Did humans discover music, or did humans invent music? Did humans discover music, or did humans invent music? This question has been bouncing around my head recently. Did we discover or invent music? Obviously we discovered the principles of simple harmonic vibration and the properties of certain objects that produce pleasant notes (including our vocal chords). But did we invent music? Did we invent the dancing, spinning, beautiful combination of those basic sounds? Is music a property of the universe or is it a creation of our minds? Perhaps this is a silly question. I don't know. But I am going round and round and can't find an answer. What do you think? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XnouCVQ_O8   What do you think?

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I agree that it is a little of both.  Humans discovered the sounds of nature but they also invented their own music.  We invented terms and conditions for music.  We discovered that different objects make different sounds.  That discovery led to the invention of musical instruments.  I don't think the  two can really be separated.  It has to be a little bit of both.

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This is going to depend on how we define music, as pointed out above. 

The answer, for me, is that human music was invented by humans.

If we want to expand our definition of music to include bird song, whale song, and plethora of rhythmic and melodic aspects of nature, I think we would end up saying that music was discovered but we'd also be washing out our definition of music. We'd just be talking about pleasant sounds...

I think the point made suggesting that music is a combination of invention and discovery, a recombining and  ordering of pre-existing elements of our world is an interesting one. But isn't invention always, by necessity, an act of novel recombination and ordering of pre-existing elements? 

The wheel was an invention even if it was made out of materials that already existed, right? There is an element of discovery to all invention. Yet, because the product of that invention brings into being something that did not exist in its final form before, we call this an originary act, a creation, an act of invention. 

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I think people imposed order on sounds to make music in the same way we imposed order on images to make art. They were there already, but people order them in such a way as to create music. As others have pointed out, this is a fantastic discussion question.

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I think that they invented it.  Sure, the world is full of sounds.  Some of them are pretty and some aren't.  But none of them conform to the kinds of formalized systems of sound that we call music.  Bird calls are beautiful, but they're not music.  There are lots of sounds in the world, but only humans make music.

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A little of both, I think. Humans probably "discovered" that certain sounds and rhythms were pleasant, possibly by accident. Then they probably started experimenting with different ways to make music, which led to the invention of instruments, and then things became more and more complex after that.

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