How Was Music First Written Down?

Ancient works of art that have been uncovered show us that music goes back as early as 4000 B.C. But the earliest form of written music with symbols has been traced to the ancient Greeks who used letters of the alphabet to represent musical tones. This music was written down for choruses who sang and for musicians who played early harp and wind instruments.

In medieval times, composers searched for ways to write music so that people could read it and know what to sing or play. Finally, in the 9th century, Neumes were introduced. Neumes were signs placed above the words of a song to show whether the melody should go up or down.

This idea was developed further in the 10th century by an Italian monk and music teacher, Guido d’Arezzo, who wanted a way to write down the religious music of the time. Guido introduced a set of parallel lines and a four-line staff, and named the first six notes of the scale: ut (later renamed do), re, mi, fa, sol, and la.

Music began to be notated as it is today in the 17th century.

Ancient people believed that music held magical powers which directly affected their lives and health!