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Music is a human activity which involves structured, audible sounds and is used for artistic, entertainment or ceremonial purposes. Music is a major part of our environment. Music is often referred to as "The International Language" - a simple thought with vast implications behind it. Even if you cannot speak the language of a foreign country, you can move, dance, and most of all, enjoy the music of that country. While we may not understand the words to a particular song, we do understand the beauty of the music.
The making of music predates man's use of the written word and is deeply tied to the development and uniqueness of various human cultures. Music has influenced human beings since the dawn of civilization. Music is written and performed for a variety of purposes, including human pleasure, religious or ceremonial functions, or as entertainment products for sale in the marketplace.
Music greatly affects our personal moods. Music can calm and revitalize us in a variety of ways. It can elevate our moods above our personal fears and doubts and even reduce stress and pain levels.
Try listening to a classical music score for a sense of power. Soft, soothing music can help you unwind. And listen to medium-fast to fast music for exercising and house cleaning. Putting additional music in your life can be a powerfully enriching tool.
As with everything created by humans, there is an elemental basis for the composition of music. The basic essence of music lies with its harmony, rhythm, melody and dynamics. Harmony is the relation of notes to notes as they are play simultaneously. Rhythm, by the most simple definition, is musical time. Melody is a musical line of single tones or pitches, heard by the listener as a single unity. Dynamics provide the emotion behind the musical thought. Dynamics tell the performer when to play a piece softly or when to play loudly--music ranges from a mere whisper to the fullest of sound.
Just as there are a multitude of definitions for the term "music", likewise there are many divisions and groupings of music, many of which are caught up in the argument over the precise definition of music. Among the larger theme areas are classical music, popular or commercial music (including rock and roll), country music and folk music. Some genres such as bebop-era jazz, rap, punk rock and electronic music are often discounted as "real music" by member music lovers.
As world cultures have grown closer, their particular musical styles and instruments have often merged. For example, U.S.-American bluegrass music contains elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish, German and some African-American instrumental and vocal traditions. American music is truly product of the multi-ethnic "melting pot" society.
Whatever style of music you prefer, take the time regularly to enjoy your special musical composition. Music is good for your soul!
Article written by Larry Denton
Published: 7 January 2005