The Invention of Music
The Invention of Music

Vsauce! Kevin here, I’m gonna play a song I wrote
just for you. Ready? Here we go. [drill noise] Wait, is this a song? Is a drill… music? Actually let’s back up a second. Like all the way back. Let’s put you back in the womb. Hey, can you hear me? You’re listening to your first song. That consistent rhythm is the beat of your
mother’s heart. The uterine blood and amniotic fluid flowing
around you create that gentle drone. Consonants and high frequency sounds are filtered
by the layers of skin and fat in your mother’s abdomen, but you can hear a soft melody of
low frequency bass and vowels. Your eyelids are closed until 28 weeks after
conception, but you start to hear at week 18. Before even knowing there’s a world to see,
you’re immersed in a world of music. Ah, you’ve been born! Welcome to humanity — and your brain has
gifted you with musicality. While music is a social and cultural construct,
meaning that it’s something we create ourselves, musicality describes the mental processes
that underlie musical behavior and perception. Your brain is trained to respond to emotional
and intonational aspects of the human voice, an important feature of human biology. Despite only an 8% body mass difference, adult
males have a voice about 50% deeper than females. Your brain adapts to processing information
being delivered at different pitches, but studies show Tweety Bird and the rest of the
animal kingdom have trouble with this. Relative pitch allows you recognize relationships
between notes to transpose the same tune in a different key. So if you hear “Mary Had A Little Lamb”
sung in a high pitch by Mickey Mouse or in a low pitch by Darth Vader, you’ll still
recognize that it’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Tweety Bird and Curious George would think
they were completely different songs. Okay, humans notice the nuance of pitch. But what happens when you lose the sense of
hearing or never had it in the first place? The brains of the deaf and hard of hearing
can rewire to feel music rather than hear it. The information is processed in the brain
similarly to how others hear sound. Even without the ability to hear, music finds
its way into our bodies. And for some people that experience results
in feeling…meh! An estimated 4% of humans lack musicality. Amusia is an inability to recognize pitch
changes and can include problems with musical recognition and memory. This causes difficulty understanding not only
the emotion of music, but also nuances of language. Like being able to distinguish the pitch change
that differentiates statements from questions. This is a statement. This is a question? And their short-term pitch sequence memory
deficiency prevents amusics from forming the story of music in their minds — to remember
the pitches they’ve heard, to anticipate their repetition, and to be aroused by their
changes. Yet some can process pitch and still not derive
any gratification from music. Most people physiologically react to pleasurable
music with higher skin conductance and heart rate, but researchers found that people with
musical anhedonia show no relationship between musical enjoyment and a physiological response. While music can give most people chills, a
dopamine increase in the nucleus accumbens, music to them is just kinda…friend-zoned. These musical disorders show us that music
isn’t just about processing sound — it’s about using that sound to understand the thoughts
and feelings of others. An education that begins after the doctor
slaps your tiny butt cheeks and your mom starts babbling in your crying cute little infant
face. Baby talk or Motherese is a type of speech
marked by exaggerated pitch. Our earliest understanding of verbal communication
involves Prosody, the rhythmic patterns of stress and intonation in language. “Mama. Dada.” Without that pitch change it sounds emotionless,
robotic and kinda creepy. “MAMA.” Studies show babies pay more attention when
they hear exaggerated pitch, length, and timbre. Their brains love the excitement of surprises. Pitch can matter a lot to meaning; it’s
so important in Mandarin Chinese that the same word can have completely different meanings
based on how you say it. “Ma” can mean mother, lazy, hemp or horse. Before kids learn syntax, they may learn the
building blocks of language through The Alphabet Song. Which comes from a French folk song Mozart
popularized in ‘Twelve Variations on ’Ah vous dirai-je, Maman’ — later becoming
Baa, Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. It’s a popular tune. Not only does musicality help with language
and predates the alphabet song, musicality predates the alphabet itself… and all written
language. By a lot. Middle Age bards, Beethoven, and Beyoncé
didn’t invent musical communication. Before our ancestors developed writing — values,
memories, and customs were conveyed through song. Sacred song-cycles honored the Gods, passed
down histories and were the essential medium of memory. Ethnomusicologist John Blacking suggests singing
and dancing preceded homo sapiens by several hundred thousand years. Caves are full of acoustic reverberations,
like your shower, that must’ve made Caveman Ugg feel like Pavarotti. But Ugg couldn’t just make noise – Ugg needed
notes. Unlike noise which features sharp, erratic
waveforms, notes are repeating ripple patterns of sound. A hammer hitting a nail creates an irregular
ripple of air pressure while a flute can create a consistent ripple that repeats over and
over. An easy way to produce notes is with a column. Flutes and clarinets vibrate the air within
a column. Strings are columns that can vibrate. Pressing a tightly-stretched string against
the neck of an instrument shortens its length, which alters its vibration and pitch. The consistent whirring of a spinning drill
produces a musical note and sustaining it is a form of drone music. Controlling notes and creating music make
audible order out of nature’s chaos. Darkness is scary and overwhelming because
you can’t see what danger may be lurking… but you can renew your comfort with light. Silence reflects the absence of life. We often say it’s, “Dead quiet.” But you can fight back with sound. And in that battle, you form a relationship
with people you’ll never meet. As the language of emotion and physiological
arousal, music is a fundamental method of connecting you to others. Preliterate tribes used music to unify the
group in times of danger; songs are used in religious services to coalesce the group. In music, collaborating becomes proof that
the sum can be greater than its individual parts. Music welds you together with others at parties,
clubs, weddings, work, and even funerals. Concerts are a celebration of collective cultural
unity. In movies, music reinforces and heightens
the emotion of the scene. National anthems reflect the history, values,
and dreams of entire countries made up of millions of people past, present, and future. Music unites what you see, what you hear,
what you think, and what you feel — literally. Sound physically touches you. My voice is touching your ear drums and causing
them to go in and out. I’m moving part of you with every word. Music is so intrinsically tied to our motor
systems that children have difficulty remaining still when singing. A study of music’s effects on exercise showed
cyclists who synchronized their movement with music required 7% less oxygen than those who
didn’t. The rhythm and tempo of music can unlock
the body for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, freeing them to move despite the disease freezing
their movement. It’s the soundtrack to our motion and behavior
– consciously and subconsciously. Background music in stores influences shoppers
to stay longer and buy more. If classical music is playing in a liquor
store, you’re more likely to buy more expensive wine. If French music is playing, you’re more
likely to buy French wine. Music drives cultural behaviors — and connects
us to time, which is why songs arouse a strong sense of nostalgia. Your head is like a jukebox with eyeballs. The songs you know become part of your mental
catalog, and you’re able to recall them with incredible accuracy. Earworms are those catchy, bits of music that
repeat over and over sometimes called “involuntary musical imagery.” It’s also possible to remember almost
nothing but music. In his book, Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks tells
the tale of former renowned musician and conductor Clive Wearing who, after a brain infection,
had virtually his entire memory erased. Retrograde amnesia left him unable to recall
his past and his anterograde amnesia only allows his short term memory to last only
up to 30 seconds. After every handful of blinks, Clive’s eyes
open to a brand new world. His subsequent loneliness, confusion and constant
fear left him feeling robbed of consciousness. He says, “It’s like being dead.” In an attempt to regain control of his life,
he started keeping a journal. But the entries amounted to simply repeating
the same sentiment and crossing out the previous one. This time properly awake. This time finally awake. This time completely awake. One of Clive’s only portals back his life
is his wife, Deborah. To him, her visits to the facility where he
lives are a miracle, resulting in sobbing and clinging to her presence. But within minutes of her departure he leaves
messages for her saying, “Please come and see me, darling — it’s been ages since
I’ve seen you. Please fly here at the speed of light.” She would’ve had to travel at the speed
of light to get there before Clive forgot that he needed to see her. The only other gateway to himself, the only
thing that holds him in the state of being Clive — is music. He plays the piano, sings, and learns new
songs. While eating a chocolate bar, he is constantly
surprised by how the bar is changing because he forgets that he has been eating it. But as he plays music, his symptoms are suspended
temporarily. Music allows a precious moment in which Clive
Wearing is… Clive Wearing again. The momentum of the music briefly keeps him
afloat before sinking back down into that lost place. Through music, he stays awake…completely
awake…until the song is over. An 1886 painting by George Frederic Watts
depicts Hope as a blindfolded woman sitting on the globe, clutching a broken harp and
desperately listening to the sound of a single, frail string — the only one that remains. As long as you have music and the ability
to embrace meaning from the sounds around you, you cannot be alone. That is… Hope. And as always – thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “The Invention of Music”

  1. The Armchair SpacemanTM says:

    it's the only real magic.

  2. The Armchair SpacemanTM says:

    what about cetaceans? can they recognise pitch?

  3. deviousxen says:

    Oof, right in the feels.

  4. Marš _ says:

    This was actually beautiful, thanks Kevin.

  5. Giacomo Alberti says:

    Mum in Italian sounds exactly like your MAMA

  6. hotdogskid says:

    4:53 “timber” Did you mean timbre?

  7. theBeesKnees says:

    Thank you for that last bit

  8. Luc Enden says:

    Can i use your voice for resampleing?

  9. Trance Emerson says:

    That drill is playing a G# major 3rd, and then a glissando down to a C major 3rd. So yes. the drill is a musical instrument. Also I made a Patch for Serum a VST instrument inspired by your drill song.

  10. Warmage Two Crows says:

    What is love

  11. Chase Dunkley says:

    "This is a question?" – Kevin

  12. Tianna Graham says:

    Videos like this always make me feel so connected to humankind. We're a mess of species but we definitely have our amazing aspects.


    What is music

    The Soviet anthem

  14. Lol480p Huh says:

    Kevin: welcome to humanity
    Me: oh shoot, NOOOO!!

  15. Sumit Bhattacharya says:

    you r right about music sound,

    Like sound of Om

    OM has a mystery attached to it, I never use to understand that why God will be so attached to a word. I use to wonder why in yoga classes they tell us to recite OM & they use to give very interesting argument in favor of it by saying that the vibration it generates is very helpful.

    Similar argument they use to give it for other mantras that were in Sanskrit, but I was never satisfied with these answers as I use to argue that after all they are just words, and what will be the effect of it if I don't know its meaning for eg: if I say that " I am a Dog" in sanskrit how the hell will it create positive vibrations in me though it is being said in sanskrit.

    Later on with time I realised that OM is the sound produced in the process of completion of a complete cycle of breath,

  16. BasicDorito says:

    0:08 Still better than what is out right now

  17. yo Jedi says:

    I just found out that there are more people just like me that don't even care about music, I thought I was just a weirdo :')

  18. Spenezzet says:

    Kevin, tonal languages include but aren’t limited to mandarin Cantonese Vietnamese Navaho Haida gimi and Norwegian

  19. Tea Tookle says:

    Haha birdbox challenge

  20. Idle Coffee says:

    Nice song 😀

  21. STRAY LGK says:

    Right.. I'm making a new song now.. You have inspired me

  22. Amit K. says:

    you are my in top 4 youtuber……

  23. Something like that says:

    "is drill an instrument?"
    Davie504: "hold my beer"

  24. blue x says:

    I had this Same concept in my mind, before came here

  25. Jorun Holm says:

    Shall i help you?

  26. Nooby Noob says:

    8:27 when you are trying to swat a damn fly

  27. Oreagle says:

    I was watching it and when he said here we go i accidently skipped to the end and music started playing😂

  28. Oreagle says:

    I was watching it and when he said here we go i accidently skipped to the end and music started playing😂

  29. Monty Parata says:

    Awesome guys!

  30. shin josh says:

    blessed art thou kevin

  31. Cards4Life says:

    Does anyone know the song at 0:08?

  32. dyscea says:

    Clyve is one of the more tragic stories I've come across. I didn't know about the music helping him.

  33. Ra'Ahm says:

    music makes me WOKE

  34. John Effiom says:

    You've been born 😂😂😂😂😂

  35. cc c says:

    this is so powerful.. literally gave me chills just listening to this its so amazing how music can affect us. music is truly the biggest part of me and I want to cry just thinking about this like becoming a musician 12 years ago was the best desicion I have EVER made.

  36. Conor Osirideain says:

    This is legitimately a great video

  37. Snopolopogus Co. says:

    Wiggly air my dude

  38. Drakeland Lambert says:

    Is this a question?

    I don’t know. Is it?

  39. SuperSolomob422 says:

    I've heard of clive, poor guy.

  40. Britton Jones says:

    So maybe this explains why people study better to music? Or retain information better through music in some way.

  41. MangoMan Power says:

    so technically YouTube rewind is music???

  42. Yeet Yeet spaghetti skeet says:

    Bruh it’s just wiggly air

  43. Dark Rainbow says:

    I am Dark Rainbow.

  44. Dark Trix says:

    My heart produces 808 bass

  45. Maukustus says:

    Music is all around us. And we all know that music stands for Muscular Unuglu Super Impish Creatures.

  46. In cep ti on says:

    why this video has such a low views

  47. Michael Samarati says:

    Does someone now the song 2:29

  48. Yuri says:

    2:52 eEeEhH

  49. name name Name says:

    I kinda wanna cry

  50. James Herrera says:

    And that's why I'm a musician

  51. vrm says:

    Is the thumbnail an edited version of his profile picture

  52. Nandakumar D S says:

    Music is A Language , Religion, A Way of Life…..Music is Life itself, for me….
    Thank You Sooo Muchhhh Kev ..!!

  53. Nowlan says:

    This actually make SO much sense.
    I've never noticed why, other than feeling scared at the quietness, I've sang earworms after waking up at night.
    It fills the silence and I immediately feel more safe and happy.
    Makes sense because I love music.
    AND now I know, that book character could have lived easier than he did just by singing.

  54. The William Jones Show says:

    "As you long as you have music, and have the ability to embrace meaning from the sounds around you, then you cannot, be, alone".
    "And as always, thanks for watching!"

  55. Gabriel Sinca says:

    Jacksfilms already has a video about this…

  56. Ulfric Stormcloak says:

    I cried at the end. Great video.

  57. Jason Hatt says:

    4:59 That means that somewhere in Chinese history lived a person with that disorder you mentioned, and so communication must've been difficult for them

  58. Jason Hatt says:

    7:36 Is that why Marching Bands have Military looking uniforms? Because its a battle?

  59. Zachariah M. Baird says:

    "let's put you back in the womb" hmmm…

  60. Zachariah M. Baird says:

    Too bad that if you use any music now you get copystriked.

  61. MinecraftSurvivalGaming says:

    Who is here for the comments on the intro?

  62. Chrispybaceon Pig says:

    This video is makes me wanna listen to some music now 🙂

  63. Ineichen says:

    Am I crazy or was this renamed?

  64. John Stevonson says:

    I drilled into a guitar.
    Does that count as music?

  65. Rodrigo Peloni says:

    11:58 "While eating a chocolate bar he's constantly surprised by how the bar is changing" How can he perceive that the chocolate bar is changing? Doesn't his medical condition affect his perception of time and change? I mean, we perceive change because we remember how things were before, don't we?

  66. Brian Cherry says:

    2:51 – like a goose?

  67. glitter says:

    That bit about the old man seeing his wife causing tears and him clinging to her. that bit almost made me cry alone. I neeeeeed to go hug my girlfriend

  68. Benaam says:

    Can your drill DJENT

  69. Johna Agcaoili Quilala says:


  70. Nandu says:

    Kevin had a little Lamp.

  71. Taulant Miftari says:

    At the end that is a movie
    Remember Sunday

  72. Emily Pentland says:

    My friend sang and she was really good and me and 3 other jaw dropped and there was this girl who just sat there

  73. It's Jemmy says:

    6:05 That looks like Jake Roper (Vsauce 3)

  74. Mister Martinho says:


  75. CStubbsSubs says:

    That was a poor explanation of relative pitch

  76. Thomas Mims says:

    Easily top 3 videos of all the VSauce videos.

  77. Mody Adawi says:

    Who else tried freestyling to a heart beat

  78. rwxsed says:

    damn that's a strong arm

  79. Kidedaion Symoti says:

    the womb part gives me so much anxiety. How could a mother create a child knowing this what they hear first?

  80. Jannib Andelo Bayutas says:

    2:51 Goat music

  81. Jannib Andelo Bayutas says:

    So music is hope?

  82. EmberDrops says:

    Songs create nostalgia?

    * plays HOME: Resonance *

    N O S T A L G I A

  83. Anvyne Sherman says:

    This is a… … … question????? Oh, I thought it would be a statement ;-;

  84. Jeff Newman says:

    Best of the VSauces by far! You’re so entertaining. If only my school teachers could teach like this.

  85. x Ludicrous x says:

    You stole this from jacksfilms

  86. Violet Baudelaire says:

    Oof okay I have to go hit the practice rooms now don't I?

  87. Ruddy Morales says:

    why i can't like the video more than once??????
    really great one

  88. the marble racer says:

    It not Amusia it ToneDeaf

  89. Some Yeeter On The Block says:

    I wish I had a mask of my face to wear on the side of my head that be cool

  90. Beanierabbit says:

    No, Kevin. The drone of a drill is not a song.

    A song has to have lyrics, a drill's drone is a piece

  91. Cordelia Maynard says:

    …and it's time to spin the wheel of musicality

  92. Cordelia Maynard says:

    Ugg is probably not what cavepeople were named.

  93. Cordelia Maynard says:

    I like that version of hope.

  94. Cassie Scott says:

    Sorry I couldn't hear 0:31–1:11, I'm just a fetus that isn't alive and contains no value.

  95. Phoebe Choate says:

    Ah. You've been born

  96. Peterick van As says:


  97. Kuldeep Patel says:

    Rap god has that drill music

  98. Kinky drugs from japan says:

    13:03……….. you are not alone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *