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Human music may echo these phenomena using patterns, repetition and tonality.Even today, some cultures have certain instances of their music intending to imitate natural sounds.The oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world, is the Seikilos epitaph.Double pipes, such as those used by the ancient Greeks, and ancient bagpipes, as well as a review of ancient drawings on vases and walls, etc., and ancient writings (such as in Aristotle, Problems, Book XIX.12) which described musical techniques of the time, indicate polyphony.The origin of music is unknown as it occurred prior to recorded history.Some suggest that the origin of music likely stems from naturally occurring sounds and rhythms.The emotions and ideas that music expresses, the situations in which music is played and listened to, and the attitudes toward music players and composers all vary between regions and periods.

Prehistoric music is followed by ancient music in most of Europe (1500 BC) and later music in subsequent European-influenced areas, but still exists in isolated areas.The "oldest known song" was written in cuneiform, dating to 3400 years ago from Ugarit.It was deciphered by Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, and was demonstrated to be composed in harmonies of thirds, like ancient gymel, and also was written using a Pythagorean tuning of the diatonic scale.Indian classical music (marga) can be found from the scriptures of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas.

Samaveda, one of the four vedas, describes music at length.

The names of some important musicians such as Barbod, Nakissa and Ramtin, and titles of some of their works have survived.