Egg or Hen …
Which came first; tune or arpeggio or scale?
Which came first; tune or arpeggio or scale?
Well… considering how long music has “been a thing”, definitely tune. Music is a phenomenon of life, any formal system to attempt to notate it would’ve come after the fact. It gives me chills thinking about what kinds of sounds and expressions our ancient ancestors could’ve had.
Perhaps the first tunes *were* scales and/or arpeggios. I don’t mean the scales and arpeggios that are taught in music lessons. But a scale is, in a sense, a map of a given locality of the musical world - and all the scales together make up a map of the entire known musical world (from the perspective of one who knows only Western Art Music). If we imagine a culture at some undefined point in prehistory whose tunes consisted of three notes - for the sake of argument, C, D and E - then those three notes would constitute the musical scale for that culture; leave out the D, and you’ve got an arpeggio.
The real challenge is convincing the person behind the counter at your local fast food outlet that chicken and egg are one and the same.
You tell me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnHrSiraUcU
CreadurMawnOrganig “Perhaps the first tunes *were* scales and/or arpeggios.”
case in point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f51yPfhQZn8
None of the above. At first it is just one note…… then add on the next or befor that just rhythm .
The hen is just the egg’s way of making more eggs.
What if the ‘first notes’ were D and A ?
I reckon there is very probably a clear answer to this in research somewhere.
I would think tunes -
Scales (therefore arpeggios) vary around the world - we are socialised into them…
So I reckon individual tunes must have come first - in individual scales - I think arpeggios are subservient to scales…
@Choons Tunes vary around the world as well. Variance really isn’t a reason for precedence I don’t think.
Also, as many point out, scales/appregios are a species of tune. The question is a bit weird!
What! Colonel Sanders missed one?
What are you going to do if yodelling came first? ;^)
@callison: It really makes no difference either way as you can yodel scales and arpeggios as well as tunes. Even if it did make a difference, what *are* you going to do? You can’t re-write prehistory, since it was never written in the first place.
Jerone! You got it right off the top.
We can each try to explain, contain or analyse music but it doesn’t get to the unknown root of musical expression. No one knows for sure how it began. It may well have begun with someone feeling resonate vibrations in their jaw or playing with vocal tract articulations ( https://www.voicescienceworks.org/resonance.html ).
I love digging into the discussions about the structure of music. But that ain’t music. It is not musical expression. It’s how we talk about things. It’s scales and arpeggios. It’s practice. Theory is good. It helps in
comprehending the complexities.
But music is less than tame. Humans are perpetually curious and always changing; just like a good tune.
Any scale is less so.
And then there’s this …. https://youtu.be/eHdOT64Ycwc
@AB: Of course, Jerone’s answer is the obvious one - music theory only exists to help explain the parts of music that some of us don’t ‘get’ intuitively (for which I am indebted to it). My point is, if you go back to a time when music was made purely intuitively, untainted by intellect (supposing such a time ever existed), then there would have been no distinction between tune, scale and arpeggio.
This is how it went down.
In my opinion rhythm came first. This is a very old basque instrument called txalaparta which is played by to people sharing one rhythm. These two men are playing traditional, you can check other videos on youtube for modern style.
Haizea wins lol. Awesome video by the way!
I can’t imagine humans not singing…
^^Which came first, xylophone or bench?
…I’m not sure whether it is a ‘tune’ exactly, but it’s great music all the same.
We can guess that singing and/or percussion came first, but the only solid proof we have of what early music was like, are the paleolithic bone flutes. Small vulture wing bones, end-blown like a shakuhachi, and something like 35-40,000 years old.
One of the more famous and nearly-complete ones has something pretty close to a Pentatonic scale based on the hole pattern. Humans have been messing around with those kinds of intervals for a very, very long time.
This clip is from Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” documentary is interesting, complete with appropriate Cave Man attire by the presenter (although I like the Ringo Star movie clip better). No idea if the replica here has been tweaked compared to the original, but I think the hole spacing is probably the same:
Thanks, Haizea, I’m having my morning coffee and was wondering what all I need to do at work.
This being Friday I wanted to wrap up the week just right. I have boards, that’s for sure.
I am a carpenter & we are all musicians too.
As scary as some folks might find this thought, I suspect that drumming came first…
Cheers, AlBrown. Maybe. Tunes did not emerge fully formed from out of the ether. The question is how did the disparate elements come together and was it first an emotive expression of primitive music or an organised system of sounds which were (much later) formalised into the various scales, arpeggios, motifs, drum patterns, etcetera?
Dia dhaoibh! Greetings all!
I thought this might make you laugh a little; it answers a lot of points raised above
I hope the link works, maybe if not, if you search Google for The Prehistoric Piper by Bernard Dowd you should find it
All the best
Dia dhuit, Brian! I love it. Cheers.
Fabulous! I felt sorry for the aardvark or whatever it was though.