Some linguists believe that people sang before they spoke and other believe that speech came before singing. Either belief is fine with me.
I do believe that language influences music. I strongly believe that the rhythm of a language defines the rhythm of that culture’s music. Each language has its own rhythm. This is what makes each culture’s music sound unique.
Certainly, the environment comes into play. A culture’s physical environment influences the types of musical instruments that a culture builds.
I’m not sure if language determines how a culture tunes its instruments. For example, the Indian culture tunes their string instruments, for example, a sitar, into microtones. A microtone is a note between two notes. For example, on a piano there are the notes C and C-sharp (C#). When tuning a sitar, there may be one, two, ten, and so on notes between C and C-sharp.
There may be a relationship between language and tuning systems. I’ll need to do some research. Certainly, please share your thoughts with me.
The rhythm of a language helps me understand my students. I teach students from many countries. When a new student arrives, sometimes it is difficult for me to understand what he or she says. I listen to their accent as I would listen to music. Once I understand the rhythm, I understand them.
Music, language, tuning systems, rhythm, to me, they are fascinating. I’ve played keyboard instruments my whole life. Is melody the international language? I don’t think so. I think rhythm is the international language. I’ll talk about that in a future post.