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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Music lesson Staatliche Antikensammlungen 2421.jpg
A painting on an Ancient Greek vase depicts a music lesson (ca. 510 BC).
Medium Sound
Originating culture various
Originating era Paleolithic
Performing arts
Major forms
Dance · Music · Opera · Theatre · Circus
Minor forms
Magic · Puppetry
Drama · Tragedy · Comedy · Tragicomedy · Romance · Satire · Epic · Lyric

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Music is an art form whose medium is sound. Common elements of music are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike), "(art) of the Muses."[1]
The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their recreation in performance), through improvisational music to aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within "the arts," music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, and auditory art. There is also a strong connection between music and mathematics.
To many people in many cultures music is an important part of their way of life. Greek philosophers and ancient Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."[2] Musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez summarizes the relativist, post-modern viewpoint: "The border between music and noise is always culturally defined—which implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place; in short, there is rarely a consensus ... By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what music might be."[3]




Prehistoric eras

Prehistoric music can only be theorized based on findings from paleolithic archaeology sites. Flutes are often discovered, carved from bones in which lateral holes have been pierced; these are thought to have been blown at one end like the Japanese shakuhachi. The Divje Babe flute, carved from a cave bear femur, is thought to be at least 40,000 years old. Instruments, such as the seven-holed flute and various types of stringed instruments have been recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites.[4] India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world—references to Indian classical music (marga) can be found in the ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas.[5] The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was found in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BC.[6] The Hurrian song, found on clay tablets that date back to the approximately 1400 BC, is the oldest surviving notated work of music.

References in the Bible

"David with his harp" Paris Psalter,
c. 960, Constantinople
Music and theatre scholars studying the history and anthropology of Semitic and early Judeo-Christian culture, have also discovered common links between theatrical and musical activity in the classical cultures of the Hebrews with those of the later cultures of the Greeks and Romans. The common area of performance is found in a "social phenomenon called litany," a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications. The Journal of Religion and Theatre notes that among the earliest forms of litany, "Hebrew litany was accompanied by a rich musical tradition:"[7]
"While Genesis 4.21 identifies Jubal as the “father of all such as handle the harp and pipe,” the Pentateuch is nearly silent about the practice and instruction of music in the early life of Israel. Then, in I Samuel 10 and the texts that follow, a curious thing happens. “One finds in the biblical text,” writes Alfred Sendrey, “a sudden and unexplained upsurge of large choirs and orchestras, consisting of thoroughly organized and trained musical groups, which would be virtually inconceivable without lengthy, methodical preparation.” This has led some scholars to believe that the prophet Samuel was the patriarch of a school, which taught not only prophets and holy men, but also sacred-rite musicians. This public music school, perhaps the earliest in recorded history, was not restricted to a priestly class—which is how the shepherd boy David appears on the scene as a minstrel to King Saul."[7]


Music was an important part of cultural and social life in Ancient Greece: mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual ceremonies; musicians and singers had a prominent role in ancient Greek theater.[8] In the 9th century, the Arab scholar al-Farabi wrote a book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqi al-Kabir ("Great Book of Music"). He played and invented a variety of musical instruments and devised the Arab tone system of pitch organisation, which is still used in Arabic music.[9]

Western cultures

The music of Greece was a major part of ancient Greek theater. In Ancient Greece, mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Instruments included the double-reed aulos and the plucked string instrument, the lyre, especially the special kind called a kithara. Music was an important part of education in ancient Greece, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek musical literacy created a flowering of development; Greek music theory included the Greek musical modes, eventually became the basis for Western religious music and classical music. Later, influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music.
During the Medieval music era (500–1400), the only European repertory that survives from before about 800 is the monophonic liturgical plainsong of the Roman Catholic Church, the central tradition of which was called Gregorian chant. Alongside these traditions of sacred and church music there existed a vibrant tradition of secular song. Examples of composers from this period are Léonin, Pérotin and Guillaume de Machaut. From the Renaissance music era (1400–1600), much of the surviving music of 14th century Europe is secular. By the middle of the 15th century, composers and singers used a smooth polyphony for sacred musical compositions. The introduction of commercial printing helped to disseminate musical styles more quickly and across a larger area. Prominent composers from this era are Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Thomas Morley and Orlande de Lassus.
Allegory of Music, by Filippino Lippi
The era of Baroque music (1600–1750) began when the first operas were written and when contrapuntal music became prevalent. German Baroque composers wrote for small ensembles including strings, brass, and woodwinds, as well as choirs, pipe organ, harpsichord, and clavichord. During the Baroque period, several major music forms were defined that lasted into later periods when they were expanded and evolved further, including the fugue, the invention, the sonata, and the concerto.[10] Composers from the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel and Georg Philipp Telemann. The music of the Classical period (1750–1800) is characterized by homophonic texture, often featuring a prominent melody with accompaniment. These new melodies tended to be almost voice-like and singable. The now popular instrumental music was dominated by further evolution of musical forms initially defined in the Baroque period: the sonata, and the concerto, with the addition of the new form, the symphony. Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are among the central figures of the Classical period.
In 1800, the Romantic era (1800–1890s) in music developed, with Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert as transitional composers who introduced a more dramatic, expressive style. During this era, existing genres, forms, and functions of music were developed, and the emotional and expressive qualities of music came to take precedence over technique and tradition. In Beethoven's case, motifs (developed organically) came to replace melody as the most significant compositional unit. The late 19th century saw a dramatic expansion in the size of the orchestra, and in the role of concerts as part of urban society. Later Romantic composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Gustav Mahler created complex and often much longer musical works. They used more complex chords and used more dissonance to create dramatic tension.

Classical music

Indian classical music is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world.[11] The Indus Valley civilization has sculptures that show dance[12] and old musical instruments, like the seven holed flute. Various types of stringed instruments and drums have been recovered from Harrappa and Mohenjo Daro by excavations carried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.[13] The Rigveda has elements of present Indian music, with a musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting.[14] Indian classical music (marga) is monophonic, and based on a single melody line or raga rhythmically organized through talas. Hindustani music was influenced by the Persian performance practices of the Afghan Mughals. Carnatic music popular in the southern states, is largely devotional; the majority of the songs are addressed to the Hindu deities. There are a lot of songs emphasising love and other social issues.
Asian music covers the music cultures of Arabia, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Chinese classical music, the traditional art or court music of China, has a history stretching over around three thousand years. It has its own unique systems of musical notation, as well as musical tuning and pitch, musical instruments and styles or musical genres. Chinese music is pentatonic-diatonic, having a scale of twelve notes to an octave (5 + 7 = 12) as does European-influenced music. Persian music is the music of Persia and Persian language countries: musiqi, the science and art of music, and muzik, the sound and performance of music (Sakata 1983). See also: Music of Iran, Music of Afghanistan, Music of Tajikistan, Music of Uzbekistan.

20th and 21st century music

Double bassist Reggie Workman, tenor saxophone player Pharoah Sanders, and drummer Idris Muhammad performing in 1978
With 20th century music, there was a vast increase in music listening as the radio gained popularity and phonographs were used to replay and distribute music. The focus of art music was characterized by exploration of new rhythms, styles, and sounds. Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and John Cage were all influential composers in 20th century art music. The invention of sound recording and the ability to edit music gave rise to new sub-genre of classical music, including the acousmatic [15] and Musique concrète schools of electronic composition.
Jazz evolved and became a significant genre of music over the course of the 20th century, and during the second half of that century, rock music did the same. Jazz is an American musical art form that originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note.[16] From its early development until the present, jazz has also incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music.[17] Jazz has, from its early 20th century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres, ranging from New Orleans Dixieland (1910s) to 1970s and 1980s-era jazz-rock fusion.
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed in the 1960s from 1950s rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, and country music. The sound of rock often revolves around the electric guitar or acoustic guitar, and it uses a strong back beat laid down by a rhythm section of electric bass guitar, drums, and keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, or, since the 1970s, analog synthesizers and digital ones and computers since the 1990s. Along with the guitar or keyboards, saxophone and blues-style harmonica are used as soloing instruments. In its "purest form," it "has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody."[18] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, rock music branched out into different subgenres, ranging from blues rock and jazz-rock fusion to heavy metal and punk rock, as well as the more classical influenced genre of progressive rock and several types of experimental rock genres.


Chinese Naxi musicians
Performance is the physical expression of music. Often, a musical work is performed once its structure and instrumentation are satisfactory to its creators; however, as it gets performed, it can evolve and change. A performance can either be rehearsed or improvised. Improvisation is a musical idea created without premeditation, while rehearsal is vigorous repetition of an idea until it has achieved cohesion. Musicians will sometimes add improvisation to a well-rehearsed idea to create a unique performance.
Many cultures include strong traditions of solo and performance, such as in Indian classical music, and in the Western Art music tradition. 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 organised performance rituals such as the modern classical concert, religious processions, music festivals or music competitions. Chamber music, which is music for a small ensemble with only a few of each type of instrument, is often seen as more intimate than symphonic works.

Aural tradition

Many types of music, such as traditional blues and folk music were originally preserved in the memory of performers, and the songs were handed down orally, or aurally (by ear). When the composer of music is no longer known, this music is often classified as "traditional." Different musical traditions have different attitudes towards how and where to make changes to the original source material, from quite strict, to those that demand improvisation or modification to the music. A culture's history may also be passed by ear through song.


In a score or on a performer's music part, this sign indicates that the musician should perform a trill—a rapid alternation between two notes.
The detail included explicitly in the music notation varies between genres and historical periods. In general, art music notation from the 17th through the 19th century required performers to have a great deal of contextual knowledge about performing styles. For example, in the 17th and 18th century, music notated for solo performers typically indicated a simple, unadorned melody. However, performers were expected to know how to add stylistically appropriate ornaments, such as trills and turns. In the 19th century, art music for solo performers may give a general instruction such as to perform the music expressively, without describing in detail how the performer should do this. The performer was expected to know how to use tempo changes, accentuation, and pauses (among other devices) to obtain this "expressive" performance style. In the 20th century, art music notation often became more explicit and used a range of markings and annotations to indicate to performers how they should play or sing the piece.
In popular music and jazz, music notation almost always indicates only the basic framework of the melody, harmony, or performance approach; musicians and singers are expected to know the performance conventions and styles associated with specific genres and pieces. For example, the "lead sheet" for a jazz tune may only indicate the melody and the chord changes. The performers in the jazz ensemble are expected to know how to "flesh out" this basic structure by adding ornaments, improvised music, and chordal accompaniment.


Jean-Gabriel Ferlan performing at a 2008 concert at the collège-lycée Saint-François Xavier
Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Amateur musicians compose and perform music for their own pleasure, and they do not derive their income from music. Professional musicians are employed by a range of institutions and organisations, including armed forces, churches and synagogues, symphony orchestras, broadcasting or film production companies, and music schools. Professional musicians sometimes work as freelancers, seeking contracts and engagements in a variety of settings.
There are often many links between amateur and professional musicians. Beginning amateur musicians take lessons with professional musicians. In community settings, advanced amateur musicians perform with professional musicians in a variety of ensembles and orchestras. In some cases, amateur musicians attain a professional level of competence, and they are able to perform in professional performance settings. A distinction is often made between music performed for the benefit of a live audience and music that is performed for the purpose of being recorded and distributed through the music retail system or the broadcasting system. However, there are also many cases where a live performance in front of an audience is recorded and distributed (or broadcast).


An old songbook showing a composition
"Composition" is often classed as the creation and recording of music via a medium by which others can interpret it (i.e., paper or sound). Many cultures use at least part of the concept of preconceiving musical material, or composition, as held in western classical music. Even when music is notated precisely, there are still many decisions that a performer has to make. The process of a performer deciding how to perform music that has been previously composed and notated is termed interpretation. Different performers' interpretations of the same music can vary widely. Composers and song writers who present their own music are interpreting, just as much as those who perform the music of others or folk music. The standard body of choices and techniques present at a given time and a given place is referred to as performance practice, whereas interpretation is generally used to mean either individual choices of a performer, or an aspect of music that is not clear, and therefore has a "standard" interpretation.
In some musical genres, such as jazz and blues, even more freedom is given to the performer to engage in improvisation on a basic melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic framework. The greatest latitude is given to the performer in a style of performing called free improvisation, which is material that is spontaneously "thought of" (imagined) while being performed, not preconceived. Improvised music usually follows stylistic or genre conventions and even "fully composed" includes some freely chosen material. Composition does not always mean the use of notation, or the known sole authorship of one individual. Music can also be determined by describing a "process" that creates musical sounds. Examples of this range from wind chimes, through computer programs that select sounds. Music from random elements is called Aleatoric music, and is associated with such composers as John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Witold Lutosławski.
Music can be composed for repeated performance or it can be improvised: composed on the spot. The music can be performed entirely from memory, from a written system of musical notation, or some combination of both. Study of composition has traditionally been dominated by examination of methods and practice of Western classical music, but the definition of composition is broad enough to include spontaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African drummers such as the Ewe drummers.
What is important in understanding the composition of a piece is singling out its elements. An understanding of music's formal elements can be helpful in deciphering exactly how a piece is constructed. A universal element of music is how sounds occur in time, which is referred to as the rhythm of a piece of music. When a piece appears to have a changing time-feel, it is considered to be in rubato time, an Italian expression that indicates that the tempo of the piece changes to suit the expressive intent of the performer. Even random placement of random sounds, which occurs in musical montage, occurs within some kind of time, and thus employs time as a musical element.


Sheet music is written representation of music. This is a homorhythmic (i.e., hymn-style) arrangement of a traditional piece entitled Adeste Fideles, in standard two-staff format for mixed voices.
Notation is the written expression of music notes and rhythms on paper using symbols. When music is written down, the pitches and rhythm of the music is notated, along with instructions on how to perform the music. The study of how to read notation involves music theory, harmony, the study of performance practice, and in some cases an understanding of historical performance methods. Written notation varies with style and period of music. In Western Art music, the most common types of written notation are scores, which include all the music parts of an ensemble piece, and parts, which are the music notation for the individual performers or singers. In popular music, jazz, and blues, the standard musical notation is the lead sheet, which notates the melody, chords, lyrics (if it is a vocal piece), and structure of the music. Scores and parts are also used in popular music and jazz, particularly in large ensembles such as jazz "big bands."
In popular music, guitarists and electric bass players often read music notated in tablature (often abbreviated as "tab"), which indicates the location of the notes to be played on the instrument using a diagram of the guitar or bass fingerboard. Tabulature was also used in the Baroque era to notate music for the lute, a stringed, fretted instrument. Notated music is produced as sheet music. To perform music from notation requires an understanding of both the rhythmic and pitch elements embodied in the symbols and the performance practice that is associated with a piece of music or a genre.


Musical improvisation is the creation of spontaneous music. Improvisation is often considered an act of instantaneous composition by performers, where compositional techniques are employed with or without preparation. Improvisation is a major part of some types of music, such as blues, jazz, and jazz fusion, in which instrumental performers improvise solos and melody lines. In the Western art music tradition, improvisation was an important skill during the Baroque era and during the Classical era; solo performers and singers improvised virtuoso cadenzas during concerts. However, in the 20th and 21st century, improvisation played a smaller role in Western Art music.


Music theory encompasses the nature and mechanics of music. It often involves identifying patterns that govern composers' techniques and examining the language and notation of music. In a grand sense, music theory distills and analyzes the parameters or elements of music – rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, structure, form, and texture. Broadly, music theory may include any statement, belief, or conception of or about music.[19] People who study these properties are known as music theorists. Some have applied acoustics, human physiology, and psychology to the explanation of how and why music is perceived. Music has many different fundamentals or elements. These are, but are not limited to: pitch, beat or pulse, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, allocation of voices, timbre or color, expressive qualities (dynamics and articulation), and form or structure.
Pitch is a subjective sensation, reflecting generally the lowness or highness of a sound. Rhythm is the arrangement of sounds and silences in time. Meter animates time in regular pulse groupings, called measures or bars. A melody is a series of notes sounding in succession. The notes of a melody are typically created with respect to pitch systems such as scales or modes. Harmony is the study of vertical sonorities in music. Vertical sonority refers to considering the relationships between pitches that occur together; usually this means at the same time, although harmony can also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic structure. Notes can be arranged into different scales and modes. Western music theory generally divides the octave into a series of 12 notes that might be included in a piece of music. In music written using the system of major-minor tonality, the key of a piece determines the scale used. Musical texture is the overall sound of a piece of music commonly described according to the number of and relationship between parts or lines of music: monophony, heterophony, polyphony, homophony, or monody.
Timbre, sometimes called "Color" or "Tone Color" is the quality or sound of a voice or instrument.[20] Expressive Qualities are those elements in music that create change in music that are not related to pitch, rhythm or timbre. They include Dynamics and Articulation. Form is a facet of music theory that explores the concept of musical syntax, on a local and global level. Examples of common forms of Western music include the fugue, the invention, sonata-allegro, canon, strophic, theme and variations, and rondo. Popular Music often makes use of strophic form often in conjunction with Twelve bar blues. Analysis is the effort to describe and explain music.


A chamber music group consisting of stringed instrument players, a flautist, and a harpsichordist perform in Salzburg
The field of music cognition involves the study of many aspects of music including how it is processed by listeners. Rather than accepting the standard practices of analyzing, composing, and performing music as a given, much research in music cognition seeks instead to uncover the mental processes that underlie these practices. Also, research in the field seeks to uncover commonalities between the musical traditions of disparate cultures and possible cognitive "constraints" that limit these musical systems. Questions regarding musical innateness, and emotional responses to music are also major areas of research in the field.
Deaf people can experience music by feeling the vibrations in their body, a process that can be enhanced if the individual holds a resonant, hollow object. A well-known deaf musician is the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed many famous works even after he had completely lost his hearing. Recent examples of deaf musicians include Evelyn Glennie, a highly acclaimed percussionist who has been deaf since age twelve, and Chris Buck, a virtuoso violinist who has lost his hearing. This is relevant because it indicates that music is a deeper cognitive process than unexamined phrases such as, "pleasing to the ear" suggests. Much research in music cognition seeks to uncover these complex mental processes involved in listening to music, which may seem intuitively simple, yet are vastly intricate and complex.


This Song Dynasty (960–1279) painting, entitled the "Night Revels of Han Xizai," shows Chinese musicians entertaining guests at a party in a 10th century household.
Music is experienced by individuals in a range of social settings ranging from being alone to attending a large concert. Musical performances take different forms in different cultures and socioeconomic milieus. In Europe and North America, there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as a "high culture" and "low culture." "High culture" types of music typically include Western art music such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern-era symphonies, concertos, and solo works, and are typically heard in formal concerts in concert halls and churches, with the audience sitting quietly in seats.
Other types of music—including, but not limited to, jazz, blues, soul, and country—are often performed in bars, nightclubs, and theatres, where the audience may be able to drink, dance, and express themselves by cheering. Until the later 20th century, the division between "high" and "low" musical forms was widely accepted as a valid distinction that separated out better quality, more advanced "art music" from the popular styles of music heard in bars and dance halls.
However, in the 1980s and 1990s, musicologists studying this perceived divide between "high" and "low" musical genres argued that this distinction is not based on the musical value or quality of the different types of music.[citation needed] Rather, they argued that this distinction was based largely on the socioeconomics standing or social class of the performers or audience of the different types of music.[citation needed] For example, whereas the audience for Classical symphony concerts typically have above-average incomes, the audience for a rap concert in an inner-city area may have below-average incomes. Even though the performers, audience, or venue where non-"art" music is performed may have a lower socioeconomic status, the music that is performed, such as blues, rap, punk, funk, or ska may be very complex and sophisticated.
When composers introduce styles of music that break with convention, there can be a strong resistance from academic music experts and popular culture. Late-period Beethoven string quartets, Stravinsky ballet scores, serialism, bebop-era jazz, hip hop, punk rock, and electronica have all been considered non-music by some critics when they were first introduced.[citation needed] Such themes are examined in the sociology of music. The sociological study of music, sometimes called sociomusicology, is often pursued in departments of sociology, media studies, or music, and is closely related to the field of ethnomusicology.

Media and technology

A 12-inch (30-cm) 3313 rpm record (left), a 7-inch 45 rpm record (right), which are both analog sound storage mediums, and a CD (above), a digital medium.
The music that composers 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, television or the Internet. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a performance, while others focus on producing a recording that mixes together sounds that were never played "live." Recording, even of essentially live styles, often uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings considered better than the actual performance.
As talking pictures emerged in the early 20th century, with their prerecorded musical tracks, an increasing number of moviehouse orchestra musicians found themselves out of work.[21] During the 1920s live musical performances by orchestras, pianists, and theater organists were common at first-run theaters.[22] With the coming of the talking motion pictures, those featured performances were largely eliminated. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) took out newspaper advertisements protesting the replacement of live musicians with mechanical playing devices. One 1929 ad that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press features an image of a can labeled "Canned Music / Big Noise Brand / Guaranteed to Produce No Intellectual or Emotional Reaction Whatever"[23]
Since legislation introduced to help protect performers, composers, publishers and producers, including the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 in the United States, and the 1979 revised Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in the United Kingdom, recordings and live performances have also become more accessible through computers, devices and Internet in a form that is commonly known as Music-On-Demand.
In many cultures, there is less distinction between performing and listening to music, since virtually everyone is involved in some sort of musical activity, often communal. In industrialized countries, listening to music through a recorded form, such as sound recording or watching a music video, became more common than experiencing live performance, roughly in the middle of the 20th century.
Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds. For example, a disc jockey uses disc records for scratching, and some 20th century works have a solo for an instrument or voice that is performed along with music that is prerecorded onto a tape. Computers and many keyboards can be programmed to produce and play Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) music. Audiences can also become performers by participating in karaoke, an activity of Japanese origin centered on a device that plays voice-eliminated versions of well-known songs. Most karaoke machines also have video screens that show lyrics to songs being performed; performers can follow the lyrics as they sing over the instrumental tracks.


The advent of the Internet has transformed the experience of music, partly through the increased ease of access to music and the increased choice. Chris Anderson, in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, suggests that while the economic model of supply and demand describes scarcity, the Internet retail model is based on abundance. Digital storage costs are low, so a company can afford to make its whole inventory available online, giving customers as much choice as possible. It has thus become economically viable to offer products that very few people are interested in. Consumers' growing awareness of their increased choice results in a closer association between listening tastes and social identity, and the creation of thousands of niche markets.[24]
Another effect of the Internet arises with online communities like YouTube and MySpace. MySpace has made social networking with other musicians easier, and greatly facilitates the distribution of one's music. YouTube also has a large community of both amateur and professional musicians who post videos and comments.[citation needed] Professional musicians also use YouTube as a free publisher of promotional material. YouTube users, for example, no longer only download and listen to MP3s, but also actively create their own. According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, in their book Wikinomics, there has been a shift from a traditional consumer role to what they call a "prosumer" role, a consumer who both creates and consumes. Manifestations of this in music include the production of mashes, remixes, and music videos by fans.[25]


The music industry refers to the business industry connected with the creation and sale of music. It consists of record companies, labels and publishers that distribute recorded music products internationally and that often control the rights to those products. Some music labels are "independent," while others are subsidiaries of larger corporate entities or international media groups. In the 2000s, the increasing popularity of listening to music as digital music files on MP3 players, iPods, or computers, and of trading music on file sharing sites or buying it online in the form of digital files had a major impact on the traditional music business. Many smaller independent CD stores went out of business as music buyers decreased their purchases of CDs, and many labels had lower CD sales. Some companies did well with the change to a digital format, though, such as Apple's iTunes, an online store that sells digital files of songs over the Internet.



A Suzuki violin recital with students of varying ages.
The incorporation of music training from preschool to post secondary education is common in North America and Europe. Involvement in music is thought to teach basic skills such as concentration, counting, listening, and cooperation while also promoting understanding of language, improving the ability to recall information, and creating an environment more conducive to learning in other areas.[26] In elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as the recorder, sing in small choirs, and learn about the history of Western art music. In secondary schools students may have the opportunity to perform some type of musical ensembles, such as choirs, marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, or orchestras, and in some school systems, music classes may be available. Some students also take private music lessons with a teacher. Amateur musicians typically take lessons to learn musical rudiments and beginner- to intermediate-level musical techniques.
At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs can receive credit for taking music courses, which typically take the form of an overview course on the history of music, or a music appreciation course that focuses on listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In addition, most North American and European universities have some type of musical ensembles that non-music students are able to participate in, such as choirs, marching bands, or orchestras. The study of Western art music is increasingly common outside of North America and Europe, such as the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, or the classical music programs that are available in Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time, Western universities and colleges are widening their curriculum to include music of non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali (e.g. Gamelan music).


Musicology is the study of the subject of music. The earliest definitions defined three sub-disciplines: systematic musicology, historical musicology, and comparative musicology or ethnomusicology. 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. Students can pursue the undergraduate study of musicology, ethnomusicology, music history, and music theory through several different types of degrees, including a B.Mus, a B.A. with concentration in music, a B.A. with Honors in Music, or a B.A. in Music History and Literature. Graduates of undergraduate music programs can go on to further study in music graduate programs.
Graduate degrees include the Master of Music, the Master of Arts, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (e.g., in musicology or music theory), and more recently, the Doctor of Musical Arts, or DMA. The Master of Music degree, which takes one to two years to complete, is typically awarded to students studying the performance of an instrument, education, voice or composition. The Master of Arts degree, which takes one to two years to complete and often requires a thesis, is typically awarded to students studying musicology, music history, or music theory. Undergraduate university degrees in music, including the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Music Education, and the Bachelor of Arts (with a major in music) typically take three to five years to complete. These degrees provide students with a grounding in music theory and music history, and many students also study an instrument or learn singing technique as part of their program.
The PhD, which is required for students who want to work as university professors in musicology, music history, or music theory, takes three to five years of study after the Master's degree, during which time the student will complete advanced courses and undertake research for a dissertation. The DMA is a relatively new degree that was created to provide a credential for professional performers or composers that want to work as university professors in musical performance or composition. The DMA takes three to five years after a Master's degree, and includes advanced courses, projects, and performances. 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.
Zoomusicology is the study of the music of non-human animals, or the musical aspects of sounds produced by non-human animals. As George Herzog (1941) asked, "do animals have music?" François-Bernard Mâche's Musique, mythe, nature, ou les Dauphins d'Arion (1983), a study of "ornitho-musicology" using a technique of Nicolas Ruwet's Language, musique, poésie (1972) paradigmatic segmentation analysis, shows that bird songs are organised according to a repetition-transformation principle. Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1990), argues that "in the last analysis, it is a human being who decides what is and is not musical, even when the sound is not of human origin. If we acknowledge that sound is not organised and conceptualised (that is, made to form music) merely by its producer, but by the mind that perceives it, then music is uniquely human."
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 mathematics, physics, 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 of 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, contrasted with analytic music theory, is devoted to the analysis and synthesis of music materials, for example tuning systems, generally as preparation for composition.


Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for the Bureau of American Ethnology (1916)
In the West, much of the history of music that is taught deals with the Western civilization's art music. The history of music in other cultures ("world music" or the field of "ethnomusicology") is also taught in Western universities. This includes the documented classical traditions of Asian countries outside the influence of Western Europe, as well as the folk or indigenous music of various other cultures. Popular styles of music varied widely from culture to culture, and from period to period. Different cultures emphasised different instruments, or techniques, or uses for music. Music has been used not only for entertainment, for ceremonies, and for practical and artistic communication, but also for propaganda.
There is a host of music classifications, many of which are caught up in the argument over the definition of music. Among the largest of these is the division between classical music (or "art" music), and popular music (or commercial music – including rock music, country music, and pop music). Some genres do not fit neatly into one of these "big two" classifications, (such as folk music, world music, or jazz music).
As world cultures have come into greater contact, their indigenous musical styles have often merged into new styles. For example, the United States bluegrass style contains elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish, Irish, German and African instrumental and vocal traditions, which were able to fuse in the United States' multi-ethnic society. Genres of music are determined as much by tradition and presentation as by the actual music. Some works, like George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, are claimed by both jazz and classical music, while Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story are claimed by both opera and the Broadway musical tradition. Many current music festivals celebrate a particular musical genre.
Indian music, for example, is one of the oldest and longest living types of music, and is still widely heard and performed in South Asia, as well as internationally (especially since the 1960s). Indian music has mainly three forms of classical music, Hindustani, Carnatic, and Dhrupad styles. It has also a large repertoire of styles, which involve only percussion music such as the talavadya performances famous in South India.

Music therapy

Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health. In some instances, the client's needs are addressed directly through music; in others they are addressed through the relationships that develop between the client and therapist. Music therapy is used with individuals of all ages and with a variety of conditions, including: psychiatric disorders, medical problems, physical handicaps, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, communication disorders, interpersonal problems, and aging. It is also used to: improve learning, build self-esteem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other health-related activities.
One of the earliest mentions of Music Therapy was in Al-Farabi's (c. 872 – 950) treatise Meanings of the Intellect, which described the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.[27] Music has long been used to help people deal with their emotions. In the 17th century, the scholar Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy argued that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness, especially melancholia.[28] He noted that music has an "excellent power expel many other diseases" and he called it "a sovereign remedy against despair and melancholy." He pointed out that in Antiquity, Canus, a Rhodian fiddler, used music to "make a melancholy man merry, ...a lover more enamoured, a religious man more devout." [29][30][31] In November 2006, Dr. Michael J. Crawford[32] and his colleagues also found that music therapy helped schizophrenic patients.[33] In the Ottoman Empire, mental illnesses were treated with music.[34]

Music history, sometimes called historical musicology, is the highly diverse subfield of the broader discipline of musicology that studies the composition, performance, reception, and criticism of music over time. Historical studies of music are for example concerned with a composer's life and works, the developments of styles and genres (such as baroque concertos), the social function of music for a particular group of people (such as music at the court), or the modes of performance at a particular place and time (such as the performance forces of Johann Sebastian Bach's choir in Leipzig).
In theory, "music history" could refer to the study of the history of any type or genre of music (e.g., the history of Indian music or the history of rock). In practice, these research topics are nearly always categorized as part of ethnomusicology or cultural studies, whether or not they are ethnographically based.
The methods of music history include source studies (esp. manuscript studies), paleography, philology (especially textual criticism), style criticism, historiography (the choice of historical method), musical analysis, and iconography. The application of musical analysis to further these goals is often a part of music history, though pure analysis or the development of new tools of music analysis is more likely to be seen in the field of music theory. (For a more detailed discussion of the methods see the section on "Research in Music History" below) Some of the intellectual products of music historians include editions of musical works, biography of composers and other musicians, studies of the relationship between words and music, and the reflections upon the place of music in society.



[edit] Pedagogy

Although most performers of classical and traditional instruments receive some instruction in music history from teachers throughout their training, the majority of formal music history courses are offered at the college level. In Canada, some music students receive training prior to undergraduate studies because examinations in music history (as well as music theory) are required to complete Royal Conservatory certification at the Grade 9 level and higher. Particularly in the United States and Canada, university courses tend to be divided into two groups: one type to be taken by students with little or no music theory or ability to read music (often called music appreciation) and the other for more musically literate students (often those planning on making a career in music).
Most medium and large institutions will offer both types of courses. The two types of courses will usually differ in length (one to two semesters vs. two to four), breadth (many music appreciation courses begin at the late Baroque or classical eras and might omit music after WWII while courses for majors traditionally span the period from the Middle Ages to recent times), and depth. Both types of courses tend to emphasize a balance among the acquisition of musical repertory (often emphasized through listening examinations), study and analysis of these works, biographical and cultural details of music and musicians, and writing about music, perhaps through music criticism.
More specialized seminars in music history tend to use a similar approach on a narrower subject while introducing more of the tools of research in music history (see below). The range of possible topics is virtually limitless. Some examples might be "Music during World War I," "Medieval and Renaissance instrumental music," "Music and Process," "Mozart's Don Giovanni." In the United States, these seminars are generally taken by advanced undergraduates and graduate students, though in European countries they often form the backbone of music history education.
The methods and tools of music history are nearly as numerous as its subjects and therefore make a strict categorization impossible. However, a few trends and approaches can be outlined here. Like in any other historical discipline, most research in music history can be roughly divided into two categories: the establishing of factual and correct data and the interpretation of data. Most historical research does not fall into one category solely, but rather employs a combination of methods from both categories. It should also be noted that the act of establishing factual data can never be fully separate from the act of interpretation.
Source studies. A desire to examine sources of music closest to the composer or period which produced it has made manuscript, archival, and source study important in almost every field of musicology. In early music in particular, manuscript study may be the only way to study an unedited work. Such study may be complicated by the need to decipher earlier forms of music notation. Manuscript study can also allow a researcher to return to a version of a work prior to the interventions of later editors, perhaps as a basis for her own edition.
Questions such as "Why did Beethoven scratch out the name of Napoleon from the title page of his Eroica symphony?" are of interest to music historians
Archival work may be conducted to find connections to music or musicians in a collection of documents of broader interests (e.g., Vatican pay records, letters to a patroness of the arts) or to more systematically study a collection of documents related to a musician. In some cases, where records, scores, and letters have been digitized, archival work can be done online. One example of a composer for whom archival materials can be examined online is the Arnold Schoenberg Center.[1]
Performance practice draws on many of the tools of historical musicology to answer the specific question of how music was performed in various places at various times in the past. Scholars investigate questions such as which instruments or voices were used to perform a given work, what tempos (or tempo changes) were used, and how (or if) ornaments were used. Although performance practice was previously confined to early music from the Baroque era, since the 1990s, research in performance practice has examined other historical eras, such as how early Classical era piano concerti were performed, how the early history of recording affected the use of vibrato in classical music, or which instruments were used in Klezmer music.
Biographical studies of composers can give a better sense of the chronology of compositions, influences on style and works, and provide important background to the interpretation (by performers or listeners) of works. Thus biography can form one part of the larger study of the cultural significance, underlying program, or agenda of a work; a study which gained increasing importance in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Sociological studies focus on the function of music in society as well as its meaning for individuals and society as a whole. Researchers emphasizing the social importance of music (including classical music) are sometimes called New musicologists.
Semiotic studies are most conventionally the province of music analysts rather than historians. However, crucial to the practice of musical semiotics - the interpretation of meaning in a work or style - is its situation in an historical context. The interpretative work of scholars such as Kofi Agawu and Lawrence Kramer fall between the analytic and the music historical.

[edit] History

[edit] Before 1800

The first studies of Western musical history date back to the middle of the 18th century. G.B. Martini published a three volume history titled Storia della musica (History of Music) between 1757 and 1781. [Martin Gerbert] published a two volume history of sacred music titled De cantu de musica sacra in 1774. Gerbert followed this work with a three volume work Scriptores ecclesiastici de musica sacra containing significant writings on sacred music from the 3rd century onwards in 1784.

[edit] 1800-1950

Ludwig van Beethoven's manuscript sketch for Piano Sonata No. 28, Movement IV, Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit (Allegro), in his own handwriting. The piece was completed in 1816.
In the 20th century, the work of Johannes Wolf and others developed studies in Medieval music and early Renaissance music. Wolf's writings on the history of musical notation are considered to be particularly notable by musicologists. Historical musicology has played a critical role in renewed interest in Baroque music as well as medieval and Renaissance music. In particular, the authentic performance movement owes much to historical musicological scholarship. Towards the middle of the 20th century, musicology (and its largest subfield of historical musicology) expanded significantly as a field of study. Concurrently the number of musicological and music journals increased to create further outlets for the publication of research. The domination of German language scholarship ebbed as significant journals sprang up throughout the West, especially America.

[edit] Critiques

[edit] Exclusion of disciplines and musics

In its most narrow definition, historical musicology is the music history of Western culture. Such a definition arbitrarily excludes disciplines other than history, cultures other than Western, and forms of music other than "classical" ("art", "serious", "high culture") or notated ("artificial") - implying that the omitted disciplines, cultures, and musical styles/genres are somehow inferior. A somewhat broader definition incorporating all musical humanities is still problematic, because it arbitrarily excludes the relevant (natural) sciences (acoustics, psychology, physiology, neurosciences, information and computer sciences, empirical sociology and aesthetics) as well as musical practice. The musicological sub-disciplines of music theory and music analysis have likewise historically been rather uneasily separated from the most narrow definition of historical musicology.
Within historical musicology, scholars have been reluctant to adopt postmodern and critical approaches that are common elsewhere in the humanities. According to Susan McClary (2000, p. 1285) the discipline of "music lags behind the other arts; it picks up ideas from other media just when they have become outmoded." Only in the 1990s did historical musicologists, preceded by feminist musicologists in the late 1980s, begin to address issues such as gender, sexualities, bodies, emotions, and subjectivities which dominated the humanities for twenty years before (ibid, p. 10). In McClary's words (1991, p. 5), "It almost seems that musicology managed miraculously to pass directly from pre- to postfeminism without ever having to change - or even examine - its ways." Furthermore, in their discussion on musicology and rock music, Susan McClary and Robert Walser also address a key struggle within the discipline: how musicology has often "dismisse[d] questions of socio-musical interaction out of hand, that part of classical music's greatness is ascribed to its autonomy from society." (1988, p. 283)

[edit] Exclusion of popular music

According to Richard Middleton, the strongest criticism of (historical) musicology has been that it generally ignores popular music. Though musicological study of popular music has vastly increased in quantity recently, Middleton's assertion in 1990—that most major "works of musicology, theoretical or historical, act as though popular music did not exist" -- holds true. Academic and conservatory training typically only peripherally addresses this broad spectrum of musics, and many (historical) musicologists who are "both contemptuous and condescending are looking for types of production, musical form, and listening which they associate with a different kind of music...'classical music'...and they generally find popular music lacking"
He cites three main aspects of this problem (p. 104-6). The terminology of historical musicology is "slanted by the needs and history of a particular music ('classical music')." He acknowledges that "there is a rich vocabulary for certain areas [harmony, tonality, certain part-writing and forms], important in musicology's typical corpus"; yet he points out that there is "an impoverished vocabulary for other areas [rhythm, pitch nuance and gradation, and timbre], which are less well developed" in Classical music. Middleton argues that a number of "terms are ideologically loaded" in that "they always involve selective, and often unconsciously formulated, conceptions of what music is."
As well, he claims that historical musicology uses "a methodology slanted by the characteristics of notation," 'notational centricity' (Tagg 1979, p. 28-32). As a result "musicological methods tend to foreground those musical parameters which can be easily notated" such as pitch relationships or the relationship between words and music. On the other hand, historical musicology tends to "neglect or have difficulty with parameters which are not easily notated", such as tone colour or non-Western rhythms. In addition, he claims that the "notation-centric training" of Western music schools "induces particular forms of listening, and these then tend to be applied to all sorts of music, appropriately or not". As a result, Western music students trained in historical musicology may listen to a funk or Latin song that is very rhythmically complex, but then dismiss it as a low-level musical work because it has a very simple melody and only uses two or three chords.
Notational centricity also encourages "reification: the score comes to be seen as 'the music', or perhaps the music in an ideal form." As such, music that does not use a written score, such as jazz, blues, or folk, can become demoted to a lower level of status. As well, historical musicology has "an ideology slanted by the origins and development of a particular body of music and its aesthetic...It arose at a specific moment, in a specific context - nineteenth-century Europe, especially Germany - and in close association with that movement in the musical practice of the period which was codifying the very repertory then taken by musicology as the centre of its attention." These terminological, methodological, and ideological problems affect even works symphathetic to popular music. However, it is not "that musicology cannot understand popular music, or that students of popular music should abandon musicology" (p. 104).
A music genre is a categorical and typological construct that identifies musical sounds as belonging to a particular category and type of music that can be distinguished from other types of music.[citation needed]
Music can be divided into many genres in many different ways.[citation needed] Due to the different purposes behind them and the different points of view from which they are made, these classifications are often arbitrary and controversial and closely related genres often overlap.[citation needed] Many do not believe that generic classification of musical genres is possible in any logically consistent way, and also argue that doing so sets limitations and boundaries that hinder the development of music. While no one doubts that it is possible to note similarities between musical pieces, there are often exceptions and caveats associated.
There are several academic approaches to genre. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green lists the madrigal, the motet, the canzona, the ricercar, and the dance as examples of genres (from the Renaissance period). According to Green, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre - both are violin concertos - but different in form. Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, and the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."[1] Some treat the terms genre and style as the same, and state that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language".[2] Others state that genre and style are two separate terms, and that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can also differentiate between genres.[3] A music genre (or sub-genre) could be defined by the techniques, the styles, the context and the themes (content, spirit). Also, geographical origin sometimes is used to define the music genre, though a single geographical category will normally include a wide variety of sub-genres.
Kembrew McLeod, in an essay entitled "Genres, Subgenres, Sub-Subgenres and More",[4] suggested that in electronic music, "the naming of new subgenres can be linked to a variety of influences, such as the rapidly evolving nature of the music, accelerated consumer culture, and the synergy created by record company marketing strategies and music magazine hype. The appropriation of the musics of minorities by straight, middle and upper-middle-class Whites in the United States and Great Britain plays a part, and the rapid and ongoing naming process within electronic/dance music subcultures acts as a gate-keeping mechanism, as well."
A list of genres of music (including sub genres) can be found at List of music genres. There are a number of criteria with which one may classify musical genres,[citation needed] including:
  • The Art/Popular/Traditional distinction
  • Time period
  • Regional and national distinctions
  • Technique and instrumentation
  • Fusional origins
  • Sociological function



[edit] The Art/Popular/Traditional distinction

[edit] Art music

Art music primarily refers to classical music or others listed at List of art music traditions (including non-European classical music), contemporary classical music (including electronic music, experimental music and minimalist music). Art music may also include certain forms of jazz (even though jazz is primarily a form of popular music), religious music, folk, and world beat music. New Age is also used as an form an art music. Art music is music that is used as in a form of a work of art, and uses many textbook elements of music. Art music is mostly instrumental, but lyrics are added but are in a poetic, political, or religious sense. Art music is music generally discussed in music education and played on public radio stations!

[edit] Popular music

The usual stereotype of "popular music" is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and are disseminated by one or more of the mass media. For a critical introduction, see the work of Richard Middleton (e.g. Studying Popular Music 1998) and Starr/Waterman American Popular Music (2004). Popular music is also used in more of a sense with the market economy, in a way music can be used to make a profit. Popular music is usually found on most commercial radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, and for use in movie and television soundtracks. Popular music is also recorded on the Billboard charts and uses music producers as opposed to singer songwriters and composers.
The relationship between (particularly, the relative value of) classical music and popular music is a controversial question. Some partisans of classical music[who?] may claim that classical music constitutes art and popular music only light entertainment.[citation needed] However, many popular works show a high level of artistry and musical innovation and many classical works are unabashedly crowd-pleasing. The elevation of classical music to a position of special value is closely connected to the concept of a Western canon, and to theories of educational perennialism.
The very distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in the border regions,[5] for instance minimalist music and light classics. In this respect music is like fiction, which likewise draws a distinction between classics and popular fiction that is not always easy to maintain.
Neat divisions between 'folk' and 'popular', and 'popular' and 'art', are impossible to find ... arbitrary criteria [are used] to define the complement of 'popular'. 'Art' music, for example, is generally regarded as by nature complex, difficult, demanding; 'popular' music then has to be defined as 'simple', 'accessible', 'facile'. But many pieces commonly thought of as 'art' (Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus', many Schubert songs, many Verdi arias) have qualities of simplicity; conversely, it is by no means obvious that the Sex Pistols' records were 'accessible', Frank Zappa's work 'simple', or Billie Holiday's 'facile'." (Middleton, 1990)

[edit] Traditional music

Traditional music is the modern name for what used to be called "folk music", before the term "folk music" was expanded to include a lot of non-traditional material. The defining characteristics of traditional music are:
  • Oral transmission: The music is passed down, or learned, through singing and listening and sometimes dancing
  • Cultural basis: The music derives from and is part of the traditions of a particular region or culture.

[edit] Other criteria for categorization

[edit] Time period

Music is sometimes categorized by the time period from which it originates or was most popular, e. g. '50's rock', '17th century music' or 'music from the romantic period'.

[edit] Regional and national music

It is possible to categorize music geographically. For example, the term "Australian music" could include Australian rock music, Australian traditional music in the European style (e.g. Waltzing Matilda), Aboriginal Australian music, Australian classical music, and Australian Jazz.

[edit] Technique and instrumentation

Music can also be categorized by some technical aspect including the instruments used. For example Rock music revolves around the electric guitar, and Club music is typically accompanied by synthesizers and/or drum machines.

[edit] Fusional origins

A genre can be labelled so its fusional origins from other preexisting genres becomes clear, e.g. blues rock, latin jazz. In other cases the name of the genre only reflects the fact that it mixes different styles, e.g. crossover, jazz fusion.

[edit] Sociological function

Music genres can also be categorized by their sociological function. Trivial examples are wedding music and Christmas music.

[edit] Emergence of new genres and subgenres

The emergence of new genres can occur by actual development of new forms and styles of music, but also just by a new categorization.
Although it is theoretically possible to create a musical style with new relations to existing genres, new styles more commonly appear under influence of preexisting genres. The genealogy of musical genres is the pattern of musical genres that have contributed to the development of new genres, which often can be expressed in the form of a written chart.[citation needed] If two or more existing genres influence the emergence of a new genre a fusion between these genres can be said to have taken place.

[edit] New genres by fusion

In the West, nearly all music except Traditional music has a fusional origin.[dubious ]
A fusion genre is a music genre that combines two or more genres. For example, rock and roll originally developed as a fusion of blues, gospel and country music. The main characteristics of fusion genres are variations in tempo, rhythm and sometimes the use of long musical "journeys" that can be divided into smaller parts, each with their own dynamics, style and tempo.[attribution needed]
Artists who work in fusion genres are often difficult to categorise within non-fusion styles. Most styles of fusion music are influenced by various musical genres. While there are many reasons for this, the main reason is that most genres evolved out of other genres. When the new genre finally identifies itself as separate, there is often a large gray area in which musicians are left. These artists generally consider themselves part of both genres. A musician who plays music that is dominantly blues, influenced by rock, is often labelled a blues-rock musician. The first genre is the one from which the new one evolved. The second genre is the newer and less-dominant genre in the artist's playing. An example of a blues-rock group would be Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Vaughan, a Texas blues guitarist, surrounded by a world in which rock was dominating music, used rock and blues together.

[edit] The originality of new genres and subgenres

What is an actual fusion between genres and what is a mere influence from another genre can often be disputed. Also the level of originality needed to create a completely new genre can be questioned. But most people would agree on the distinctness of e.g. rock music from its predecessors. In some genres, the emergence of subgenres is vast and the originality and distinctness of these subgenres has been questioned.[citation needed]
When a certain level of originality has been reached, more particularly when new styles emerge, moving away from more mainstream forms, the label 'alternative' has been used, e.g., alternative rock, alternative country.

[edit] New genres by new categorization

There is a fair amount of examples were the music genre has been labelled long after its first actual appearance, e.g. the term 'jazz' was not established as a genre name before the years just prior to 1920 yet the musical phenomenon had been a round at least since roughly the turn of the century.[6] There can be several reasons for this. One is that the categorization has been done in the process of a music historical survey.[specify] Another reason could be a more nostalgic flashback.

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