What Is Music?


Music is a creative art form consisting of vocal or instrumental sounds arranged in such a way that they communicate beauty and emotion. It is enjoyed by many people in a variety of ways, including listening and dancing, making music, recording it, editing it, composing and arranging. It also makes other activities more exciting, like driving or cleaning or cooking or going to a concert. It is a universal activity that can be shared with friends, family or strangers. It can be used for religious and secular purposes, and it is often a part of dance, drama and other stage shows.

It is not always easy to understand, and there are various theories of music that try to explain it. Some have a scientific approach and seek to categorize the elements of music, while others focus on its psychological impact on humans. There are some who believe that music has no meaning or purpose beyond the pleasure it provides and that it simply needs to be experienced for its own sake.

Efforts to explain the nature of music have been a source of controversy. The chief points of view have been formalist, symbolicist, expressist, and psychological.

A large number of other theories are based on extramusical preoccupations. These concern the function of music in rituals and ceremonies (religious, military, courtly), in musical theatre, and within literature and drama (art song, folk songs, opera, “background” music). Some of these views have had diametrically opposed proponents.

Plato viewed earthly music as a shadow of the higher ideal and saw a symbolic significance in it. Aristotle, influenced by Plato, emphasized the power of musical composition to convey truth. Other Greeks tended to view music as mere entertainment, and this attitude persists to some degree.

The development of the arts in modern times has led to the creation of new genres. For example, in the early 1900s, the invention of recording technology spawned popular music such as jazz and blues. In the 20th century, rock ‘n’ roll emerged as well as disco and hip hop. These developments have caused the definition of musical genres to become more fluid, with some musicians combining styles.

As an academic subject, music has been studied at universities around the world. Students pursuing a degree in music learn about the history of musical styles, composers and performers, and have the opportunity to create their own. They also study the 8 Elements of Music: Dynamics, Form, Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, Texture and Timbre. Each of these elements contributes to the overall sound and mood of a piece of music, and the composers use each of these to create a unique sound.

It is important to understand the different elements of music because it will help you improve your own performances. Just as a chef knows the different spices and herbs to add to a dish, a musician or performer knows how each of the 8 Elements of Music should be combined and used in a song to achieve the desired effect.