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Music

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For other uses, see Music (disambiguation).

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Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.[1][2] It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics (loudness and softness), and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture (which are sometimes termed the "color" of a musical sound). Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces (such as songs without instrumental accompaniment) and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousiké; "(art) of the Muses").[3]

 

Allegory of Music, by François Boucher, 1764

In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form or cultural activity include the creation of works of music (songs, tunes, symphonies, and so on), the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, and the aesthetic examination of music. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music in two parts: melodies, as tones ordered horizontally, and harmonies as tones ordered vertically. 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."[4]

The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Indeed, throughout history, some new forms or styles of music have been criticized as "not being music", including Beethoven's Grosse Fuge string quartet in 1825,[5] early jazz in the beginning of the 1900s[6] and hardcore punk in the 1980s.[7] There are many types of music, including popular music, traditional music, art music, music written for religious ceremonies, and work songs such as chanteys. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions—such as Classical music symphonies from the 1700s and 1800s—through to spontaneously played improvisational music such as jazz, and avant-garde styles of chance-based contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Music can be divided into genres (e.g., country music) and genres can be further divided into subgenres (e.g., alternative country and country pop are two of the many country subgenres), although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to personal interpretation, and occasionally controversial. For example, it can be hard to draw the line between some early 1980s hard rock and heavy metal. Within the arts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, or as an auditory art. Music may be played or sung and heard live at a rock concert or orchestra performance, heard live as part of a dramatic work (a music theater show or opera), or it may be recorded and listened to on a radio, MP3 player, CD player, smartphone or as film score or TV show.

In many cultures, music is an important part of people's way of life, as it plays a key role in religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies (e.g., graduation and marriage), social activities (e.g., dancing) and cultural activities ranging from amateur karaoke singing to playing in an amateur funk band or singing in a community choir. People may make music as a hobby, like a teen playing cello in a youth orchestra, or work as a professional musician or singer. The music industry includes the individuals who create new songs and musical pieces (such as songwriters and composers), individuals who perform music (which include orchestra, jazz band and rock band musicians, singers and conductors), individuals who record music (music producers and sound engineers), individuals who organize concert tours, and individuals who sell recordings, sheet music, and scores to customers. Even once a song or piece has been performed, music critics, music journalists, and music scholars may assess and evaluate the piece and its performance.

Etymology

 

In Greek mythology, the nine Muses were the inspiration for many creative endeavors, including the arts.

The word 'music' is derived from Ancient Greekμουσική (mousiké) '(art) of the Muses'.[3] In Greek mythology, the nine Muses were the goddesses who inspired literature, science, and the arts and who were the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, song-lyrics, and myths in the Greek culture. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the term music is derived from "mid-13c., musike, from Old French musique (12c.) and directly from Latin musica 'the art of music', also including poetry (also [the] source of Spanish música, Italian musica, Old High German mosica, German Musik, Dutch muziek, Danish musik)." This is derived from the "...Greek mousike (techne) '(art) of the Muses,' from fem. of mousikos 'pertaining to the Muses', from Mousa 'Muse' (see muse (n.)). Modern spelling [dates] from [the] 1630s. In classical Greece, [the term 'music' refers to] any art in which the Muses presided, but especially music and lyric poetry."[8][better source needed]

Art and entertainment

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Khatia Buniatishvili playing a grand piano

Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. When music was only available through sheet music scores, such as during the Classical and Romantic eras, music lovers would buy the sheet music of their favourite pieces and songs so that they could perform them at home on the piano. With the advent of the phonograph, records of popular songs, rather than sheet music became the dominant way that music lovers would enjoy their favourite songs. With the advent of home tape recorders in the 1980s and digital music in the 1990s, music lovers could make tapes or playlists of their favourite songs and take them with them on a portable cassette player or MP3 player. Some music lovers create mix tapes of their favourite songs, which serve as a "self-portrait, a gesture of friendship, prescription for an ideal party... [and] an environment consisting solely of what is most ardently loved".[9]

Amateur musicians can compose or perform music for their own pleasure, and derive their income elsewhere. Professional musicians are employed by a range of institutions and organisations, including armed forces (in marching bands, concert bands and popular music groups), churches and synagogues, symphony orchestras, broadcasting or film production companies, and music schools. Professional musicians sometimes work as freelancers or session musicians, 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 such as community concert bands and community orchestras.

A distinction is often made between music performed for a live audience and music that is performed in a studio so that it can be 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 also recorded and distributed. Live concert recordings are popular in both classical music and in popular music forms such as rock, where illegally taped live concerts are prized by music lovers. In the jam band scene, live, improvised jam sessions are preferred to studio recordings.

Composition

Main article: Musical composition

 

People composing music in 2013 using electronic keyboards and computers.

 

French Baroque music composer Michel Richard Delalande (1657–1726), pen in hand.

"Composition" is the act or practice of creating a song, an instrumental music piece, a work with both singing and instruments, or another type of music. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing also includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score", which is then performed by the composer or by other singers or musicians. In popular music and traditional music, the act of composing, which is typically called songwriting, may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, the composer typically orchestrates his or her own compositions, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a songwriter may not use notation at all, and instead, compose the song in her mind and then play or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written scores play in classical music.

Even when music is notated relatively precisely, as in classical music, there are many decisions that a performer has to make, because notation does not specify all of the elements of music precisely. The process of deciding how to perform music that has been previously composed and notated is termed "interpretation". Different performers' interpretations of the same work of music can vary widely, in terms of the tempos that are chosen and the playing or singing style or phrasing of the melodies. Composers and songwriters who present their own music are interpreting their songs, just as much as those who perform the music of others. 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 the individual choices of a performer.[citation needed]

Although a musical composition often uses musical notation and has a single author, this is not always the case. A work of music can have multiple composers, which often occurs in popular music when a band collaborates to write a song, or in musical theatre, when one person writes the melodies, a second person writes the lyrics, and a third person orchestrates the songs. In some styles of music, such as the blues, a composer/songwriter may create, perform and record new songs or pieces without ever writing them down in music notation. A piece of music can also be composed with words, images, or computer programs that explain or notate how the singer or musician should create musical sounds. Examples range from avant-garde music that uses graphic notation, to text compositions such as Aus den sieben Tagen, to computer programs that select sounds for musical pieces. Music that makes heavy use of randomness and chance is called aleatoric music, and is associated with contemporary composers active in the 20th century, such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Witold Lutosławski. A more commonly known example of chance-based music is the sound of wind chimes jingling in a breeze.

The 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 the creation of popular music and traditional music songs and instrumental pieces as well as spontaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African percussionists such as Ewe drummers.

Notation

Main article: Musical notation

 

Sheet music is a written representation of music. Homorhythmic (i.e., hymn-style) arrangement of the traditional "Adeste Fideles" in standard two-staff format for mixed voices.

In the 2000s, music notation typically means the written expression of music notes and rhythms on paper using symbols. When music is written down, the pitches and rhythm of the music, such as the notes of a melody, are notated. Music notation also often provides instructions on how to perform the music. For example, the sheet music for a song may state that the song is a "slow blues" or a "fast swing", which indicates the tempo and the genre. To read music notation, a person must have an understanding of music theory, harmony and the performance practice associated with a particular song or piece's genre.

Written notation varies with the style and period of music. In the 2000s, notated music is produced as sheet music or, for individuals with computer scorewriter programs, as an image on a computer screen. In ancient times, music notation was put onto stone or clay tablets. To perform music from notation, a singer or instrumentalist requires an understanding of the rhythmic and pitch elements embodied in the symbols and the performance practice that is associated with a piece of music or a genre. In genres requiring musical improvisation, the performer often plays from music where only the chord changes and form of the song are written, requiring the performer to have a great understanding of the music's structure, harmony and the styles of a particular genre (e.g., jazz or country 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. Fake books are also used in jazz; they may consist of lead sheets or simply chord charts, which permit rhythm section members to improvise an accompaniment part to jazz songs. 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. Tablature was also used in the Baroque era to notate music for the lute, a stringed, fretted instrument.

Improvisation

 

Improvisation plays a central role in jazz; musicians learn progressions using scale and chord tones (Pictured is Johnny Hodges)

Main article: Musical improvisation

Musical improvisation is the creation of spontaneous music, often within (or based on) a pre-existing harmonic framework or chord progression. Improvisers use the notes of the chord, various scales that are associated with each chord, and chromatic ornaments and passing tones which may be neither chord tones nor from the typical scales associated with a chord. Musical improvisation can be done 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, melody lines, and accompaniment parts.

In the Western art music tradition, improvisation was an important skill during the Baroque era and during the Classical era. In the Baroque era, performers improvised ornaments, and basso continuo keyboard players improvised chord voicings based on figured bass notation. As well, the top soloists were expected to be able to improvise pieces such as preludes. In the Classical era, solo performers and singers improvised virtuoso cadenzas during concerts.

However, in the 20th and early 21st century, as "common practice" Western art music performance became institutionalized in symphony orchestras, opera houses, and ballets, improvisation has played a smaller role, as more and more music was notated in scores and parts for musicians to play. At the same time, some 20th and 21st century art music composers have increasingly included improvisation in their creative work. In Indian classical music, improvisation is a core component and an essential criterion of performances.

Theory

Main article: Music theory

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.[10] People who study these properties are known as music theorists, and they typically work as professors in colleges, universities, and music conservatories. Some have applied acoustics, human physiology, and psychology to the explanation of how and why music is perceived. Music theorists publish their research in music theory journals and university press books.

Elements

Main article: History of music

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Main article: Elements of music

Music has many different fundamentals or elements. Depending on the definition of "element" being used, these can include pitch, beat or pulse, tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, style, allocation of voices, timbre or color, dynamics, expression, articulation, form, and structure. The elements of music feature prominently in the music curriculums of Australia, the UK, and the US. All three curriculums identify pitch, dynamics, timbre, and texture as elements, but the other identified elements of music are far from universally agreed upon. Below is a list of the three official versions of the "elements of music":

Australia: pitch, timbre, texture, dynamics and expression, rhythm, form and structure.[11]

UK: pitch, timbre, texture, dynamics, duration, tempo, structure.[12]

USA: pitch, timbre, texture, dynamics, rhythm, form, harmony, style/articulation.[13]

In relation to the UK curriculum, in 2013 the term: "appropriate musical notations" was added to their list of elements and the title of the list was changed from the "elements of music" to the "inter-related dimensions of music". The inter-related dimensions of music are listed as: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure, and appropriate musical notations.[14]

The phrase "the elements of music" is used in a number of different contexts. The two most common contexts can be differentiated by describing them as the "rudimentary elements of music" and the "perceptual elements of music".

Rudimentary

In the 1800s, the phrases "the elements of music" and "the rudiments of music" were used interchangeably.​[15]​[16] The elements described in these documents refer to aspects of music that are needed in order to become a musician, Recent writers such as Espie Estrella seem to be using the phrase "elements of music" in a similar manner.[17] A definition which most accurately reflects this usage is: "the rudimentary principles of an art, science, etc.: the elements of grammar."[18] The UK's curriculum switch to the "inter-related dimensions of music" seems to be a move back to using the rudimentary elements of music.

Perceptual

Since the emergence of the study of psychoacoustics in the 1930s, most lists of elements of music have related more to how we hear music than how we learn to play it or study it. C.E. Seashore, in his book Psychology of Music,[19] identified four "psychological attributes of sound". These were: "pitch, loudness, time, and timbre" (p. 3). He did not call them the "elements of music" but referred to them as "elemental components" (p. 2). Nonetheless, these elemental components link precisely with four of the most common musical elements: "Pitch" and "timbre" match exactly, "loudness" links with dynamics, and "time" links with the time-based elements of rhythm, duration, and tempo. This usage of the phrase "the elements of music" links more closely with Webster's New 20th Century Dictionary definition of an element as: "a substance which cannot be divided into a simpler form by known methods"[20] and educational institutions' lists of elements generally align with this definition as well.

Although writers of lists of "rudimentary elements of music" can vary their lists depending on their personal (or institutional) priorities, the perceptual elements of music should consist of an established (or proven) list of discrete elements which can be independently manipulated to achieve an intended musical effect. It seems at this stage that there is still research to be done in this area.

A slightly different way of approaching the identification of the elements of music, is to identify the "elements of sound" as: pitch, duration, loudness, timbre, sonic texture and spatial location,[21] and then to define the "elements of music" as: sound, structure, and artistic intent.[21]

Descriptions

Pitch and melody

Pitch is an aspect of a sound that we can hear, reflecting whether one musical sound, note, or tone is "higher" or "lower" than another musical sound, note, or tone. We can talk about the highness or lowness of pitch in the more general sense, such as the way a listener hears a piercingly high piccolo note or whistling tone as higher in pitch than a deep thump of a bass drum. We also talk about pitch in the precise sense associated with musical melodies, basslines and chords. Precise pitch can only be determined in sounds that have a frequency that is clear and stable enough to distinguish from noise. For example, it is much easier for listeners to discern the pitch of a single note played on a piano than to try to discern the pitch of a crash cymbal that is struck.

 

The melody to the traditional song "Pop Goes the Weasel"

A melody (also called a "tune") is a series of pitches (notes) sounding in succession (one after the other), often in a rising and falling pattern. The notes of a melody are typically created using pitch systems such as scales or modes. Melodies also often contain notes from the chords used in the song. The melodies in simple folk songs and traditional songs may use only the notes of a single scale, the scale associated with the tonic note or key of a given song. For example, a folk song in the key of C (also referred to as C major) may have a melody that uses only the notes of the C major scale (the individual notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C; these are the "white notes" on a piano keyboard. On the other hand, Bebop-era jazz from the 1940s and contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries may use melodies with many chromatic notes (i.e., notes in addition to the notes of the major scale; on a piano, a chromatic scale would include all the notes on the keyboard, including the "white notes" and "black notes" and unusual scales, such as the whole tone scale (a whole tone scale in the key of C would contain the notes C, D, E, F♯, G♯ and A♯). A low, deep musical line played by bass instruments such as double bass, electric bass, or tuba is called a bassline.

Harmony and chords

 

When musicians play three or more different notes at the same time, this creates a chord. In Western music, including classical music, pop music, rock music, and many related styles, the most common chords are triads– three notes usually played at the same time. The most commonly used chords are the major chord and the minor chord. An example of a major chord is the three pitches C, E and G. An example of a minor chord is the three pitches A, C, and E. (Pictured is a guitar player performing a chord on a guitar).

Harmony refers to the "vertical" sounds of pitches in music, which means pitches that are played or sung together at the same time to create a chord. Usually, this means the notes are played at the same time, although harmony may also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic structure (i.e., by using melody notes that are played one after the other, outlining the notes of a chord). In music written using the system of major-minor tonality ("keys"), which includes most classical music written from 1600 to 1900 and most Western pop, rock, and traditional music, the key of a piece determines the scale used, which centres around the "home note" or tonic of the key. Simple classical pieces and many pop and traditional music songs are written so that all the music is in a single key. More complex Classical, pop, and traditional music songs and pieces may have two keys (and in some cases three or more keys). Classical music from the Romantic era (written from about 1820–1900) often contains multiple keys, as does jazz, especially Bebop jazz from the 1940s, in which the key or "home note" of a song may change every four bars or even every two bars.

Rhythm

Rhythm is the arrangement of sounds and silences in time. Meter animates time in regular pulse groupings, called measures or bars, which in Western classical, popular, and traditional music often group notes in sets of two (e.g., 2/4 time), three (e.g., 3/4 time, also known as Waltz time, or 3/8 time), or four (e.g., 4/4 time). Meters are made easier to hear because songs and pieces often (but not always) place an emphasis on the first beat of each grouping. Notable exceptions exist, such as the backbeat used in much Western pop and rock, in which a song that uses a measure that consists of four beats (called 4/4 time or common time) will have accents on beats two and four, which are typically performed by the drummer on the snare drum, a loud and distinctive-sounding percussion instrument. In pop and rock, the rhythm parts of a song are played by the rhythm section, which includes chord-playing instruments (e.g., electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, or other keyboard instruments), a bass instrument (typically electric bass or for some styles such as jazz and bluegrass, double bass) and a drum kit player.

Texture

Musical texture is the overall sound of a piece of music or song. The texture of a piece or song is determined by how the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition, thus determining the overall nature of the sound in a piece. Texture is often described in regard to the density, or thickness, and range, or width, between lowest and highest pitches, in relative terms as well as more specifically distinguished according to the number of voices, or parts, and the relationship between these voices (see common types below). For example, a thick texture contains many 'layers' of instruments. One of these layers could be a string section or another brass. The thickness also is affected by the amount and the richness of the instruments. Texture is commonly described according to the number of and relationship between parts or lines of music:

monophony: a single melody (or "tune") with neither instrumental accompaniment nor a harmony part. A mother singing a lullaby to her baby would be an example.

heterophony: two or more instruments or singers playing/singing the same melody, but with each performer slightly varying the rhythm or speed of the melody or adding different ornaments to the melody. Two bluegrassfiddlers playing the same traditional fiddle tune together will typically each vary the melody by some degree and each add different ornaments.

polyphony: multiple independent melody lines that interweave together, which are sung or played at the same time. Choral music written in the Renaissance music era was typically written in this style. A round, which is a song such as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", which different groups of singers all start to sing at a different time, is an example of polyphony.

homophony: a clear melody supported by chordal accompaniment. Most Western popular music songs from the 19th century onward are written in this texture.

Music that contains a large number of independent parts (e.g., a double concerto accompanied by 100 orchestral instruments with many interweaving melodic lines) is generally said to have a "thicker" or "denser" texture than a work with few parts (e.g., a solo flute melody accompanied by a single cello).

Timbre or "tone color"

Timbre, sometimes called "color" or "tone color" is the quality or sound of a voice or instrument.[22] Timbre is what makes a particular musical sound different from another, even when they have the same pitch and loudness. For example, a 440 Hz A note sounds different when it is played on oboe, piano, violin, or electric guitar. Even if different players of the same instrument play the same note, their notes might sound different due to differences in instrumental technique (e.g., different embouchures), different types of accessories (e.g., mouthpieces for brass players, reeds for oboe and bassoon players) or strings made out of different materials for string players (e.g., gut strings versus steel strings). Even two instrumentalists playing the same note on the same instrument (one after the other) may sound different due to different ways of playing the instrument (e.g., two string players might hold the bow differently).

The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include the spectrum, envelope, and overtones of a note or musical sound. For electric instruments developed in the 20th century, such as electric guitar, electric bass and electric piano, the performer can also change the tone by adjusting equalizer controls, tone controls on the instrument, and by using electronic effects units such as distortion pedals. The tone of the electric Hammond organ is controlled by adjusting drawbars.

Expression

 

Singers add expression to the melodies they sing using many methods, including changing the tone of their singing, adding vibrato to certain notes, and emphasizing important words in the lyrics.

Expressive qualities are those elements in music that create change in music without changing the main pitches or substantially changing the rhythms of the melody and its accompaniment. Performers, including singers and instrumentalists, can add musical expression to a song or piece by adding phrasing, by adding effects such as vibrato (with voice and some instruments, such as guitar, violin, brass instruments, and woodwinds), dynamics (the loudness or softness of piece or a section of it), tempo fluctuations (e.g., ritardando or accelerando, which are, respectively slowing down and speeding up the tempo), by adding pauses or fermatas on a cadence, and by changing the articulation of the notes (e.g., making notes more pronounced or accented, by making notes more legato, which means smoothly connected, or by making notes shorter).

Expression is achieved through the manipulation of pitch (such as inflection, vibrato, slides etc.), volume (dynamics, accent, tremolo etc.), duration (tempo fluctuations, rhythmic changes, changing note duration such as with legato and staccato, etc.), timbre (e.g. changing vocal timbre from a light to a resonant voice) and sometimes even texture (e.g. doubling the bass note for a richer effect in a piano piece). Expression therefore can be seen as a manipulation of all elements in order to convey "an indication of mood, spirit, character etc."[23] and as such cannot be included as a unique perceptual element of music,[24] although it can be considered an important rudimentary element of music.

Form

See also: Strophic form, Binary form, Ternary form, Rondo form, Variation (music), and Musical development

 

Sheet music notation for the chorus (refrain) of the Christmas song "Jingle Bells"

In music, form describes the overall structure or plan of a song or piece of music,[25] and it describes the layout of a composition as divided into sections.[26] In the early 20th century, Tin Pan Alley songs and Broadway musical songs were often in AABA 32 bar form, in which the A sections repeated the same eight bar melody (with variation) and the B section provided a contrasting melody or harmony for eight bars. From the 1960s onward, Western pop and rock songs are often in verse-chorus form, which is based around a sequence of verse and chorus ("refrain") sections, with new lyrics for most verses and repeating lyrics for the choruses. Popular music often makes use of strophic form, sometimes in conjunction with the twelve bar blues.[citation needed]

In the tenth edition of The Oxford Companion to Music, Percy Scholes defines musical form as "a series of strategies designed to find a successful mean between the opposite extremes of unrelieved repetition and unrelieved alteration."[27] Examples of common forms of Western music include the fugue, the invention, sonata-allegro, canon, strophic, theme and variations, and rondo.

Scholes states that European classical music had only six stand-alone forms: simple binary, simple ternary, compound binary, rondo, air with variations, and fugue (although musicologist Alfred Mann emphasized that the fugue is primarily a method of composition that has sometimes taken on certain structural conventions.[28])

Where a piece cannot readily be broken down into sectional units (though it might borrow some form from a poem, story or programme), it is said to be through-composed. Such is often the case with a fantasia, prelude, rhapsody, etude (or study), symphonic poem, Bagatelle, impromptu, etc.[citation needed] Professor Charles Keil classified forms and formal detail as "sectional, developmental, or variational."[29]

Analysis of styles

 

Funk places most of its emphasis on rhythm and groove, with entire songs based around a vamp on a single chord. Pictured are the influential funk musicians George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic in 2006.

Some styles of music place an emphasis on certain of these fundamentals, while others place less emphasis on certain elements. To give one example, while Bebop-era jazz makes use of very complex chords, including altered dominants and challenging chord progressions, with chords changing two or more times per bar and keys changing several times in a tune, funk places most of its emphasis on rhythm and groove, with entire songs based around a vamp on a single chord. While Romantic era classical music from the mid- to late-1800s makes great use of dramatic changes of dynamics, from whispering pianissimo sections to thunderous fortissimo sections, some entire Baroque dance suites for harpsichord from the early 1700s may use a single dynamic. To give another example, while some art music pieces, such as symphonies are very long, some pop songs are just a few minutes long.

History

Main article: History of music

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Prehistory

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.[citation needed] The Divje Babe flute, carved from a cave bear femur, is thought to be at least 40,000 years old, though there is considerable debate surrounding whether it is truly a musical instrument or an object formed by animals.[30] Instruments such as the seven-holed flute and various types of stringed instruments, such as the Ravanahatha, have been recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization​archaeological sites.[31] India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world—references to Indian classical music (marga) are found in the Vedas, ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition.[32] The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was found in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BC.[33] The "Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal", found on clay tablets that date back to approximately 1400 BC, is the oldest surviving notated work of music.[34][35]

Ancient Egypt

Main article: Music of Egypt

 

Musicians of Amun, Tomb of Nakht, 18th Dynasty, Western Thebes

The earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments dates to the Predynastic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes and double clarinets were played.[36] Percussion instruments, lyres and lutes were added to orchestras by the Middle Kingdom. Cymbals[37] frequently accompanied music and dance, much as they still do in Egypt today. Egyptian folk music, including the traditional Sufi dhikr rituals, are the closest contemporary music genre to ancient Egyptian music, having preserved many of its features, rhythms and instruments.[38][39]

Asian cultures

 

Indian women dressed in regional attire playing a variety of musical instruments popular in different parts of India

Gangubai Hangal

Durga

Asian music covers a vast swath of music cultures surveyed in the articles on Arabia, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Several have traditions reaching into antiquity.

Indian classical music is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world.[40] The Indus Valley civilization has sculptures that show dance[41] and old musical instruments, like the seven holed flute. Various types of stringed instruments and drums have been recovered from Harappa and Mohenjo Daro by excavations carried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.[42] The Rigveda has elements of present Indian music, with a musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting.[43] Indian classical music (marga) is monophonic, and based on a single melody line or raga rhythmically organized through talas. Silappadhikaram by Ilango Adigal provides information about how new scales can be formed by modal shifting of the tonic from an existing scale.[44] Present day Hindi music was influenced by Persian traditional music and 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 also many songs emphasising love and other social issues.

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.

Ancient Greece

Epitaph of Seikilos (0:50)

 

Melody sung in an approximation of Koine Greek pronunciation and in modern popular vocal style.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Music was an important part of social and cultural life in ancient Greece, in fact it was one of the main subjects teached to children. Musical education was considered to be important for the development of an individual's soul. Musicians and singers played a prominent role in Greek theater[45] and the ones who received a musical education were seen as nobles and in perfect harmony (as we can read in the Republic, Plato) Mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration, and spiritual ceremonies.[46] Holy Ancient Greek music will be considered an example of perfection and purity. Instruments included the double-reed aulos and a plucked string instrument, the lyre, principally the special kind called a kithara. Music was an important part of education, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek musical literacy created a flowering of music development. Greek music theory included the Greek musical modes, that eventually became the basis for Western religious and classical music. Later, influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe, and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music. The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world.[47] The oldest surviving work written on the subject of music theory is Harmonika Stoicheia by Aristoxenus.[48]

Western classical

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Middle Ages

Léonin or Pérotin

Breves dies hominis

 

Musical notation from a Catholic Missal, c. 1310–1320

The medieval era (476 to 1400), which took place during the Middle Ages, started with the introduction of monophonic (single melodic line) chanting into Roman Catholic Church services. Musical notation was used since Ancient times in Greek culture, but in the Middle Ages, notation was first introduced by the Catholic church so that the chant melodies could be written down, to facilitate the use of the same melodies for religious music across the entire Catholic empire. The only European Medieval repertory that has been found in written form from before 800 is the monophonic liturgical plainsong chant 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 (non-religious songs). Examples of composers from this period are Léonin, Pérotin, Guillaume de Machaut, and Walther von der Vogelweide.

Renaissance

T.L. de Victoria

Amicus meus

 

Allegory of Music, by Filippino Lippi

Renaissance music (c. 1400 to 1600) was more focused on secular (non-religious) themes, such as courtly love. Around 1450, the printing press was invented, which made printed sheet music much less expensive and easier to mass-produce (prior to the invention of the printing press, all notated music was hand-copied). The increased availability of sheet music helped to spread musical styles more quickly and across a larger area. Musicians and singers often worked for the church, courts and towns. Church choirs grew in size, and the church remained an important patron of music. By the middle of the 15th century, composers wrote richly polyphonic sacred music, in which different melody lines were interwoven simultaneously. Prominent composers from this era include Guillaume Dufay, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Thomas Morley, and Orlande de Lassus. As musical activity shifted from the church to the aristocratic courts, kings, queens and princes competed for the finest composers. Many leading important composers came from the Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France. They are called the Franco-Flemish composers. They held important positions throughout Europe, especially in Italy. Other countries with vibrant musical activity included Germany, England, and Spain.

Baroque

J.S. Bach

Toccata and Fugue

The Baroque era of music took place from 1600 to 1750, as the Baroque artistic style flourished across Europe; and during this time, music expanded in its range and complexity. Baroque music began when the first operas (dramatic solo vocal music accompanied by orchestra) were written. During the Baroque era, polyphonic​contrapuntal music, in which multiple, simultaneous independent melody lines were used, remained important (counterpoint was important in the vocal music of the Medieval era). German Baroque composers wrote for small ensembles including strings, brass, and woodwinds, as well as for choirs and keyboard instruments such as pipe organ, harpsichord, and clavichord. During this 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.[49] The late Baroque style was polyphonically complex and richly ornamented. Important composers from the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach (Cello suites), George Frideric Handel (Messiah), Georg Philipp Telemann and Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (The Four Seasons).

Classicism

W.A. Mozart

Symphony 40 G minor

 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (seated at the keyboard) was a child prodigy virtuoso performer on the piano and violin. Even before he became a celebrated composer, he was widely known as a gifted performer and improviser.

The music of the Classical period (1730 to 1820) aimed to imitate what were seen as the key elements of the art and philosophy of Ancient Greece and Rome: the ideals of balance, proportion and disciplined expression. (Note: the music from the Classical period should not be confused with Classical music in general, a term which refers to Western art music from the 5th century to the 2000s, which includes the Classical period as one of a number of periods). Music from the Classical period has a lighter, clearer and considerably simpler texture than the Baroque music which preceded it. The main style was homophony,[50] where a prominent melody and a subordinate chordal accompaniment part are clearly distinct. Classical instrumental melodies tended to be almost voicelike and singable. New genres were developed, and the fortepiano, the forerunner to the modern piano, replaced the Baroque era harpsichord and pipe organ as the main keyboard instrument (though pipe organ continued to be used in sacred music, such as Masses).

Importance was given to instrumental music. It was dominated by further development of musical forms initially defined in the Baroque period: the sonata, the concerto, and the symphony. Others main kinds were the trio, string quartet, serenade and divertimento. The sonata was the most important and developed form. Although Baroque composers also wrote sonatas, the Classical style of sonata is completely distinct. All of the main instrumental forms of the Classical era, from string quartets to symphonies and concertos, were based on the structure of the sonata. The instruments used chamber music and orchestra became more standardized. In place of the basso continuo group of the Baroque era, which consisted of harpsichord, organ or lute along with a number of bass instruments selected at the discretion of the group leader (e.g., viol, cello, theorbo, serpent), Classical chamber groups used specified, standardized instruments (e.g., a string quartet would be performed by two violins, a viola and a cello). The Baroque era improvised chord-playing of the continuo keyboardist or lute player was gradually phased out between 1750 and 1800.

One of the most important changes made in the Classical period was the development of public concerts. The aristocracy still played a significant role in the sponsorship of concerts and compositions, but it was now possible for composers to survive without being permanent employees of queens or princes. The increasing popularity of classical music led to a growth in the number and types of orchestras. The expansion of orchestral concerts necessitated the building of large public performance spaces. Symphonic music including symphonies, musical accompaniment to ballet and mixed vocal/instrumental genres such as opera and oratorio became more popular.

The best known composers of Classicism are Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Johann Christian Bach, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. Beethoven and Schubert are also considered to be composers in the later part of the Classical era, as it began to move towards Romanticism.

Romanticism

 

The piano was the centrepiece of social activity for middle-class urbanites in the 19th century (Moritz von Schwind, 1868). The man at the piano is composer Franz Schubert.

R. Wagner

Die Walküre

Romantic music (c. 1810 to 1900) from the 19th century had many elements in common with the Romantic styles in literature and painting of the era. Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature. Romantic music expanded beyond the rigid styles and forms of the Classical era into more passionate, dramatic expressive pieces and songs. Romantic composers such as Wagner and Brahms attempted to increase emotional expression and power in their music to describe deeper truths or human feelings. With symphonic tone poems, composers tried to tell stories and evoke images or landscapes using instrumental music. Some composers promoted nationalistic pride with patriotic orchestral music inspired by folk music. The emotional and expressive qualities of music came to take precedence over tradition.

Romantic composers grew in idiosyncrasy, and went further in the syncretism of exploring different art-forms in a musical context, (such as literature), history (historical figures and legends), or nature itself. Romantic love or longing was a prevalent theme in many works composed during this period. In some cases, the formal structures from the classical period continued to be used (e.g., the sonata form used in string quartets and symphonies), but these forms were expanded and altered. In many cases, new approaches were explored for existing genres, forms, and functions. Also, new forms were created that were deemed better suited to the new subject matter. Composers continued to develop opera and ballet music, exploring new styles and themes.[45]

In the years after 1800, the music developed by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert introduced a more dramatic, expressive style. In Beethoven's case, short motifs, developed organically, came to replace melody as the most significant compositional unit (an example is the distinctive four note figure used in his Fifth Symphony). Later Romantic composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák, and Gustav Mahler used more unusual chords and more dissonance to create dramatic tension. They generated complex and often much longer musical works. During the late Romantic period, composers explored dramatic chromatic alterations of tonality, such as extended chords and altered chords, which created new sound "colours". The late 19th century saw a dramatic expansion in the size of the orchestra, and the industrial revolution helped to create better instruments, creating a more powerful sound. Public concerts became an important part of well-to-do urban society. It also saw a new diversity in theatre music, including operetta, and musical comedy and other forms of musical theatre.[45]

20th and 21st century

Main article: 20th-century music

In the 19th century, one of the key ways that new compositions became known to the public was by the sales of sheet music, which middle class amateur music lovers would perform at home on their piano or other common instruments, such as violin. With 20th-century music, the invention of new electric technologies such as radio broadcasting and the mass market availability of gramophone records meant that sound recordings of songs and pieces heard by listeners (either on the radio or on their record player) became the main way to learn about new songs and pieces. There was a vast increase in music listening as the radio gained popularity and phonographs were used to replay and distribute music, because whereas in the 19th century, the focus on sheet music restricted access to new music to the middle class and upper-class people who could read music and who owned pianos and instruments, in the 20th century, anyone with a radio or record player could hear operas, symphonies and big bands rig


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