Music is generally defined as the art of arranging sounds to create some combination of form, tone, melody, rhythm, or otherwise expressive content. The exact definition of music varies considerably around the world, although it is an aspect of all human societies, a cultural universal. Although scholars agree that music is defined by a few specific elements, there is no consensus on their precise definition. Music creation is generally divided into musical composition, musical improvisation and musical performance.
The relationships and divisions between musical genres, like taxonomy, are loose and sometimes hotly contested. The mere existence or validity of a clause may be subject to debate. It is sometimes more valuable to categorize music by era, scene, intent, or artistic inspiration. Individual periods of music are divided into pieces, which can be classified into numerous traditions, such as songs, tracks, symphonies, etc. Pieces can be composed and performed using a wide range of instruments, including the human voice. Instrumental-only pieces, vocal-only pieces, pieces that combine song and instrument, no-sound pieces, randomly generated pieces, and even pieces that simply specify an environment with no further sonic organization.
In some musical contexts, a performance or composition may be somewhat improvised. For example, in Hindustani classical music, the performer plays spontaneously while following a partially defined structure and using characteristic motifs. In modal jazz performers can lead and respond while sharing a changing set of notes. In a free jazz context, there may be no structure, with each performer performing at their discretion. The music may be intentionally non-percussive, or may be added electronically from many performances. Music is played in public and private spaces, highlighted at events such as festivals, rock concerts, and orchestral performances, and occasionally heard as part of the score or soundtrack of a film, TV show, opera, or video game. Musical playback is the primary function of an MP3 player or CD player and a universal feature of radios and smartphones.
Music often plays a central role in social activities, religious rituals, rites of passage, celebrations and cultural activities. The music industry includes songwriters, performers, sound engineers, producers, tour organizers, distributors of instruments, accessories and sheet music. Compositions, performances and recordings are evaluated and evaluated by music critics, music journalists and music scholars as well as amateurs. Like visual art and literature, music is widely produced, admired, academically studied and criticized, and has been for thousands of years.
The modern English word ‘music’ was used in the 1630s. It derives from a long line of successive predecessors: the Old English ‘music’ of the mid-13th century; Old French music of the 12th century; and Latin music. The Latin word itself comes from the Ancient Greek mousiké (technē)-μουσική (τέχνη) literally meaning “(craft)”. In ancient Greek mythology, the Muses were nine deities who presided over the arts and sciences. They were included in the stories of the early Western writers Homer and Hesiod, and were eventually associated specifically with music. Over time, polyhymnia would dominate music more clearly than other musics. The Latin word musica was also the originator of both Spanish musica and French musica through spelling and linguistic adjustments, although other European words were probably loanwords, including Italian musica, German musica, Dutch musica, Norwegian musica, Polish musica, and Russian musica.
The modern Western world generally defines music as an all-encompassing term, equally used to describe various genres, styles and traditions. This is not universal, and languages such as modern Indonesian (music) and Shona (musakajo) have only recently adopted words to reflect this universal concept, as they did not have words that fit the Western scope exactly. In East Asia, neither Japan nor China have a term that encompasses music in a broad sense, but culturally often consider music in such a fashion. The closest word to music in Chinese, yu, shares a character with le, meaning joy, and originally referred to all art before its meaning was narrowed. Africa is too diverse to make firm generalizations, but musicologist Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia emphasizes the inextricable connection of African music to dance and speech. Some African cultures, such as the Songe people of the DRC and the Tiv people of Nigeria, have a strong and broad concept of ‘music’ but no corresponding word in their native languages. Other words usually translated as ‘music’ often have more specific meanings in their respective cultures: the Hindi word for music, sangeet, properly refers to art music, while many indigenous American languages have words for music that specifically refer to music, but also describe instrumental music. . Although Arabic music can refer to all music, it is usually used for instrumental and metrical music, while Khandan denotes vocal and improvisational music.