What Is Music?

Music can be easily defined as an organized event of sound, by using rhythm, melody, and harmony. But how does this explain the philosophy of what music is and how it pertains to our human experiences? When did music become part of our many cultures? What is the cause of our emotional connection with music? Given the global scope of what is considered music, these are not easily answered questions.

Researchers believe music was used as a form of early communication. Possibly even pre-dating the invention of language, in order to establish social norms. The first crooners may not have been Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, but rather some prehistoric man. This could explain why music is so ingrained into our societal construct. We may not have been able to successfully create families and tribes without it.

Emotions in music can be expressed and perceived. Both are achieved because of a person’s past experiences. A person playing or composing songs is relaying a moment in time in relation to an event that impacted that person. It isn’t always fluid or precise because our memories are never perfect. Also, the listener may interpret a piece differently because of their own experiences. The emotions invoked by music is a form of communication. Sometimes the message is lost, and sometimes it isn’t. Maybe this is why music is considered an art form?

Studying and understanding music is the first step to answering these questions. The aesthetics and artistic value of music will always be debated. But the fact that these debates happen is evidence that passion is an important element of music. It connects us in ways we don’t truly understand. Discovery comes with repetitive probes into the philosophy and construct of how music functions and affects us.