[This is a complement to a previous Musical Origins related post]
Assuming an Out-of-Africa model, 200,000 years ago there was a second hominid migration of the evolutionarily dominating Homo sapiens into Asia and Europe. This migration, for the most part, absorbed or replaced other hominid populations. Music could have potentially originated at any point and region during this extensive growth of Homo sapiens, either in Africa, Asia, Europe or simultaneously and independently therein. I think it is most probable that Africa was the original birthplace of music (or at least protomusic). Africa would have been home to Homo sapiens for the longest of any of these continents and archaeological evidence shows our ancient species was culturally pretty sophisticated at this time, judging by artifacts. As humans began to use their cognition to discover tools and language they would also discover music. Their material culture not only had tools but symbolic items. Unfortunately, things like animal skin drums, gourd rattles, sinew or plant fiber strings, and the like biodegrade easily and so vanish into history’s mysteries.
To speculate, protomusic likely was some sort of affinity for rythm that was manifested from redundant processes. For example, marching along incessantly to find new hunting and gathering lands could have bred cadence-like chants or body slapping; processing foods with mortar and pestle or breaking open shelled food could have triggered drum-like experimental instrumentals; and of course protolanguage and protomusic may have co-evolved or one influenced the other with a communicative protosinging. The imagination is the limit as we cannot find proof of something so ephemeral and immaterial. Regardless, the origin of music was social and not necessarily directly useful to survival; it was entertaining and/or spiritual, and surely communal.
It may even be possible that ancestors of Homo sapiens, such as H. habilis or H. erectus, could have been doing some sort of music prior or alongside Homo sapiens. When humans first discovered music it likely would have been of a simple sort. It was likely made with the body or by the rhythm of stone tools used in everyday life. Once humans began to recognize and use music it began to be more pervasive and evolve in form and purpose. Human groups probably began to bond together in different ways with the use of music similar to how sharing language would have. Once this group affiliation for music began it would be incorporated into their culture via use in rituals, spiritual communication, and other communal expressions. They could use music to tell stories and pass on histories. They could find new ways of making sound and thus begin to invent new instruments. They could add physical expression in dance and costume. Further, they could discover trance and make the connection between music and the extra-human world.
As Homo sapiens began to extend into Asia and Europe it is likely that during this multi-thousand year exodus process their music evolved well beyond it’s humble beginnings in both complexity and variety. More and more humans were beginning to exist and with more behavioral variation (as both practical and extraneous cultural innovations). These societies began to evolve into tribes and chiefdoms and likewise music co-evolved. Everyday music would continue to be performed by layfolk to pass time, worship, or lullaby, but now music would be specialized in certain contexts. Like all economic and cultural duties, music began to be performed by specialists. These specialists made it easier for themselves by creating structured ways of making their music. The idea of structured music likely spread around to various cultures and each adopted their own unique way. As states began to emerge the specialization only continued; and alongside, interconnection between different cultures occurred. People began to identify strongly to their cultures in contrast to others. This demarcation of human groups allowed for specified styles of music to evolve. Amongst this is also the evolution of musical instruments. As culture evolved the tools of music were changed to suit the need and desires of the group.
From this point on all I can say is, music can be original in two ways: First, music can be original to it’s history and tradition. Second, music can be original in it’s unique production; that is, as cultural evolution. In all, music as a social and cultural device can be impetus for discovery and development of a people with most of the material involved being brain matter. And clearly, it is an ever evolving commodity and an ever fascinating quandary of human nature and it’s origin.