramatic portrayal of musicality being influenced by the soundness of the society it dwells in.
Romeos greatest elaboration in music is a reflection of its greatest progressions in material and technology as well as the dramatic expansion of the Roman Empire itself. Some of the first evidence of brass instruments and modern (portable) drums were found in Rome; both of which were primarily used for military purposes. The availability of brass and finer materials was made possible by Romeos advancements in science and ability to acquire materials for something other than war and basic needs, something not possible in a struggling nation. The second reflection lies within the sheer size of Rome at it’s eight.
In the last century Rome had one of the largest expansions in history, so much so it would eventually lead to it’s downfall. Just like the Roman Empire, musical bands in Rome expanded as well. A new taste for larger and more extravagant bands came about in the high point of Romeos existence that would later influence modern military bands. As much as Greece influenced Rome, Romeos society and sheer size religion, in a variety of ways. Several of the Greek gods, an extremely important part of daily life, held associations with music or musical instruments.
This carried into Roman society as Rome adopted these Gods from the Greeks, simply with different names. In every nation across the world from China to modern America, music and religion are affiliated. 9 Just as religion can take hold anywhere and everywhere in history, music, in any form will go along with it. Moving north, more evidence of a nations well being influencing music can be found in the scrolls of Ancient Egypt. Between the 16th and 1 lath century B. C. E. , widely thought to be the result of expansion and strong leadership, Egypt entered a period known as the New Kingdom.
The New Kingdom is characterized by the incredible wealth collected by the Pharaohs due to successful foreign control that was spread through the land. This wealth and remote stability was responsible for several of the great pyramids, extravagant tombs and rich decorations of the time, rendering the New Kingdom Egypt strongest point in ancient history. 10 Percussion instruments such as drums and bells were popular and usually served one specific purpose. Egypt was also well tuned with reed instruments; ancient flutes and clarinets made of intricate parallel deed pipes played with mouthpieces and finger holes.
With the glamour of the time, instruments were not Just instruments, they were commonly decorated to suit whatever their purpose or event was. Just like the tombs and pyramids, Egyptian instruments were an expression of the culture of the time. Along with the well-known architectural and monumental feats of the New Kingdom, the fine arts took full advantage of this new grand period of Egyptian history. Unlike most other early cultures, attributes of the time were well documented with actual pictures, and the art of the time was portrayed in both walls and scrolls. L While not much is known about the musical composition of the time, there is immense knowledge about the musical instruments used. Instruments of the New Kingdom ranged from as simple as the human hand clapping to a beat to as complicated as string instruments resembling the modern harp. Not much is known about early Egyptian instruments, partially for lack of documentation and partially for lack of existence. It was only when an influx of wealth and cultural superiority cam to Egypt in the New Kingdom hat music was embraced and recorded.
Musical involvement in an Egyptian society increased with the economic and political power Egypt had, leading to a richer and more intellectual culture. The use of music and education of the art directly correlated with an increase of extensive burial and wedding ceremonies and impressive social and political events. 12 Be it Greek education, Roman Expansion or Egyptian riches, music, and music education is most relevant in a civilization at the height of it’s existence. The study of ancient of ancient civilizations can also teach us lot about our modern world, and music education is no exception.
Even today in the United States, the pattern of what a society is focused on depends on its economic and political status continues Just like it did in Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Faced with a twenty first century recession and heavily disputed political system, America’s focus on music and music education is dwindling. It is a known fact that when a school or after school program doesn’t have sufficient funding, music and coir programs are usually the first to go. In a recession such as the one we are currently in the midst of, education, presumably for fear of not being able to find work in creative fields.
While newspaper articles, official debates and even local news are focused on universal healthcare, foreign relations and the constant worry of employment rates, music is being left behind. It is simply a matter of focus. As a product of evolution, our priorities lay in doing what it takes to survive, and as with all other times in history, that of course does not include music or it’s teaching. When the going gets tough, the tough forget about he arts, but luckily, when a civilization is at it’s greatest, music and USIA education shine.