Table of Contents
- Definition of Music
- Description of Music
- Characteristics of Music
- How Music is Made
- Sociological Aspects
- Role of the Internet in Music
- Lesson Summary
What is music? Music is an art form that combines either vocal or instrumental sounds, sometimes both, using form, harmony, and expression of emotion to convey an idea. Music represents many different forms that play key factors in cultures around the world. A description of music, when asked by musicians, is quite challenging for them to put into a words. There is something unique, unto each artist, which music makes people feel a specific way in the world. John Coltrane described his music as, ''My music is the spiritual expression of what I am my faith, my knowledge, my being. When you begin to see the possibilities of music, your desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hang ups. I want to speak to their souls.''
Music is the art form that combines rhythm and sound to form a functional melodic line. Music itself transcends time, space, and cultures. Music can carry a mood without speaking any specific words. It can also be captured and recorded in a written universal language unique unto any other art form.
The history of music is a lengthy topic which requires much depth and time. Music is an ancient art form that began during prehistoric times. It carries with it a history for each human culture throughout time. Although there are many varied definitions of music, it is a cultural universal because every culture throughout time and history has made music a primary component of life. For ages, music was passed down through oral tradition on a fundamental level; but for formal purposes, recorded music began with the written tradition by medieval monks during 500 AD to 1400.
Monks used a written number system based on neumes which is a predecessor for modern musical notation today. This was also the time period when polyphony was developed, which means the usage of multiple sounds coming together to form a melody and harmony. The birth of music, as it is today, truly emerged out of the Renaissance time period. In the sixteenth century, a time period known as the golden age, began. The art of vocal polyphony in both sacred and secular music began to emerge and the theories on music were formulated. Gioseffo Zarlino was the Master of the Chapel at St. Marks in Venice, Italy. His work on proportion in voice and music formulated a harmony on the whole. The idea of balance in both the world and in music gave way to writing music with balance in mind. The word music is derived from a word in the Greek language, "mousike" which translates to, ''art of the muses.''
There are millions of human beings around the world. As such, humans have formed culture groups within society and each one expresses characteristics through a form of music. On a whole, there are roughly fourteen basic genres of music that are recorded widely from around the world. These include but are not limited to: Classical, Country, EDM or Electronic Dance Music, Jazz, Indie-Rock, Hip Hop, Pop, Rap, Oldies, Metal, K-pop, R&B or Rhythm and Blues, and Rock. It would be impossible to note every single type of music that is known and recorded around the world, however there are many ways in which to investigate this in terms of each Earth's continents basic cultures and their music.
In Africa, there are common instruments that include drum, musical bow, xylophone, and rattles. A list of genres in Africa would include but not be limited to: Afrobeats, Benga, Chimurenga, Ethio-jazz, Gnawa/Ethno-pop/Gwani Blues, Highlife, Hiplife, Inkiranya, Juju, Majika, Mbalax, Ndombolo, Palm Wine, Rababah, Shaabi, Somali Jazz, Soukou/Congolese Rumba, Ubongo, Zilin, and Zouglou.
In traditional Asian culture, the instruments used were flutes and pipes, stringed instruments, and drums. The traditional approach towards music in Asia was through a methodological or mathematical terms of approach to writing and recording music. Throughout the passage of time, with the evolution of K-Pop music, this approach is still utilized in a more modern way. Some of the genres of Asian music include but are not limited to: Chinese traditional opera, C-Pop, Dangdut, Gagaku court music, Goa trance, Hindustani, Baila, Bollywood, Carnatic, Chinese folk, V-pop, Rafi, Raga rock, Punjabi, K-trot, J-pop, and Japanese folk music.
In regards to the music of the Caribbean, it is a mixture of African and European styles combined. The music of the Caribbean is a combination of music and dance because they work together simultaneously for this culture, which is why drums and percussion instruments are an essential part of the music. Some of the genres of the Caribbean music include: Calypso, Reggae, Merengue, Mento, Dancehall, and Mambo. Zouk, Soca, Ska, Salsa, Rocksteady, and Steel band music/Pan music.
Moving into European music, it is best demonstrated through classical music as a genre. Many notable classical musicians were from Europe and as such, the influences of their work penetrated into the culture. Music of Europe today is greatly influenced by it's peoples who have brought and appreciate music from around the world. Genres of European music include, but are not limited to: A capella, Celtic chant, Drum and Bass, Flamenco, Euro-disco, Trance, Polka, Grime, Opera, and Glitch pop.
Latin and South American music is often referred to as Latin music overall. However, there are many influences upon the music that influenced its melodies, rhythmic bass and rhythms. Some of the genres of Latin music include: Cumbia, Compas, Balada, Bachata, Bossa nova, Mariachi, Vallenatto, Samba, Tango, Reggaeton, Mesitzo, Mexian, and Ranchera.
Music of North American incorporates traditional American music and Canadian music. There are a wide variety of cultures that have influenced the music genres of this region. These genres include: Blues, Canadian folk, Gospel, Bluegrass, American folk, Industrial, Zydeco, Tejano, and Swing.
Music is made up of many components. These components could be classified as characteristics of the concept itself. The characteristics of music can be explained by organizing them into categories.
Music is also clearly defined by elements of the sound itself. Music can be demonstrated through speed or tempo, the volume at which it is played, tempo modifiers, and instrumentation instructions. The Italian language is the language of choice when reading written musical markings. A handful of of these markings are helpful to know when looking at a piece of music. Some of these markings include the following, but are not limited to this list below. All of the words listed are written in the Italian language and defined in terms of musical meaning.
Music is made or created by using sound from human voices or instruments. Sounds are grouped together to form melody, harmony, and rhythm, in combination together and recorded they become a song that is composed. Some music is created spontaneously, and some music is composed over years or decades, depending upon which the composer chooses. The composition of music itself is made up of the vast grouping of notes, phrases, melodies, rhythms, harmonies, and lyrics, which all form a singular piece. The word, composition, often refers to instrumental music and the word, song, lends itself to be a musical piece that has lyrics or words that accompany the music.
The performance of music is a process much like other forms of art. A musical performance takes time, practice, and planning to share with an audience. Although, many musical performances today can take place as prerecorded opportunities that are shared virtually with audiences. A musical performance is seen in North American culture as an interpretive art, although that is not always the case. The instrumentalists and singers themselves always determine the degree a piece of music is played or interpreted. A large group of instrumentalists is known as an orchestra or band depending upon if stringed instruments are included. A small singular performer is known as a soloist, and a trio would be three performers, a quartet would be four performers, and a quintet would be five performers. The elements of music include sound, harmony, melody, rhythm, structure or form, texture and expression. These seven elements of music are essential when creating a piece of music or in the analysis it.
Throughout time, music has been a part of nearly every culture around the world. Music transcends time, supports human beings purposes, and explores the perils and triumphs of societies. Music has often been created by human beings when they were immersed in distress, as a means of communication. During slavery in North America, enslaved people formed a language and means for communication through song itself. This formation of song has been carried for generations and utilized in blues and jazz music today.
The definition of music can be both technical and emotionally driven for human beings, meaning it is the vocal or instrumental sounds combined with harmony to convey an emotion or a specific expression for a human being. The impact of music on the behavior or people is enormous. Music can be used as a tool for enhancing the health of human beings. It can also be utilized for sharing across cultures. The power of music transforms societies through an auditory and or visceral experience. When music is shared through oratory and singing as a collective whole, there is a form of collective experience that emerges. Human beings are social animals and as such, the need to share, is essential for human life. Fifteen members of a choir were assessed after singing together and it was found that they had synchronized breathing and heart rates. Furthermore, the phenomena known as, collective effervescence, is explained further by Adam Grant. The experience of collective singing demonstrates how joy emerges from humans when they work together for a shared experience.
The realm of music drastically changed with the introduction of the internet. There are many positives and negatives that have affected the music industry and consumers alike. Independent musicians can share their music rapidly and more widespread than ever before. The 1990s and early 2000s saw a rise of music downloading via the internet which was both damaging to companies and artists alike. When music is not paid for, those involved in the process of recording are not paid royalties for their work. Music shared legally or streamed through paid platforms has allowed enormous accessibility for people in societies with access to technology. Music from across cultures has been widely shared and enormously distributed in the 2000s. Never was there a faster and constantly growing tool for sharing of music, than the internet. Both the music industry and independent musicians are constantly evolving to keep up with the rapidly changing world of the internet resource. Access to the internet's music availability provides healing when human emotion needs it most.
Music is an art form that combines either vocal or instrumental sounds, sometimes both, formed mainly for the beauty of a chosen form, harmony, and expression of emotion. Music represents many different forms that play key factors in cultures around the world. Music is an ancient art form that began during prehistoric times and carries with it a history for each human culture throughout the world. Characteristics of music include: sound, melody, harmony, rhythm or the driving beats in a measure or section of music, structure or form, texture, and expression. Music is made or created by using sound from human voices or instruments. Music can be demonstrated through speed or tempo, the volume at which it is played, tempo modifiers, and instrumentation instructions. One marking to note would be allegro which means to play quick and lively. A large group of musicians together is known as a symphony orchestra and a small singular player would be known as a soloist. Music sharing on the internet has both erected change and helped human beings feel closer in a rapidly changing world.
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This lesson explained many important terms and concepts surrounding music. It's a concept that most people in the world can relate to. Now it's your turn to think about what you've just learned in new ways using the following activities.
As this lesson mentioned, all human cultures have musical traditions. Choose just one musical tradition and write a paragraph about it. What does this kind of music sound like? What terms from this lesson can you apply to it? What is the history of this musical tradition? Make sure you listen to examples of whatever music you choose!
Examples: You can write about any music, but here are some ideas to get you started: Inuit throat singing; Chinese opera; Yoruba drumming; Indian Raga music; Cape Jazz from South Africa.
This lesson gave you several elements that make up what we typically think of as music. But can music go beyond these definitions? Look at the examples below and write a journal response explaining which, if any, you consider to be music. If they are not music, what are they?
Examples: Birds singing; 4'33" by John Cage; As Slow As Possible by John Cage; the Zadar Sea Organ; the Singing Ringing Tree.
What kinds of music are popular where you live? When did those kinds of music originate? What kinds of music are associated with your culture and history? And what vocabulary words that you learned in this lesson can you apply to your favourite kinds of music today? Write your answers to some or all of these questions in a paragraph or essay.
The five characteristics of music are sound (overtone, duration, amplitude, pitch, timbre), melody, rhythm, structure or form, expression, texture, and melody.
Music can be explained as a combination of predetermined sounds. The process of making music involves organizing sounds, and tones in a specific order and combining them into a unified music composition. Musicians use ingenuity and creativity to organize sounds for a specific result.
The purpose of music is to provide expression and control moods in humans and animals alike. Music can provide a soothing technique for crying babies, and calm animals when they are frightened. Music is an antidote for emotion when words fail.
Music is the instrumental or vocal sounds, sometimes both, that produce a form, harmony, and expression of human emotion in an art form.
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