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  Wikipedia: Music

Wikipedia: Music
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The sounds people accept as music vary according to historical era, location, and cultural and individual taste. The actual definition of music is hotly contested; one definition of music may be only those sounds which are considered "pleasant" by the definer, while another includes any sound that includes a degree of intention in performance, presentation, or audition, generally meaning that the sounds were produced intentionally either by an individual or a group. Another may focus on defining music as a physical phenomenon (in terms of sound), while another may define music as a psychological phenomenon. These two opposing definitions may together be opposed by a definition that focuses on the social aspects of music, while some have disputed that there is any such thing as music at all. Thus music includes physical, psychological, and social phenomenon including theory, performance practice, dance, and poetry.

Aspects of Music

The commonly defined compositional and auditional aspects of music are: pitch, timbre, intensity, duration. Pitch being how "low" or "high" a sound is, and may be further described as definite pitch or indefinite pitch. Timbre is the quality of a sound and varies between voices and types and kinds of musical instruments, which are tools used to produce sound. Intensity is how loud or quiet a sound is and includes how stressed a sound is. The spatial location or the movement in space of sounds may also be an aspect of music. Silence is also often considered an aspect of music, if it is considered to exist. Duration is the only aspect common to both "sound" and "silence", being the temporal aspect of music. A musician is someone who performs, composes, or conducts music.

Common Terms

Terms used to discuss particular pieces include note which may refer to a specific pitch and its placement, melody, which is a succession of notes heard as some sort of unit, chord, which is a simultaneity of notes heard as some sort of unit, chord progression which is a succession of chords (simultaneity succession), harmony, which is the organization of chords and progressions, counterpoint, which is the simultaneity and organization of different melodies, and rhythm which is the organization of the durational aspects of music.


Solo and Ensemble

Many cultures include strong traditions of solo or soloistic performance, such as in Indian classical music, while other cultures, such as in Bali, include strong traditions of group performance. All cultures include a mixture of both, and performance may range from improvised solo playing for one's enjoyment to highly planned and organized performance rituals such as the modern classical concert or religious processions. What is called chamber music is often seen as more intimate than symphonic works. A performer is called a musician, a group being a musical ensemble such as a rock band or orchestra.

Oral tradition and Notation

Music is often preserved in memory and performance only, handed down orally, or aurally ("by ear"), this music often may be considered "traditional" or not considered composed by individuals. Different musical traditions have different attitudes towards how and where to make changes to the original source material, from quite strict, to those which demand improvisation. If the music is written down, it is generally in some manner which attempts to capture both what should be heard by listeners, and what the musician should do to perform the music. This is referred to as musical notation,and the study of how to read notation involves music theory. Written notation varies with style and period of music, and includes scores, lead sheets, guitar tablature, among the more common notations. Generally music which is to be performed is produced as sheet music. To perform music from notation requires an understanding of both the musical style and performance practice expected or acceptable.

Improvisation, Interpretation, Composition

Most cultures use at least part of the concept of preconceiving musical material, or composition, as held in western classical music. Many but fewer cultures also include the related concept of interpretation, performing material conceived by others, and less still the contrasting concept of improvisation, material which is spontaneously thought of while performed, not pre-conceived. However, many cultures and people do not have this distinction at all, using a broader concept which incorporates both without discrimination. Improvised music virtually always follows some rules or conventions and even "fully composed" includes some freely chosen material. See also, precompositional. Composition does not always mean the use of notation, or the known sole authorship of one individual.

Compositional Methods

Music can also be determined by describing a "process" which may create musical sounds, examples of this range from wind chimes, through computer programs which select sounds. Music which contains elements selected by chance is called Aleatoric music, and is most famously associated with John Cage and Witold Lutoslawski. See: precompositional, form, consonance and dissonance, modulation, twelve tone technique, serialism, and process music.


Concerts take many different forms and may include people dressing in formal wear and sitting quietly in the rows of auditoriums, drinking and dancing in a bar, or loudly cheering and booing in an auditorium.

Deaf people can experience music by feeling the vibrations in their body; the most famous example of a deaf musician is the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed many famous works even after he had completely lost his hearing. In more modern times, Evelyn Glennie, who has been deaf since the age of twelve, is a highly acclaimed percussionist. See: Baschet Brothers. See: psychoacoustics.


The music they make can be heard through several media; the most traditional way is to hear it live, in the presence, or as one of, the musicians. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio or television. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a performance, while others focus on producing a recording which mixes together sounds which were never played "live". Recording, even of styles which are essentially live often uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings which are considered "better" than the actual performance.

In many cultures there is less distinction between performing and listening to music, as virtually everyone is involved in somesort of musical activity, often communal. Sometime in the middle 20th century, listening to music through a recorded form, such as sound recording or watching a music video became more common than experiencing live performance. Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds; for example, a DJ uses records for scratching.

See: sound sculpture.



Many people compose, perform, and improvise music with no training and feel no need for training, including entire cultures. Other cultures have traditions of rigorous formal training that may take years and serious dedication. Sometimes this training takes the form of apprenticeship, as in Indian training traditionally take more years than a college education and involves spiritual discipline and reverence for one's guru or teacher. In Bali everyone learns and practices together. It is also common for people to take music lessons, short private study sessions with an individual teacher, when they want to learn to play or compose music, usually for a fee. The most famous private composition teacher is Nadia Boulanger.

Secondary Education

The incorporation of music performance and theory into a general liberal arts curriculum, from pre-school to postsecondary education, is relatively common. Western style secondary schooling is increasingly common around the world, such as STSI in Bali. Meanwhile, western schools are increasingly including the study of the music of other cultures such as the Balinese gamelan, of which there are currently more than 200 in America.


Many people also study about music in the field of musicology. The earliest definitions of musicology defined three sub-disciplines: systematic musicology, historical musicology, and comparative musicology. In contemporary scholarship, one is more likely to encounter a division of the discipline into music theory, music history, and ethnomusicology. Research in musicology has often been enriched by cross-disciplinary work, for example in the field of psychoacoustics. The study of music of non-western cultures, and the cultural study of music, is called ethnomusicology.

In Medieval times, the study of music was one of the Quadrivium of the seven Liberal Arts and considered vital to higher learning. Within the quantitative Quadrivium, music, or more accurately harmonics, was the study of rational proportions.


Music theory is the study of music, generally in a highly technical manner outside of other disciplines. More broadly it refers to any study of music, usually related in some form with compositional concerns, and may include physics, mathematics, and anthropology. What is most commonly taught in beginning music theory classes are guidelines to write in the style of the common practice period, or tonal music. Theory, even that which studies music of the common practice period, may take many other forms. Musical set theory is the application of mathematical set theory to music, first applied to atonal music. Speculative music theory is devoted to the analysis and synthesis of music materials, for example tuning systems, generally as preparation for composition. See "Common Terms" above.


As there are many definitions for music there are many divisions and groupings of music, many of which are as hotly contested as, and even caught up in, the argument over the definition of music. There are many musical genres. Among the larger genres are classical music, popular music or commercial music (including rock and roll) and folk music. The term world music is applied to a wide range of music made outside of Europe and european influence, although its initial application, in the context of the World Music Program at Wesleyan University, was as a term including all possible musics, and not excluding European traditions.

Genres of music are as often determined by tradition and presentation as by the actual music. While most classical music is acoustical in nature, and meant to be performed by individuals, many works include samples, tape, or are mechanical, and yet described as "classical". Some works, for example Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, are claimed by both Jazz and Classical Music.

As cultures of the world have been in more contact with each other, their indigenous music styles have often melded to form new styles. For example, the U.S.-American bluegrass style has elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish, Irish, German and some African-American instrumental and vocal traditions, and can only have been a product of the 20th Century.

Many music festivals exist these days celebrating a particular music genre.

See: List of genres of music

See also

nds:Musik simple:Music


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona