Ian Ferrin said:
I guess it depends on how far back we choose to take it.
I too am a western white guy. But one who is less confident about musical heritage. I am aware that history exists per se but, apart from a liking for rembetika, I feel no conscious connection with those earlier Greek Roman or Hebrew music traditions - despite my vague understanding that conventional European 'high-art' traditions claim such a lineage. That lineage would not seem to offer a satisfactory accounting for country or rock or pop or other vestigial folk-forms. Neither does it appear connected to those juicy intervals in Bulgarian choral folk traditions or the uncanny similarities between singing styles of Georgia and Corsica and Sardinia.
I have a book here somewhere by a Georgian choral scholar called Joseph Jordania, which presents a reputedly exhaustive survey of vocal music around the world, stretched across a vaguely evolutionary model. When I find space I shall review what he says about these different styles of polyphony and monophony and get back to you about where and how he connects up to those 'classical' ancient cultures.
Don't forget - in terms of how far back we choose to take it - and based upon what the genetic record suggests - we are all African.
Must have taken a long time for you and me to mutate into western white guys.