Music is a universal form of communication, cutting across all periods of history and all regions
of the planet. Human beings were probably inspired to produce music by the sounds they heard in the world of nature, like birdsong and animal cries, which formed the background of their daily existence. Even in primitive times, music played an important part in the social
life of the community – events like birth, marriage and death had their own individual and appropriate music. The earliest written representations of musical sound are found in India, providing a beginning for a study of the history of music, and instruments such as flutes and
various types of stringed instruments have been recovered from archaeological sites there.
Because it has the power to touch individuals according to the moods and situations in which they find themselves, people have also always found music to be useful on a personal level.
A particularly poignant story which demonstrates the power of music is told about the 24th of December 1914. Many European countries had been engaged for four months in a war which
was to continue for almost another four years, but the soldiers in one part of the battlefield, remembering that this was the night before Christmas, turned their thoughts away from war towards a celebration of this important Christian festival. Imagine the astonishment of the British soldiers when the sound of Christmas songs being sung by enemy German soldiers drifted towards them on the clear night air. Moved by the music, although fearful at first, men
who had earlier in the day been fighting against each other stepped from their hiding places.
The language barrier was somehow broken down, enabling limited conversations to take place. The soldiers spontaneously put down their weapons, exchanging food gifts and even playing football together. The Christmas Truce, as it came to be called, has come to represent
the endurance of human beings in the face of adversity,...