Music is not confined to the human world. Moreover, sound in some variety of more – or – less organized form was used to express emotion long before music, in the narrower sense, originated. Among animals, sound is the vehicle of such communications as warning calls, threats, and the like, and it also serves to express rage or love.
If we look back from our compartmentalized culture to early civilizations, we find that music was not a clearly defined, separate field of human endeavor, but was an inextricably connected with bodily movements, such as dances and gestures, and with words. In primitive society the magic role of music was enormous, Music was a basic element of incantations and prayers, and it was thought to produce certain tangible effects— for instance, the healing of sickness.
Primitive magic was often practiced collectively by groups of tribal members; in some tribes it was the monopoly of the priests — shamans or medicine men— who knew the secrets of working the charms. Evidence of these practices is found in the ethnological museums of the world, where musical instruments used in magic ceremonies, incantations and medical cures are displayed or preserved.
Among such instruments we find scrapers, rattles, drums, gongs, bells, cymbals, flutes, conch shells, trumpets, slabs of rubbed would, bullroarers and others ( Figures 4 – 6) The materials from which they were made, the sounds they produced, the way they were played, and above all, their shapes contributed to their symbolic significance, which was established strictly by tradition.
A case in point is those flutes, vertical flutes especially, which were recognized as male symbols reserved to the priests of the societies of men and which were taboo, under pain of death to women…. In other communities, flutes were considered charms for fertility and birth; their sound accompanied the induction of youth into the ranks of men, or they were used in defloration ceremonies as, for instance, in the dance festivals of the Monumbo Papua.
Reference: Medicine, Mind and Music…. A consideration of their links through history….Goddard Lieberson.
Comments…. So I think I might have a new calling in life… I am going to take up the “Nose Flute”…. And go into the rich history and tradition of ‘healing through the playing of the Nose Flute’….ok…. Just kidding….I think…