Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace.
Amateur musicians compose and perform music for their own pleasure, and they do not attempt to derive their income from music.
Professional musicians are employed by a range of institutions and organizations, including churches and synagogues, symphony orchestras, broadcasting or film production companies, and music schools. Professional musicians work as freelancers, seeking contracts and engagements in a variety of settings.
Although amateur musicians differ from professional musicians in that amateur musicians have a non-musical source of income, there are often many links between amateur musicians and professional musicians. Beginning amateur musicians take lessons with professional musicians. In community setting, advanced amateur musicians perform with professional musicians in a variety of ensembles and orchestras. In some rare cases, amateur musicians attain a professional level of competence, and they are able to perform in professional performance settings.
A distinction is often made between music performed for the benefit of a live audience and music that is performed for the purpose of being recorded and distributed through the music retail system or the broadcasting system. However, there are also many cases where a live performance in front of an audience is recorded and distributed (or broadcast).
Performance is the execution of music. While music cannot technically exist without performance, we generally think of performance as being the exhibition of a musical work before an audience. A musical work is performed once its structure and instrumentation are satisfactory to its creators; however, as it gets performed more and more over time, it can evolve and change in any number of ways.
A performance can either be rehearsed or improvised. Improvisation is a musical idea created on the sport, with no prior premeditation or an idea until it has achieved cohesion. Musicians will generally add improvisation to a well- rehearsed idea to create a unique performance.
Solo and ensemble performances
Many cultures include strong traditions of solo and performance, such as in Indian classical music, and in the Western Art music tradition. Other cultures, such as in Bali, include strong traditions of group performance. All cultures include a mixture of both, and performance may range from improvised solo playing for one’s enjoyment to highly planned and organized performance rituals such as the modern classical concert, religious processions, music festival or music competitions.
Chamber music, which is music for a small ensemble with only a few of each type of instrument, is often seen as more intimate than symphonic works. A performer may be referred to as a musician.
When music is written down, the pitches and rhythm of the music is notated, along with instructions on how to perform the music. This is referred to as music notation, and the study of how to read notation involves music theory, harmony, the study of performance practice, and in some cases an understanding of historical performance methods.
Written notation varies with style and period of music. In Western Art music, the most common type of written notation are scores, which include all the music parts of an ensemble peace, and parts, which are the music notation for the individual performers or singers. In popular music, jazz, and blues, the standard musical notation is the lead sheet, which notates the melody, chords, lyrics (if it is a vocal piece), and structure of the music. Nonetheless, scores and parts are also used in popular music and jazz, particularly in large ensembles such as jazz “big bands”.
In popular music, guitarist and electric bass players often read music notated in tablature, which indicates the location of the notes to be played on the instrument using a diagram of the guitar or bass fingerboard. Tabulature was also used in the Baroque era to notate music for the lute, a stringed, fretted instrument.
Notated music is produced as sheet music for the performers to read from. To perform music from notation requires an understanding of both the musical style and the performance practice that is associated with a piece of music or genre.
Musical composition is a term that describes the composition of a piece of music. Methods of composition vary widely from one composer to another, however in analyzing music all forms spontaneous, trained, or untrained are built from elements comprising a musical piece. Music can be composed for repeated performance or it can be improvised; composed on the spot. The music can be performed entirely from memory, from a written system of musical notation, or some combination of both. Study of composition has traditionally been dominated by examination of methods and practice of Western classical music, but the definition of composition is broad enough to include spontaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African drummers.
What is important in understanding the composition of a piece is singling out its elements. An understanding of music’s formal elements can be helpful in deciphering exactly how a piece is constructed. A universal element of music is how sounds occur in time, which is referred to as the rhythm of a piece of music.
When a piece appears to have a changing time-feel, it is considered to be in rubato time, an Italian expression that indicates that the tempo of the piece changes to suit the expressive intent of the performer. Even random placement of random sounds, which occurs in musical montage, occurs within some kind of time, and thus employs time as a musical element.
Media and technology
The music that composers make can be heard through several media, the most traditional way is to hear it live, in the presence, or as one of the musicians. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio, television or the internet. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a performance, while others focus on producing a recording which mixes together sounds which were never played “live”. Recording, even of styles which are essentially live, often uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings which are considered better than the actual performance.
Since legislation introduced to help protect performers, composers, publishers and producers, including the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 in United States, and the 1979 revised Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Work in the United Kingdom, recordings and live performances have also become more accessible through computers, devices and internet in a form that is commonly known as music-on-demand.
Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds. Eg a DJ uses disk records for scratching, and some 20th century works have a solo for an instrument or voice that is performed along with music that is prerecorded onto a tape. Computers and many keyboards can be programmed to produce and play MIDI music. Audiences can also become performers by participating in Karaoke, an activity of Japanese origin which centres around a device that plays voice-eliminated versions of well-known songs. Most Karaoke machines also have video screens that show lyrics to songs being performed; performers can follow the lyrics as they sing over the instrumental tracks.
Music as part of general education
The incorporation of music training from preschool to postsecondary education is common in North America and Europe, because involvement in music is thought to teach basic skills such as concentration, counting, listening, and cooperation while also promoting understanding of language, and creating an environment more conducive to learning in other areas. In elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as the recorder, sing in small choirs, and learn about the history of Western art music. In secondary schools students may have the opportunity to perform some type of musical ensembles, such as choirs, marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, or orchestras, and in some schools systems, music classes may be available. Some students also take private music lessons with a teacher. Amateur musicians typically take lessons to learn musical rudiments and biginner to intermediate- level musical techniques.
At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs can credit for taking music course, which typically take the form of an overview course on the history of music, or a music appreciation course that focuses on listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In addition, most North American and European universities have some type of musical ensembles that non-music students are able to participate in, such as choirs, marching bands, or orchestras. The study of Western art music is increasingly common outside of North America and Europe, such as STSI in Bali, or the classical music programs that are available in Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time, Western university and colleges are widening their curriculum to include music on non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali (eg Gamelan music).
Use in therapy
Music is sometimes used in treating mental illness.
- Facilitates social change
- Can improve performance
- Help us to remember
- Play an important role in human development
- Helps in healing
- Music is powerful at the level of the social group because it facilitates communication which goes beyond words, induces shared emotional reactions and supports the development of group identity
- Music has powerful therapeutic effects which can be achieved through listening or active music making.
- Music can promote relaxation, alleviate anxiety and pain, promote appropriate behavior in vulnerable groups and enhance the quality of life of those who are beyond medical help
- Music can play an important part in enhancing human development in the early years.
People can use music in their lives to manipulate their moods, alleviate the boredom of tedious tasks, and create environments appropriate for particular social events.
- Music can influence our behavior in ways which are beyond our conscious awareness. Knowledge of these effects can be used to manipulate our work and purchasing behavior.