Musical History

Musical History

Tanner Golyer, Journalist

Music is a fickle thing, filled with ups and downs throughout the entirety of its existence. From Celtic music of the 1400’s to the Folk and Rock of the 60’s music has had its place in every moment in time. The oldest surviving musical instrument is a 60,000 year old Neanderthal flute made out of the thigh bone of a Cave Bear. So obviously we could do better than that. 


   The next oldest musical instruments discovered besides flutes were something called Bullroarers. These were used for long distance communication and for spiritual purposes by Australian Aborigines with the oldest being found in Ukraine (20,000 years old). Its incredible how we, as a species and probably the only ones on this planet, have been able to find harmony and joy from sound pitches for such crude instruments. I mean the cognitive structure you have to have to be able to pick up on such sounds as music which everything else would find to just be normal is…. I’m getting ahead of myself. But Music is truly a call to our soul, the deepest parts of us that make us human. Now after these thousands of years humans started to develop more advanced forms of musical expression with Drums, Trumpets and Lithophones (an early version of Xylophones). 


   But the true beginning of group musical expression was around the early days of Christianity, in the emerald isles of the islands that would become known as the United Kingdom and Ireland. Ancient tribes of Druids known as Celtics harmonized multiple musical instruments such as Drums, Harps, Tambourines and our old friend flutes. These made up what we could consider Bands of the ancient world which would have an impact on the future of music for centuries to come. In the Medieval times groups of people named Bards would travel with instruments of all sorts and play for Villages, Towns, and even Kings and Queens of Feudal Europe. These would go on to be called throughout the lands as Bands. And of course with this being in Europe, they spread across the globe into the America’s, the African continent, and Asia. 


   America has its starts with old style folk with music from different parts of europe coming in to mix and jive with one another. Celtic, Dutch, and Slavik musics had their hands in shaping music in America. But nothing had more of an impact than African music. From the slaves brought over, they brought with them a sense of their culture and music that went with it. Given a century or two these musics would all come together into one genre that shaped the music world forever… JAZZ! Guitars, taking inspiration from traditional European Lutes. Drums taking their inspiration from the tribal hymes of Celtic populations. And the Brass Beasts themselves, Flutes, Trumpets, Trombones, and Clarinets all had their own part in this wonderful new artstyle of musical expression. And for those who could see the popularity of these new groovy tunes they hopped on and made it their own, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller just to name a few. Fast forward a decade or two the world was ravished, another world war and now a slowly building Cold War have just happened and humanity is trying to pull itself back together. But down in America a new genre of music was emerging in the height of American culture, the 50’s. 


   Rock and Roll had emerged as a niche genre but soon gained mainstay popularity with people like Buddy Holly and Elton John. being played in car radios, homes, and the most groovy place the diner. The 60’s started to show the faults in the American culture system. Vietnam had just started and a majority of Americans were in support of this war seeing it as our honorable duty, Civil rights were being fought for in a brutal battle of mental and speechful attrition, and in the midst of this chaos a spark of light would emerge in a world of hell bent war. Rock and roll had emerged into the broader range of classic rock thanks to bands like The Beatles and CCR. Folk started its path to greatness with artists such as Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs speaking what the people wanted to hear, which would soon become counter culture. 


   The late 60’s and early 70’s can be seen as the golden years of music. Funk and Disco have become the newest groove on the dance floor, Vietnam was becoming more and more unpopular amongst the American people, and Woodstock had just ended whilst showing some of the greatest talent ever. I’m talking about Jimmy Hendrix, Crosby Still Nash and Young, and the Grateful Dead whilst inspiring many more into the music world. Counter Culture was in full swing but the money signs from the popularity was too appealing to some. 


   After the end of Vietnam and the era of Love and Peace, the Music Industry took these art forms of heart and soul and started to manufacture singing puppets only to produce fame and money. The 80’s were a time of rejoicing with the end of Vietnam and an Economy coming back better and stronger due to the Reagan Administration, this also prompted a ripe market for music that was more up beat. Pop exploded with Madonna, Micheal Jackson, Blondie, Rick Astley, DEVO, Prince. These arguably made amazing music that was both sealed with radio station gold and dance floor gold. But diving into the lyrics it can get very dull and not deep whatsoever. 


   The 90’s kicked off with a bang involving the Iraq War and Operation’s Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. This also came with a decade of angst and edge with a more dull outlook on life following a generation of Baby Boomers becoming old and millennials starting to take the stage and not to mention a scuffed Presidential candidate with the last name Clinton. Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Greenday are just some of the few alternative rock groups that expressed these feelings of unfairness and angst to those across the world becoming Hall Of Fame bands in their own right for their ability to swing the culture of America. 


   The 2000’s saw a re-emergence of Pop with singers like Brittany Spears, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, KESHA and Katy Perry. This was a time to feel good and be yourself with no regards for the bad in the world. This was also a time for the rebirthing of clubs and late night hangouts that blasted this music till the breaking of dawn. It was a good time for those who enjoyed this kind of music. 


   But oddly enough the 2010’s never really had an identity of their own when it came to music. It was generally the same pop style of music. And coming into the 2020’s it’s kinda the same. Spotify has allowed for more artists to get their name out there like Jack Stauber and Joji, but these artists are yet to hit the radio waves. But one thing can be said for sure, the time of the Radio dominating the music world is over with Spotify allowing for more artists to be listened to on our phones which are constantly with us. And since the radio is the king anymore they can’t control the music that is played and smaller artists can finally have their time in the spotlight whilst not being tied down to the music industry’s scummy practices and binding legal work. 


   Before I end this nice chat we’ve had about music I would like to shout out some local talent that goes to this school themselves. Beeler is a home-bred songwriter that in their own words describes their music as, “a blend of bluegrass roots, grit, intricate lyrics, and garage rock influence that creates a sound unlike any other.” They will be pursuing a song writing major at Belmont University in Nashville Tennessee very soon so keep an eye out on this one people. Now for our other local talent. Max Frost or ‘Caffeinated Beverage’ is a single man with a plan to spread the word of his music around the world. He describes it as, “A simple blend of acoustic and sounds, paying homage to the artists that influence me and making it my own.” truly a new age for the music world. Well my friends this is all the time we have.

Until next time, Arapahoe Xtra.