What is music?

What is music? We listen to music, create it. It evokes associations with certain moments of our life …

Music is a kind of art in which music is organized in a certain way to create artistic images. The basic elements and expressive means of music – harmony, rhythm, meter, tempo, timbre, melody, harmony, polyphony, instrumentation. By performing means, music is divided into vocal (singing), instrumental and vocal-instrumental. Music is often combined with choreography, theater, cinema. Distinguish music monophonic (monody) and polyphonic (homophony, polyphony). Music is divided into: genera and types – theater (opera, etc.), symphonic, chamber, etc .; on genres – a song, a chorale, a dance, a march, a symphony, a suite, a sonata, etc. Music is recorded in musical notation and is realized in the process of performing musical instruments.

Basic concepts in music

Lad – the most important aesthetic category of music ; system of pitch connections, united by the central sound (accord). It is embodied in a scale (sound system).

Rhythm :

1. alternation of any elements (sound, speech, etc.), occurring with a certain sequence, frequency; speed of flow, fulfillment of something.

2. in music – the temporary organization of musical sounds and their combinations.

Meter – the order of alternation of strong and weak parts, the system of organization rhythm . Meters can be simple (2 or 3-lobed), complex, consisting of several groups of simple (4-, 6-, 9-, 12-lobed), mixed (eg, 5-lobed) and variables. Each group of shares, beginning with a strong (in simple meters) or the strongest (in other meters), forms a measure.

Metronome – a device that measures short intervals (the same meters) blows. It is mainly used by musicians as the exact landmark of the tempo when performing a piece of music at a rehearsal, and also helps to develop a sense of rhythm and dynamics performance.


Melody (from Greek melodia – singing, melody, song) – a single-voiced musical thought, the main element of music. A melody is a series of sounds organized rhythmically and intonationally, forming a certain structure.

Harmony – the expressive means of music, based on the combination of tones in the consonance and the connection of consonance in their consecutive movement. The main type of harmony is a chord. Harmony is built according to certain laws of harmony in polyphonic music of any kind – homophony, polyphony. Elements of harmony – cadence and modulation – the most important factors of musical form. The doctrine of harmony is one of the main sections of the theory of music.

Polyphony (from poly … and Greek phone – sound, voice) – a kind of polyphony, is based on the simultaneous combination of 2 and more independent melodies (as opposed to homophony). Types of polyphony – imitation (see Imitation), contrasting (contrapunmenting different melodies) and sub-voice (the combination of melody and its variants-sub-voices, characteristic of some genres of Russian folk songs).

Instrumentation – the presentation of music in the form of score for the chamber ensemble (duo, trio, quartet, quintet, etc.) or orchestra (symphonic, wind, folk instruments, etc.).

In the historical context, the development of music is inseparable from the active development of man’s sensory abilities – the course of a person’s auditory mastering of musical material in a changing cultural setting is the most fundamental level of the history of music. Already in the framework of primitive syncretic art, which also contained rudiments of dance and poetry, music was deprived of many qualities that became dominant later.

In the early stadia folklore of different nations, musical sound is unstable in height, uninterrupted from speech articulation. Melody is often a combination of glissanding ups and downs (ecmelics), combining contrasting high-altitude zones in a rhythmic order, depending on the rhythm of the verbal text and dance. However, this primary pitch contrast is already endowed with emotional expressiveness due to the initial connection of musical intonation with the psychophysiological states of people, with the word, the plastic movement; thanks to the inclusion of music making in everyday life, in labor processes, in rituals (folk music).

The constancy of these links, which forms the primary musical genres, leads to the stabilization of the heights (and, as a consequence, to their fixation in a certain order). Thus, in the social musical consciousness, the height of sound is separated from the timbre of voice and speech articulation; a category of fret appears. There are scales and melodies based on them. Soundness, recorded in the musical structure, suggests the development of auditory skills (musical ear), special musical memory, which holds the position of sound in the altitude range, relative to other sounds. Finding the exact height, intonation becomes capable of embodying a wider and differentiated figurative meaning. It, on the one hand, appears as a trace of their past meaning, preserved in the intonational formulas, connected with the context of music making, with the primary genre; on the other hand, the process of “taking” meaning into intonation “from the outside”, from the emerging new connections of music and words, playing music and its sociocultural context continues.

In the professional work of mature musical cultures, the intonation of the dance movement, ritual situations, specific actions of other art forms is preserved. At the same time, music in a number of genre directions is gradually freed from direct dependence on the word, everyday or ritual context. The intonational elements and the laws of their organization (harmony, musical form) acquire logical independence and their own historical life, although they nevertheless retain a multi-valued connection with the word and the social context in symbolic-associative form. An autonomous musical language appears capable of expressing both concreteness of experience and generality of thought simultaneously.