The First Instrument – The Voice

Music has existed since the beginning of time. There are traces of music in most ancient civilizations and tribal cultures, yet no one has been able to establish precisely when, where, why, or how music originated. In most cultures, vocal music was preferred and supported. This has been proven true from the evidence of chanting ceremonies deep in the jungle to religious ceremonies and services in Ancient Greece.

Physical instruments, aside from the human body, were designed as a means of accompanying the voice rather than being the principal music maker. Like the voice, instruments are split into voice ranges so as to be able to mimic the sounds that the voice is able to make.

The human voice is able to cover a wide range of sound. Vocal sounds are created when we push air through our vocal chords causing them to vibrate. Words are created by how our lips, teeth, and tongue permit us to articulate those sounds.

The human voice is typically split into 4 – 6 vocal ranges. These Ranges include:

Vocal Range

General Definition

 Soprano  the highest female voice
 Mezzo Soprano  the mid-range female voice
 Alto  the lowest female voice
 Tenor  the highest male voice
 Baritone  the mid-range male voice
 Bass  the lowest male voice

Vocal Range

However, the biggest drawback to the voice is that the music is limited by the physical abilities of the musician. The human voice can only get so loud as to be heard by a large group, such as a church full of people. The voice also tires more quickly, so how long the musician is able to maintain a “good voice” differs from person to person.