September 11, 2018

5 Mythological Reasons We Have Music

by Prince Chandran

Music is an integral part of life, we have different genres of music we hear every now and then. Though the human voice was probably the initial choice for prehistoric man, instruments have been found which date back more than 35,000 years.

The music has some myth connected to it from various cultures. The creation of music and its instruments are very different from culture to culture. Here are some of the known legendary reasons we have music.

 

Various Culture – Greek

  Hermes Music

There are Greek gods for everything. But Hermes known as herald to the Olympian gods was a god of thieves, merchants, and literature. When he was kid he left home and ran to his brother Apollo and grazed his cattle, One day Hermes caught a tortoise, killed it, and hollowed out its shell. Using some intestines from one of Apollo’s cows, he crafted the first lyre.

When interrogated for the theft by Apollo , he played the lyre so brilliantly that Apollo traded his cattle for the lyre.  Hermes is credited with the invention of flutes.

There is an other character who is very much involved in the creation of music , that is Orpheus, he was called the ‘father of songs’. Given his first lyre by Apollo himself, Orpheus was said to have played so beautifully that animals, trees, and rocks would dance around him. After his death, his lyre was placed among the heavens as a constellation, playing its sweet music for the rest of eternity.

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Apollo Culture-  Roman

   

Apollo was the only Greek god who was adopted by the Romans without the change in the name. Apollo was the god of sun, truth, healing and music. The title God of music is awarded to Apollo by Zeus himself after  the battle with python on Mount Parnassus. After killing the beast with a arrow, Apollo started playing the victory song with a lyre his music was so perfect, he was immediately made the god of music.

Not only this but from time to time he had to defend the title with various musicians.  A satyr named Marsyas challenged the god to a musical competition, using a double flute. He failed miserably.

Jubal Culture – Judaism

     

Jewish tradition treat Jubal as the ” father of all such as handle of harp and pipe.” The son of Lamech, himself said to be the most ancient poet of the world before the flood, Jubal is said to have invented various stringed and wind instruments, chief among them being the before mentioned  harp.

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Later the rabbinical writings from The great Midrash also credit Jubal in inventing all the music instruments and as well as singing itself.  Later Christian and Muslim writers associated music with Satan himself, believing it had a pseudo-magical influence over human beings.

 

Saraswati Culture – Hinduism

   

The Hindu goddess is known as goddess of literature and arts. She is the daughter of Lord Brahma who is the creator of the universe. She is also credited with the invention of the Sanskrit language.

Her creation was at the hands of Brahma, who made her after discovering the melody of mantras in the chaos of the unformed universe.  And other myth was various ghandharvas stole a ritual plant known as the Soma plant, which they were tasked with guarding, Saraswati went to them on behalf of other gods. She played her Veena to the ghandharvas they liked it so much that they asked her to teach them, she agreed to teach only if they handover the soma plant and thus a new musical genre was invented known as ‘raga’.

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Ling Lun Culture – Chinese

   

The legendary founder of music for ancient China is Ling Lun. The Yellow Emperor, a deity in Chinese religion, is said to have ordered Ling Lun to create music. Ling Lun’s first attempt was a flute made out of bamboo, which was said to be unpleasant. There is a myth thant once when The Yellow Emperor was passin gby on his horse, the music startled the horse and the emperor was thrown to ground.

When he arose, Ling Lun fell to his knees, embarrassed and ready to accept death. However, the Yellow Emperor was astounded the flute made any noise at all and told him to continue his efforts. Eventually, Ling Lun ended up at Mount Phoenix, named after the mythical birds which frequented the area. The male and females each sang six distinct tones, and he carved his flute to match their pitches.

   

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