During the past centuries, the study of music has been a subject of much debate. Most theorists agree that music is an auditory phenomenon. Some have gone so far as to claim that music is a humanly engineered phenomenon. Throughout history, men have been creating and practicing music. Some have been concerned with extramusical aspects of music, such as the use of music as advertising. Others have taken a more conceptual approach.
In the 18th century, speculations about the intrinsic nature of music began to surface. In general, these speculations emphasized the importance of the formal and semantic meanings of music. Music may be used for choice, communication, ritual, or personal entertainment. For example, expressionists may use music to convey moral imperatives. These forms of music are used for self-actualization or self-transcendence.
The Greeks saw music as a way to connect emotional life to a physical world. They also saw music as a way to express universal sentiments. Aristotle believed that music could shape the character of a person. He also believed that a work of art could contain a measure of truth.
The ancient Greeks had a system of notation. They also believed that music was an imitation of the movements of heavenly bodies. In order to achieve this, they substituted lyres for wooden boxes and gut strings. A more sophisticated version of the lyre was a barbiton, with a hollow wooden body. Aristoxenus, a pupil of Aristotle, believed that music was an emotional art.
During the Middle Paleolithic, about 43,000 BP, the Aurignacian period began in eastern Europe. In the west, the Magdalenian period ended around 10,000 BP. In China, music has traditionally been an adjunct to narrative. Music is used to accompany dance and drama. The Chinese word for music is
In the early thirteenth century, Europe witnessed a revolution in musical instruments. This was probably due to the Crusaders’ return from the Holy Land. There were a variety of different musical instruments, including the kithara, a wooden box with semi-mechanized tuning devices. The early thirteenth-century musical instruments in Europe included the lute, the harp, and the lyre.
In the 19th century, psychologist Edmund Gurney incorporated elements of symbolism, formalism, and expressionism. He spoke of “embodied” meanings, which he considered more meaningful than the “extrins” that Hegel deprecated. Music has also been used in psychotherapy. Humanist psychologists may use music to help with self-fulfillment or self-actualization.
The nineteenth century spawned a variety of different theories about the nature of music. These theories are highly contested. Some theorists have favored the concept of music as an immoral art, while others have rejected it. For example, Immanuel Kant ranked music as the lowest in the hierarchy of arts.
Music is generally composed for harmony and emotional expression. It can be used for ritual, dance, personal entertainment, or communal entertainment. It can also form easy alliances with words and drama.