Definition of music
Music is sound that has been organized by using rhythm, melody or harmony. If someone bangs saucepans while cooking, it makes noise. If a person bangs saucepans or pots in a rhythmic way, they are making a simple type of music.
There are four things which music has most of the time:
- Music often has pitch. This means high and low notes. Tunes are made of notes that go up or down or stay on the same pitch.
- Music often has rhythm. Rhythm is the way the musical sounds and silences are put together in a sequence. Every tune has a rhythm that can be tapped. Music usually has a regular beat.
- Music often has dynamics. This means whether it is quiet or loud or somewhere in between.
- Music often has timbre. This is a French word (pronounced the French way: "TAM-br"). The "timbre" of a sound is the way that a sound is interesting. The sort of sound might be harsh, gentle, dry, warm, or something else. Timbre is what makes a clarinet sound different from an oboe, and what makes one person's voice sound different from another person.
There is no simple definition of music which covers all cases. It is an art form, and opinions come into play. Music is whatever people think is music. A different approach is to list the qualities music must have, such as, sound which has rhythm, melody, pitch, timbre, etc.
These and other attempts, do not capture all aspects of music, or leave out examples which definitely are music. According to Thomas Clifton, music is "a certain reciprocal relation established between a person, his behavior, and a sounding object".p10 Musical experience and the music, together, are called phenomena, and the activity of describing phenomena is called phenomenology.