Music definition

Posted: October 17th, 2013





Music definition

            Sound is the sensation that is conceived by our ears. Sound is produced where a medium is disturbed leading to the movement and collision of the molecules of that medium (Robertson and Diskin, 2003). Sound occurs when the molecules travel in waveform causing vibrations as the molecules collide. For music to occur there must be production of sound. Humans produce sound in the larynx found in the human throat. This is possible due to the two stretches of tissue across the larynx called the vocal cords. They leave a small opening between them through which air passes through. On speech, larynx muscles tighten hence leading to variations in the pitch of an individual’s voice depending on the tightness of the cords (Robertson and Diskin, 2003).

Sound can also be produced by musical instruments, which can lead to the production of a wide range of sounds. Music instruments can be categorized as percussions, i.e. those that need to be hit in order to produce sound e.g. drums. String instruments are another category that produces sound when they are plucked with the pitch being dependent on the thickness and length of the string examples being violins or guitars. Another category is wind instruments that produce music when the column of air inside the instrument vibrates, for example, in trumpets. Sound may be defined as noise when it is unpleasant or annoying to the listener.

Music is the art of expression of ideas and emotions through the combination of vocal and/or instrumental sounds producing rhythmic and harmonious compositions. Music can be played through music instruments and these are devices made or adapted for the purpose of creation of rhythmic sounds. Music is also known as organized sound. Therefore, music is not a fact rather it is a meaning defined by individuals hence the definition varies from place to place. As stated earlier musical instruments may be percussions, string or wind instruments. An instrument has to serve a musical purpose and perform in production of rhythmic sound for it to qualify as a music instrument (Montagu, 2007).

Music differs from normal sound as it has certain components known as elements. These include the beat and meter where beats are responsible for the rhythmic pattern of music, meter is the final rhythm produced when strong, and weak beats are grouped systematically. The number of beats in the rhythm determines meter where two beats are referred to as duple, three beats are triple and for beats are known as quadruple (FEM, 2009). Another element of music is dynamics that signify the degree of volume with the use of symbols or abbreviations. This ensures that the volume is at bearable and pleasant levels since it indicates when there is a volume change. Harmony is the third element of music that measures the relationship of the various music chords by creation of a kind of musical texture. Yet another significant element of music is the notation that is the symbols used in describing music on paper. The pitch is also an element of music that determines the lowness or highness of music. Pitch is lower where the vibration object is big or the vibration is low and vice versa. Tempo is an element that determines the speed at which music will be played from the beginning throughout. Therefore, the elements of music are what lead to the overall production of good music.


Works cited

Fundamental Elements of Music, SURVEY OF MUSIC. Online, 2009. Retrieved from

Montagu, Jeremy. Origins and Development of Musical Instruments, The Scarecrow Press, 2007. Print.

Robertson, William C., Brian Diskin, SOUND, Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia: NSTA Press, 2003. Print.


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