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The beginnings of ethnomusicology are usually traced back to the 1880s and 1890s, when studies were initiated primarily in Germany and in the United States. Early in this development there appeared a dual division of emphasis that has remained throughout the history of the field.


Two polar positions on a definition of “ethnomusicology” are most frequently enunciated: the first is embodied in such statements as “ethnomusicology is the total study of non-Western music,” and the second in “ethnomusicology is the study of music in culture.” The first derives from a supposition that ethnomusicology should concern itself with certain geographical areas of the world; those who hold this point of view tend to treat the music structurally. The second stresses music in its cultural context, no matter in what geographical area of the world and is concerned with music as human behavior and the functions of music in human society and culture. Consequently, its emphasis on musical structure is not as great, although it does use objective techniques of detailing a musical style to effectuate comparison between song bodies and to attack problems of diffusion, acculturation, and culture history.

Thus one emphasis in ethnomusicology concerns the description and analysis of technical aspects of musical structure. In early writings this aim tended to be coupled with attempts to use the concept of social evolution to establish basic laws of the development of music structure through time. Particular attention was also directed toward the problem of the ultimate origin of music; and later, with the rise of Kulturkreis theories and particularly in connection with the study of musical instruments, detailed reconstructions of music diffusion from supposed basic geographical centers were attempted.

The second emphasis in ethnomusicology was directed toward the study of music in its ethnologic context, and research in this area was influenced by American anthropology. As a result, extreme theories of evolution and diffusion were strongly discounted.

Ethnomusicology has thus developed in two directions. On the one hand, music is treated as a structure that operates, it is presumed, according to certain principles inherent in its own construction. On the other hand, since music is produced by and for people, it must also be regarded as a product of human behavior operating within a cultural context and in conjunction with all the other facets of human behavior. The duality of music as a human phenomenon is thus emphasized in ethnomusicological studies; while musical sound has structure, that structure is produced by human behavior and operates in a total cultural context.

Ethnomusicology has also been shaped by various historical processes. Arising at a time when virtually nothing was known outside Western and, to a certain extent, Oriental cultures, ethnomusicology placed heavy emphasis on the unknown areas of the world—Africa, aboriginal North and South America, Oceania, inner Asia, Indonesia. Thus the development of ethnomusicology to a considerable extent paralleled that of anthropology: both disciplines were forced to deal with all these areas at once—the anthropologist with the total cultures of the so-called “primitive” peoples and the ethnomusicologist with the total study of their music. Thus there arose in ethnomusicology a body of techniques and a system of analysis, which, while drawing upon studies of Western music, have taken some unique turns.

Music structure

Ethnomusicologists are engaged in a search for the proper balance between the basic parts of their discipline, and this search tends to be made within the framework of three major responsibilities felt by scholars in the field.

The first of these areas is the technical study of music structure itself and of how it can best be learned, described, generalized, and compared in specific instances. Even here there is divergence of opinion, as one group of ethnomusicologists argues that the best way to learn a music system is by learning to perform in its style. Performance, most notably in Indonesian and Far Eastern orchestras and styles, is stressed by some scholars, and in many cases with notable results. On the other hand, this approach is criticized by those who hold that performance cannot be the ultimate goal of ethnomusicology and that the value of performance tends to be overstressed.

Ethnomusicologists are agreed, however, that musical sound must ultimately be reduced to notation. Notation by ear in the field is considered unreliable because of the many nuances that are lost, and the usual procedure is to work by ear from tape or disc recordings. In recent years the possibilities of constructing electronic equipment that will give a far more accurately detailed transcription have been explored, and preliminary results indicate that such equipment may, indeed, be both feasible and useful.

The precise transcription of scale systems tuned in intervals different from the Western scale remains somewhat difficult, although such measuring devices as the monochord, electronic equipment, and the cents system can, and do, bring a high degree of precision. Most ethnomusicologists, however, use the Western staff system for notation, employing various special signs to indicate pitch differences and discussing the precise tunings in the body of their report. Analysis is almost always couched in objective, arithmetical, and sometimes statistical terms, with frequencies of appearance of specific characteristics related to the total possibility of the sample. Those characteristics of the music usually considered include melodic range, level, direction, and contour; melodic intervals and interval patterns; ornamentation and melodic de-vices; melodic meter and rhythm; durational values; formal structure; scale, mode, duration tone, and (subjective) tonic; meter and rhythm; tempo; and vocal style. Other characteristics may be added by the individual student, and almost every body of song demands unique attention in some respects.

There remain, however, a number of difficulties in the technical analysis of music. The first of these concerns transcription itself and the accuracy that can be achieved through the use of the human ear. Closely connected with this is the unresolved question of how accurate a transcription must be; that is, can one generalize, or must the accuracy be as high as that presaged by the advent of electronic equipment? A third problem concerns sampling. Theoretically, at least, the musical universe of any given people is infinite, and the questions are thus how large a sample yields reliable results and whether a larger sample will yield significantly different results from a smaller one. It must also be decided whether one type of song in a given culture is significantly different from another and, if so, whether these types must be treated separately or lumped together into a general set of results for the entire body of music. Finally, there is the major problem of which elements of a musical style are significant, and whether those that are significant are also characteristic. Despite these questions, the technical analysis of musical style has reached a point at which a high degree of precision is possible, and the directions in which analysis has thus far moved seem clearly to be those that will be refined and more fully exploited in the future.

Musical instruments. Associated with the study of musical structure is the study of musical instruments, taken from both the technical and the distributional points of view. Ethnomusicology has supplied detailed studies of the construction and tuning of instruments, as well as a precise classification of instruments according to the mechanism of sound production (aerophones, chordophones, idiophones, and membranophones). Distributional and diffusion studies of instruments are found for many parts of the world.

Music as human behavior

Musical sound does not and cannot constitute a system that operates outside the control of human beings. It is thus a product of the behavior that produces it. Behavior includes a wide variety of phenomena, but within the rubric four particularly important facets can be segregated. The first of these refers to the physical behavior of the musician and his audience. In order to produce vocal sounds, the musician must control the vocal organs and the muscles of throat and diaphragm in certain ways; likewise, in producing instrumental music his breath control and manipulation of fingers or lips upon the instrument can only be achieved through training, whether the musician trains himself or is trained by others. It has further been noted that in performing, musicians take on characteristic bodily postures, tensions, and attitudes, and attempts are being made to correlate these with types of music styles. Similarly, the audience responds to music in physical and physiological ways, but little is known of this phenomenon cross-culturally.

A second form of behavior in this context is the social behavior that accompanies music. In response to his social role, the individual musician behaves in specific ways according to his own concept of what that role entails, as well as in response to the pressures placed upon him by society at large. Being a musician means behaving according to culturally defined values; for him, the attitudes and expectations of society, as well as his own attitudes toward himself, define what is considered to be “musicianly.” But society is shaped also by the musician and his music, for it is often the latter that gives the cues for proper behavior in a given social situation.

The third important aspect of music behavior concerns learning both on the part of the specialist and the layman. The musician needs training, whether it is achieved through imitation, apprenticeship, formal schooling, or some other device. Similarly, the nonspecialist learns his music system sufficiently to participate to some extent and certainly well enough to differentiate it from other systems.

Finally, verbal behavior is involved in music to the extent to which analytic comment is made by members of a culture on their music system.

Theory of music. Beneath the level of behavior as such, however, lies a deeper level, that of the conceptualization of music. The ethnomusicologist deals with why music sounds the way it does, as well as with the “musts” and “shoulds” of music. Although little material of this kind is available as yet, the problems lie in the nature of the distinctions made between music and nonmusic, the sources from which music is drawn, techniques of composition, the inheritance of musical ability, and other questions of a similar nature. In other words, before music behavior can be acted out, there must be underlying concepts in terms of which the behavior is shaped.

There exists, then, a continuum of levels of analysis in the study of musical behavior: music must begin with basic concepts and values, which in turn are translated into actual behavior; this in turn is directed toward the achievement of a specific musical product, or structural sound.

There remains one further aspect of the continuum, however, and this appears in the acceptance or rejection of the final product both by the musician and by the members of the society at large. If the product is acceptable to both, then the concepts out of which it has arisen are reinforced and the behavior perfected insofar as possible; if, on the other hand, the product is not adjudged acceptable, then concepts must be changed and translated into different behavior in order to adjust the structured sound to what is considered proper. The product thus inevitably feeds back upon the concept, which in turn shapes behavior so that the product, again, will be successful. Both here and on the behavioral level, ideas and techniques of musical training are of the utmost importance.

Under the stimulation of anthropological problems, methods, and theory, the behavioral aspects of ethnomusicology have begun to take on added interest; and by 1950 “ethnomusicology” was replacing the older term “comparative musicology” (vergleichende Musikwissenschaft ).

Ethnomusicology and related fields

Growing out of the studies of those interested primarily in music as human behavior has been a third area of responsibility for ethnomusicologists, and this concerns the relationship of the field to other kinds of studies. Two major avenues of research have opened here, the first in the relationship of ethnomusicology to the study of the other arts, and the second in its relationship to the social sciences.

Relations with the arts. In respect to the arts as a whole, ethnomusicologists have begun to turn to problems of general aesthetics as these are illuminated by the cross-cultural perspective of comparative music studies. One such problem is the nature of what is called the aesthetic in Western culture, for those few ethnomusicologists who have considered the subject have in general agreed that the term does not translate well to other cultures, particularly those of nonliterate peoples where the underlying assumptions about music tend to run along different lines. There is a strong suggestion that for most peoples outside Western and Eastern civilization music may be a functional rather than an aesthetic complex in which major emphasis is placed upon what music does rather than philosophic speculation on what it is. This in turn has considerable bearing upon the Western assumption of the interrelatedness of the various arts. What empirical evidence is available seems to indicate that most other peoples do not conceive ideationally of the arts as structurally interrelated, and therefore this concept may well be applicable in the Western context alone. Similar problems that tend to bring evidence to these two major questions include synesthesia, intersense modalities, and so forth. The cross-cultural contribution of ethno-musicology in such problems is potentially considerable, and questions of this nature are being more and more widely considered.

Relations with the social sciences. The relationship of ethnomusicology to the social sciences has already been indicated in that an ethnologic component is inherent in the basic organization of the field. As ethnomusicology continues to expand its orientation, it becomes more and more apparent that both ethnomusicologists and social scientists have overlooked a number of possibilities for fruitful cooperation between the two broad areas. The entire study of music as human behavior, of course, lies well within the sphere of social science, as does the application even of technical music analysis to problems such as acculturation, but there are other applications as well.

Among these is the study of music as symbolic behavior, both in itself and as it relates to broader areas of the culture under study. Political, social, legal, economic, and religious concepts can all be symbolized in musical sound and behavior, and it is frequently to be noted that in the arts in general, among them music, symbolic expression tends to cut to the deepest levels of value and belief. The functions of music in any given culture tell much of the organization and processes of the culture at large, and reference is made here not only to “use” but to integrative function as well. Music operates for specific purposes in all cultures, and analysis of these processes reveals much about both specific and general behavior. Song texts are a badly neglected area of study, both in connection with music itself and with the wider culture. Studies have shown that language behavior in song may differ sharply from that in everyday discourse, with the stress in song often being placed upon the expression of otherwise unutterable feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and ideas; texts are thus very often an extremely important index to basic values. Texts, too, reveal psychological processes in the life of any given culture, such as when they indicate mechanisms of repression or compensation. It is well known that songs can serve functions of social control, as well as educational and historiographical functions. The relevance of music studies to social science is indeed great, and both disciplines might derive considerable benefit from recognizing this fact.

Ethnomusicology, then, is currently in a phase of expansion and development wherein it is engaged in sorting out the kinds of studies of greatest importance to its development. By its very nature it is interdisciplinary, using the techniques, methods, and theories of both musicology and ethnology; from the fusion of the two it gains new and unique strengths.

Alan P. Merriam

[Directly related are the entriesCrafts; Folklore; Primitive art.]


The works cited below have been chosen to give a broad rather than a selective coverage of widely divergent points of view and methods of approach.

Ellis, Alexander J. 1885 On the Musical Scales of Various Nations. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 33:485–527.

Herzog, George 1936 A Comparison of Pueblo and Pima Musical Styles. Journal of American Folklore 49:283–417.

Hood, Mantle 1963 Music, the Unknown. Pages 215–326 in Frank L. Harrison, Mantle Hood, and Claude V. Palisca, Musicology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Hornbostel, Erich M. VON 1905 Die Probleme der vergleichenden Musikwissenschaft.Zeitschrift der Internationalen Musikgesellschaft 7:85–97.

Kunst, Jaap (1950) 1959 Ethnomusicology. 3d enl. ed. The Hague: Nijhoff. → First published under the title Musicologica. A supplement was published in 1960.

Lomax,, Alan 1962 Song Structure and Social Structure. Ethnology 1:425–451.

McAllester, David P. 1955 Enemy Way Music: A Study of Social and Esthetic Values as Seen in Navaho Music. Harvard University, Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Papers, Vol. 41, No. 3. Cambridge, Mass.: The Museum.

Malm, William P. 1959 Japanese Music and Musical Instruments. Rutland, Vt: Tuttle.

Merriam, Alan P. 1964 The Anthropology of Music. Evanston, 111.: Northwestern Univ. Press.

Nettl, Bruno 1964 Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology. New York: Free Press.

Nketia, J. H. Kwabena (1963) 1965 Drumming in Akan Communities of Ghana. New York: Humanities Press.

Sachs, Curt 1940 The History of Musical Instruments. New York: Norton.

Schaeffner, AndrÉ 1936 Origine des instruments de musique: Introduction ethnologique a I'histoire de la musique instrumental. Paris: Payot.

Seeger, Charles 1953 Preface to the Description of a Music. Pages 360-370 in International Society for Musical Research, Fifth Congress, Utrecht, 1952, Report. Amsterdam: Alsbach.

Wallaschek, Richard 1893 Primitive Music: An Inquiry Into the Origin and Development of Music, Songs, Instruments, Dances, and Pantomimes of Savage Races. London: Longmans.


Music is an expression of inner life, an expression of feelings through the technique of composition, according to the rules of a certain musical style. As expression, music affects the listener as well as the player. It liberates feelings, but it also demands, on the part of the listener, receptiveness and an acquaintance with the style in question.

Music as communication

That music has affectual aspects was stressed in antiquity (in the Greek doctrine of the ethos), in the Middle Ages (musica movet affectum), and in the Baroque era (in the theory of emotions). Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach stated in 1753 that since a musician cannot move unless he himself is moved, he must be able to experience all the emotions that he wishes to awaken in his audience. He lets them know his feelings and, thus, arouses them to sympathy. This expressive character has been disputed by H. G. Nageli (1826), who spoke of “arabesques,” or an interplay of lines, in music, and by E. Hanslick (1854), who wrote that forms that are “moved tones” are the content of music and that the beautiful generates no emotions. This formal aesthetic is in contrast to the expressive aesthetic (Hausegger 1885). But, it seems that forms that are merely moved tones, such as arabesques, possess an expressive character, as do all forms (Wellek 1963). All music, even “empty [not aiming at expression] play music,” such as Oriental music, is movement and, as such, the expression of demonstrable, nervous, physical sensations. The rhythm of this movement stimulates the listener elementally, causing him to move with it. This is especially evident in dancing. Groups or masses of people can be brought to uniform movement, extending to ecstasy, by endlessly repeated rhythms. A child spontaneously follows a musical movement he hears by making expressive motions, like those cultivated in the modern expressive dance. The educated concertgoer, to be sure, is trained from an early age to suppress these spontaneous sympathetic movements.

It follows, therefore, that music has the character of communication. Sound spontaneously uttered by an individual serves as a contact sound, as a first step toward a call or a shout, or as a decoy, wooing, or warning call. Both speech and music develop symbols. Speech evolves ideas, which lead to thinking and logic. Music begins with emotional sounds, which are followed by signals and calls that serve different social purposes. Yet, even in the animal world we find a play of sounds that is unrelated to social purpose, as in the songbirds. Here we have an instinctual root of purposeless, aesthetic enjoyment. But, much music is quite purposeful, integrated into a superordinate social process; it is so-called Gebrauchsmusik. March music enables a group to keep in step and in proper order (and also promotes turgor vitalis), as does dance music. The folk song even today reveals its social purposes in multifarious variety: cradle songs, war songs, courtship and love songs, serenades, religious songs, incantation and curing songs, and work songs. The last type has almost disappeared in our industrialized countries. Nor is it the oldest type of song, as K. Biicher believed (1896), for it presupposes the existence of rhythmic cooperative work. In present-day industry, music is employed as background music, not to speed up the working rhythm but to stimulate the autonomic nervous system and willingness to work. Schoolchildren doing their homework, and even scientists, employ allegedly soft background music, below the threshold of consciousness or aesthetic effect, as a stimulus to do their work.

Musical texts

In every musical performance the composer, the players, the singers, and the listeners interact with one another, often as semiparticipants in popular and exotic music, as in rhythmic clapping. Even when the performer him-self does not invent, or improvise (as was the case in the past and in most present-day performances of music by preliterate peoples), but more or less freely reproduces the music invented by others (learned by ear in folk music and in Oriental music), or accurately performs music written by others (res facia, in the Middle Ages), an inter-personal process takes place. The folk song is in-vented by an individual, but it is much modified (“taken apart”) by the singer. The motets of the fourteenth century were also modified by the singers. A composition was not regarded as the individual property of a single composer. Everyone changed it ad lib, adding new voices with new texts, etc. Thus, the musical composition was regarded as common property, a notion that persisted into the seventeenth century and even the eighteenth, when George Frederick Handel took over the compositions of others. The concept of “plagiarism,” applied to parts of a work as well as the whole work, is a modern concept.

The contemporary practice of copyright is the end product of a long development. To be sure, there were privileges of printing granted by a sovereign, but they were respected only in part. Today even a motif is protected by copyright, although protection is limited to a term of 50 years. Even primitive peoples have a law of musical property. Among the Andaman Islanders an invented song remains the intellectual property of the inventor, for which he is recompensed during festivals, and no one is permitted to sing the song after his death. The same was true among the Iroquois. The present-day law of property covers not only the right to reprint but also the right of performance and, in particular, mechanical reproduction.

The musical professions

Today the musical professions are highly specialized. The primeval musician was creator, singer, and performer in one, as shown in such mythological figures as Jubal and Orpheus. Composers were always performing musicians as well: singers (Josquin) in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; singers and conductors (Monteverdi) in the seventeenth century; and pianists (Mozart, Beethoven) and other instrumentalists (Viotti, Spohr) or professional conductors (Wagner, Mahler, Richard Strauss) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and down into the twentieth century. Today, however, specialization characterizes the musical professions, even within a single profession, dividing them into entire categories, such as “serious” and “entertainment” music. There is a great diversity of musical roles, running from the highly paid star conductor down to the street musician and the beggar playing music, e.g., with a barrel organ. Moreover, each musical profession has a social scale of its own. The status of a musician is based upon one of two factors: (1) the professional role, which in turn derives from education, cultural level, and the prestige of his audience, and (2) income. There is no correlation between these two factors.

In addition to talent and endowment, career and success depend upon circumstances, which are often fortuitous, as well as upon reviews in the press. The occupational category of conductor covers all degrees of education, depending upon the kind of music; there are conductors of opera, church, military, jazz, and entertainment orchestras, each group being subdivided along an artistic scale. As the status of the church musician diminished during the nineteenth century, that of the conductor rose extraordinarily. In Verdi’s time the conductor was unnamed, ranking behind the singers of the opera. After World War i his name might be printed on posters in conspicuous letters, above that of the composer. Singers, too, are categorized: opera singers, concert singers, jazz singers, and singers of popular tunes. Outstanding singers have always enjoyed substantial popularity and financial success. This was true in classical antiquity but has especially been the case since the eighteenth century, when prima donnas and castrati dominated the musical scene. The earnings of Caruso (who died in 1921), which were regarded as enormous in his day, have been overshadowed by the sensational success of more recent hit-tune singers who become millionaires overnight. This is due to mass responsiveness and particularly to the mechanical reproduction and distribution of hit tunes. Artistic reputation and prestige are greatly differentiated, for example, in the profession of the female singer. Female musicians and singers of the lower categories often led dubious lives, sometimes becoming prostitutes (the Syrian ambubaiae in Rome, the mistresses of princes during the Baroque, chansonnieres). Instrumentalists also occupy many different positions on the social scale, ranging from the violinist in the orchestra, who is further differentiated according to his position in the orchestra and the quality of the orchestra, up to the eminent soloist, who can count on income from concerts of his own. The same holds true for pianists and other instrumentalists. The independent instrumentalist is often a teacher of his instrument—either privately or in schools, conservatories, etc.—thus, improving his financial status and his prestige (gaining the title of “professor”). It was common practice for masters of the past (Handel, Mozart, Beethoven) to make a living at times by giving lessons.

A musician’s prestige, apart from the special prestige of his profession, has varied through the centuries and even today differs according to country and people. We know of whole hierarchies of musician castes in antiquity: in Babylon, in Egypt, in Judea. Music was often performed by slaves. What is strange is the frequently severe restrictions placed on the civic dignity of a musician in many countries and times, such as ancient Rome, in contrast with the high esteem in which musicians were held among the Germanic peoples. The skald of the Nordic peoples and the shop of the western Germans were the close confidants of princes. As the Nordic tribes became Westernized, the musician inherited the low status of the Roman mimus, becoming a vagrant minstrel, a tramp, or a street singer. In all of these cases, the individual musician was often able to secure high esteem, wealth, and status at the courts of secular and even ecclesiastical princes. Only with the establishment of cities did the domiciled musician obtain a civil occupation. Celebrated musicians gained high honors. Some of them were raised to the ranks of the nobility (Hofhaimer, Hassler); others were awarded papal decorations (Lasso and Mozart becoming knights; Dittersdorf, Gluck, and Spontini becoming equites aurati). The fact that universities awarded honorary doctorates to celebrated composers contributed to increasing the prestige of musicians. The title of professor gave the top level of musicians the right of presentation at court. A pianist, Ignace Paderewski, even became prime minister of Poland in 1919.

The status of the musician was just as indefinite in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as his prestige. Fame and riches did not always entail equal rights for many celebrated musicians. For example, Franz Liszt, a rich grand seigneur, who was raised to the ranks of the hereditary nobility, nevertheless encountered resistance at the court when he proposed to marry a princess. This discrepancy between fame as an artist and status in society prevails in parts of the Orient up to the present day. As recently as 1932, at a congress in Cairo, high government officials refused to sit at the same table with eminent musicians of their own country. The prejudice against the artist was reinforced when the “bohemian” type arose in the nineteenth century. Even today the artist is not highly respected among the bourgeois middle class. In a certain sense he is outside society.

Secondary musical professions

Alongside creating, performing, and directing there are many important professionals who serve the institutional structure of musical life, such as publishers, printers, music engravers, impresarios, and critics. The invention of the printing of music from movable type, in about 1500, made possible the spread of new musical styles and of music of high artistic merit. Nevertheless, in the eighteenth century the sale of handwritten music—music noted down by the copyist—still predominated over engraved notes. It was only toward the end of the eighteenth century that music publishing developed as a commercial enterprise and influenced the style, distribution, and acceptance of compositions.

Impresarios and agents. The impresario, or entrepreneur of public performances, played an important role in the history of opera, but his importance has lessened ever since the high cost of opera made it an unprofitable commercial undertaking, so that it now has to be managed as a subsidized public institution. On the other hand, the entrepreneur, manager, and agent are important elsewhere in the musical world, providing the talent employed in concerts and other musical performances.

Critics. Another related profession is that of the music critic, who works for newspapers, magazines, the radio, etc., either as his principal occupation or as a sideline. Critical evaluation of performed music is found as far back as antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Age of Enlightenment. Yet, as late as the eighteenth century, critics dealt primarily with musical texts; good examples are Mattheson (1722-1725) in the Critica musica and the French Encyclopedists. Most representative critics of the second half of the nineteenth century, for example, in their battle against Wagner followed the same line. Contemporary criticism, on the other hand, emphasizes reproduction and performance. The critic is uncontradicted in the pages of his own newspaper, but public opinion, even when it goes against the opinions of the critic, usually triumphs in the end. No special study, no examinations are required for the profession of critic. His certificate of competence is the quality of his style, not special knowledge of the subject, which is often sadly lacking even in prominent critics. The history of criticism proves how greatly critics have erred.

Musicologists. Another musical profession is that of the musicologist who does his work in the quiet of the university. Musicology has made a significant contribution to the revival of music composed to order or on commission (Handel, Bach, and today Vivaldi and the music of the Baroque). Musical research in universities explores historical and aesthetic problems, as well as those dealing with instruments and performance.

Public musical life

The term “musical life” is generally taken to mean the total of all public and semipublic performances of music, rather than the private, intimate cultivation of music in the home. It involves, for the most part, the large musical institutions— that is, operas, orchestras, choruses. These events are sponsored by the government, the municipality, societies, associations, and commercial entrepreneurs.


Today the opera is the biggest and most costly musical institution. As an art form, it is a stylized, special case of the theatrical play with music, which is to be found among all peoples and in all periods of history. Opera was begun in the West, by humanist circles in Florence, in 1594, as an aesthetic experiment in recreating the drama of antiquity, which used music to support the text. It developed in the sacred opera of the cardinals’ palaces in Rome, in the impresario opera of Venice, including carnival farces and pantomimes, and in the royal opera of European sovereigns.

These last two types continue to exist. Opera managed by an impresario was started in Venice by Ferrarri in 1637, as a profit-sharing venture among the members of his company; later, in London, between 1720 and 1728, Handel’s opera companies took the legal form of joint stock companies. Court opera—presented before members of the court seated hierarchically in the traditional tiered theater—was wholly subsidized by the crown.

The musical theater of the people took several forms: the bagatelliste drama, the commedia delL’arte, and the Singspiel. Starting with the caricature of Handel’s opera seria in The Beggar’s Opera, the Singspiel catered increasingly to the taste of the middle and petty bourgeois, especially in Germany. Singspiel troupes at first often played under the most wretched circumstances, but eventually this theater became a dangerous competitor to the court theater. The Singspiel disseminated the mood of the French Revolution in the theaters of the suburbs, but the political element was often secondary to pantomime and myth (e.g., E. Schikaneder’s 1791 Singspiel, Die Zauberflote, with music by Mozart). A combination of the two types of opera were the numerous traveling opera troupes of the impresarios, which were often engaged by princes to play in their court theaters.

The era of the Baroque court opera came to an end about 1760. Eight years earlier Empress Maria Theresa had turned her court theater over to the city of Vienna to be operated by the municipality. The French Revolution turned the opera into political propaganda, glorifying revolutionary ideas and heroes, a counterpart to the earlier glorification of princes during the Baroque era.

Most of the European monarchies established state opera houses in their principal cities. Many of these have remained active. Because of its many small principalities, Germany became the country with the largest number of opera houses and orchestras. In 1963 the German Federal Republic, including West Berlin, had 132 theaters with a total attendance of 6.3 million (including 2.4 million at operetta performances), 36 theater orchestras, and 41 independent orchestras, including 9 radio orchestras. East Germany had 86 theaters in 1962, with a total attendance of 3.4 million at the opera and 2.8 million at operettas. Russia had opera performances for the imperial court under Peter the Great, and a public state opera house was founded in Moscow in 1806. Alongside the state opera houses there were princely opera houses and, as late as 1900, private opera houses of princes. Bulgaria, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia have state opera houses. State opera houses were established in Scandinavia fairly late: in 1936, in Sweden, and in 1958, in Norway. Italy, the classic land of opera enterprise, established a royal opera house only in 1929.

The opera companies are subsidized on a very lavish scale from the receipts of the amusement tax, for the high cost of operas makes the running of an opera company financially unprofitable. La Scala, Milan, for example, has annual box-office receipts of 1,900 million lire and since 1936 has received an annual subsidy of some 880 million lire. In 1958 the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, received an inadequate subsidy of £63,000, although £500,000 had been requested. The last big private opera company in Germany was Angelo Neumann’s Wagnerian company in the 1880s. In France the major arts have always been centered in Paris, where the grand opera received a subsidy of 20 million francs in 1958.

The oldest established opera company in the United States is the Metropolitan Opera in New York, founded in 1884. Like the opera in Chicago, it was initially financed by wealthy businessmen. American opera houses are still dependent upon patrons and foundations. In the 1950s there were about 600 opera organizations in 47 states, 25 per cent being professional organizations and the others affiliated with clubs, churches, studios, and colleges. Operas have been performed in colleges, in high schools, in conservatories, and even in elementary schools.

The support of large-scale artistic enterprises, whether by princes, institutions, wealthy patrons, or the state, means that these enterprises must conform, within varying limits, to the values of their patrons and publics. There are substantial differences between institutions in the type of financial support, the artistic achievement, and the intellectual level, depending upon the class of society that supports or attends them.

Operettas and musicals. The Singspiel troupes in the eighteenth century called their plays operettas. However, the modern operetta, which achieved popular success in the second half of the nineteenth century in the Viennese operettas of Johann Strausjs and the Parisian ones of Jacques Offenbach and was performed in independent operetta theaters run by impresarios, tried to advance from a provincial style to a quasi-operatic style (e.g., Franz Lehar). In America there developed the musical comedy, designed as light entertainment in a popular musical idiom. The Archers, performed in 1796 in the John Street Theater, New York, may be regarded as the first of this type. Musical comedies have run for years with enormous success in the Broadway theater of the twentieth century, reaping millions for their investors (for example, My Fair Lady, book by A. J. Lerner after Shaw’s Pygmalion and music by F. Loewe, ran for six years, from 1956 to 1962).


Orchestras are among the major public musical institutions; some of them are the most important components of the opera houses mentioned above. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries large orchestras (a hundred men or more) acquired a mass audience in the concert halls of major cities. They are the outgrowth of the chamber orchestras of the seventeenth century, which often consisted of no more than twelve to sixteen men. Enlargement of the orchestras was promoted in Germany by the staging of patriotic celebrations of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna. In England large orchestras had played at the Handel festivals since 1784, and in France gigantic orchestras were assembled by Berlioz in connection with the political demonstrations and events of 1830, 1837 (an orchestra of 146 plus 4 auxiliary orchestras), 1841, 1848, and 1851. Speculative enterprises, such as the enormous orchestra used for an American performance of Johann Strauss, with 20,000 singers and players and 100 assistant conductors before an audience of 100,000, represented an extreme form of musical entertainment.

In 1965 the United States had 1,385 symphony orchestras of various sizes. Of the top 100 orchestras, 10 were in existence before 1900; 15 were founded between 1900 and 1920; 54 between 1920 and 1940; and 21 after 1940.

Of the 77 orchestras in the German Federal Republic today, 40 (not including the radio orchestras) have 60 to 100 players. The other European countries do not have as many large orchestras. In France there are five large orchestras, four in Paris and one in Strasbourg. In England, London has three orchestras, and there are orchestras in Liverpool, Birmingham, Bournemouth, and Glasgow; London also has one opera orchestra and three large radio symphony orchestras. Milan, Italy, has the orchestra of La Scala and a symphony orchestra; Rome has one symphony orchestra. There are two radio orchestras, one in Rome and the other in Turin.

Groups—in fact, masses—of performers have traditionally served as demonstrations of the power of kings, princes, and feudal lords, and more recently of governments. Musicians, usually trumpeters and drummers, announced the appearance of rulers in preliterate Africa and in advanced cultures on ceremonial occasions.

Alongside the highly trained orchestras we find orchestras of all musical and social ranks: opera, concert, operetta, vaudeville, circus, coffeehouse, and parade orchestras, as well as those playing at dances and in parks. The social status of orchestra members varies, ranging from those employed by the state or big private enterprises down to those employed by municipalities, to musicians in private employ either in institutions that receive government subsidies or guarantees or in unsubsidized theater orchestras, and finally to the less highly trained musicians, who have to depend on occasional employment. Military musicians often represent competition for independent orchestra players. Changes in the technology of public entertainment may have serious consequences for independent musicians; one instance was the catastrophe that hit musicians employed in movie theaters when the sound film was introduced in 1930.

Choral music

The evolution of the modern chorus parallels that of large-scale organizations in general in Western societies. The choruses of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries cannot be compared in size with the choruses of today. They consisted of a few professional singers (as in the Sistine Chapel in Rome), with no more than two to four singers in each choir, except on special royal occasions.

The modern chorus received a mighty organizational impetus from the French Revolution, in which choruses played a political role. In 1795 it was proposed to the National Convention that national holidays be celebrated by choeurs universels. Mass choruses, with 2,400 men and women, were organized in Paris, in 1784. They set the example for mass choruses in subsequent revolu tions. In Germany and France, between the Napoleonic Wars and the revolutions of 1830 and 1848, national enthusiasm and socialist trends led to the establishment of choruses, male choruses, and choral organizations, which performed at choral festivals. In choral activity of this period, the democratic ideal of a fusion of the various walks of life, from the commoner to the nobleman, seems to have been achieved in Germany. In the decades that followed, choruses were again divided according to class and occupation (e.g., teachers’ choral societies, printers’ choruses, etc.). The choral movement was furthered in France after the revolution, especially by G. Wilhem, and totaled 60,000 members in 1,500 orpheons by 1893. In the same period there were monster performances in England with over 4,000 participants, half of whom were singers.

Most contemporary choruses are organized as societies, which in turn are organized into associations. Germany has 15,000 choruses, with a total membership of 1.3 million, their social and civic significance outstripping their aesthetic achievements. The Scandinavian countries, Finland in particular, are also rich in choruses. In Italy large mixed choruses have evolved slowly because the association of adult men and women, which is so prominent a feature of choral life elsewhere, conflicted with the prevailing Italian pattern of the relations of the sexes. Only since the end of the nineteenth century have women been admitted to the church choirs in Roman Catholic countries. Choral singing has always been popular in England. The major choruses include the Royal Chorus Society, founded in 1873; the Bach Choir, founded in 1876; and the Goldsmith’s Choir Union, founded in 1932. An international choral festival, the Eisteddfod, was founded in 1947 in Wales.

In addition to the choral societies, in which the artistic aim often is secondary to the desire for conviviality, there are the professional choruses. These include the little master choirs of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the opera choruses of modern times, and outstanding national choirs, such as the Association Chorale Professionelle in France and the Soviet State Chorus in Russia, which continues the tradition of the liturgical choirs and of the pre-1919 Moscow Synodal Choir. In Russia, there also are the first-class and highly paid choruses of the radio networks, newly established everywhere.

Ecclesiastical music

Churches are important in musical culture as public institutions, although here music is not an end in itself. They maintain choirmasters, organists, and musicians. They publish hymn books, and besides their significant influence upon broad, popular musical culture, they stage major events themselves, including services with orchestral and choral accompaniment and church concerts that are outside the liturgical framework (or else they make the churches available for such performances). Music has always been an element of religious worship. In ancient times the performance of music was reserved to persons of cultic importance: priests and magicians. Advanced theocratic civilizations—such as those of the Babylonians, the Sumerians, the Egyptians, and the Jews—had an extensive hierarchical system of religious musical culture. The recital of sacred texts by singing them is found throughout the world, not only because the singing voice enhances the texts but also because of music’s magical effect.

From the days of the church fathers down to the present, there has been conflict between the concerns of the church musician, who wishes to elevate the faithful with his music, and the preachers, who regard music that is too copious as a distraction from religious meditation. That is why Calvin and Zwingli, for example, forbade all music with the exception of the chorale. Even today the playing of instruments is restricted in the Roman Catholic church, and their use has been governed by numerous edicts for centuries. In the Roman Catholic church, singing, except for the little permitted the congregation, was until recently reserved to the choir of priests, who, from the theological standpoint, are representatives of the angelic choir. Luther introduced singing by the whole congregation (again theologically based on the evangelical approach ). Today, the significance of church music is confined to the church itself; yet, its influence is still great. Choirmasters (called church music directors in many churches) and organists train lay church choirs. In the missions (as well as in the Negro churches of the United States), the church makes considerable use of the performance of ethnic music. The basic conservatism of the churches in general entails greater cultivation of traditional music, discouraging the development of any generally effective new musical styles.

The training of musical taste and skill

Musical education is indispensable to the general cultivation of music. There is no doubt that here it fulfills an important function: bringing up children to be members of society. Musical education is conducted mostly in the schools, where a certain training of children to enjoy music made by singing together, as well as a modest degree of musical instruction, is an important factor in the development of the musical culture of any society. Little time, however, is scheduled for instruction in music in most countries, and only the wealthier classes of society can afford private teachers of music for their children.

Music schools serve primarily to train performing musicians. (The word “conservatory” is derived from the word for the orphan asylums in Venice and Naples during the eighteenth century, in which music gradually became the focus of activity.) In most countries there are “institutes of music” for training the musical elite.

Musicians’ associations

Associations of musicians existed even in antiquity (e.g., the association of “Dionysian artists”). The first medieval organizations of musicians, founded in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, were religious in nature (St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, St. Nicolaibriiderschaft in Vienna). In 1657 the guilds and corporations of musicians in 43 localities of central Germany united in an “Instrumental-Musikalisches Collegium,” sanctioned by Emperor Ferdinand in. Trumpeters and drummers constituted a separate caste, a “noble guild,” in the royal courts and armies; this was so even in ancient Rome. Down to the nineteenth century, organized musicians tried to defend their privileges against the unorganized (for example, by playing at weddings, etc., with a restricted number of instruments).

Starting in 1808, the Prussian state contributed to the security of musicians and their families, and voluntary welfare agencies for widows, orphans, and pensioners were promoted by Spontini in Berlin in 1842 (and in Vienna by the Tonkiinstlersociete of Gassmann as early as 1770). Like all social insurance, these programs signified a strengthening of the musical professions in their struggle for social recognition and, thus, strengthened the self-confidence of musicians in general.

Musicians’ unions, as distinct from artistic organizations, are a comparatively recent phenomenon. In Germany, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musiker verb and was founded in 1872. Since 1952, the main organization is the Deutsche Orchester-Vereinigung in der Deutschen Angestellten-Gewerkschaft; it had a membership of 5,676 in 1960 out of a total of about 6,000 orchestra musicians. In England the Incorporated Society of Musicians was established in 1882; in France there is the Syndicat National des Artistes Musiciens, and in the United States, the American Federation of Musicians.

Alongside the professional organizations there are also associations of amateurs and patrons of music. At first, these societies did not intend to give public concerts, but only “practice concerts.” Later on, they were succeeded by organizations that gave public concerts (for example, the Concerts of Ancient Music between 1776 and 1848, in England; Le Concert Spirituel between 1725 and 1791, in France; and the Big Concerts in Leipzig, dating from 1743, which were continued in 1781 as the Gewandhaus Concerts). The Allgemeine Deutsche Musikverein, 1861-1937, had as its purpose the “cultivation of music and the advancement of musicians.” The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde was founded in 1771 in Vienna. In England, the New Philharmonic Society was active from 1852 to 1897, and the National Federation of Music Societies was started in 1935. In the United States, there were the Handel and Haydn Society (founded in 1915), the Musical Alliance of America (founded in 1917), and, for orchestral music, the Philharmonic Society of New York (founded in 1842).

There is hardly any aspect of musical life that has no organization; school musicians and teachers of music (the Music Teachers’ Association, founded in 1876, in the United States), composers, music dealers, instrument makers, etc., all have their own organizations. There are even international bodies such as the International Music Council, established in 1949, which holds national and international congresses; 39 national committees are affiliated with this international organization. Other international organizations include: the Federation Internationale des Jeunesses Musicales (founded in 1947), the International Folk Music Council (founded in 1947), the Confederation Internationale des Societes des Auteurs et Compositeurs (founded in 1926), and the Federation Internationale des Musiciens (founded in 1948).

Audience and performance

There are various forms of music-playing for larger audiences. The playing of folk music unites the performers, singers, and players. Either there is no distinct audience at all or some of the listeners become participants, for instance, by clapping in rhythm or by joining in a song or its refrains. On a higher artistic plane, music is performed for an audience that does nothing but listen. At big dances, however, the listeners are also the dancers who express the music rhythmically.

This distinction among singers, players, and mere listeners is further subdivided into two categories : “familiar music-playing,” represented in the past by the regular performance of music by town musicians, performances at church festivals, court music, music played at table, etc., and the modern “performance,” which presupposes thorough study of the music to be played, by orchestras and en sembles. Mozart played his own piano concertos without any rehearsal, and Beethoven’s symphonies were played (by amateurs) in big concerts without rehearsal. In these amateur concerts, practice concerts, and glee clubs of the eighteenth century, the relatives of the performers did not come only to hear the music but to play cards and smoke as well.

Concerts and publics

As early as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, musicians played private concerts and advertised them in the newspapers. Like the opera, which was sometimes open to the public upon payment of an admission fee, in the eighteenth century there were public concerts that were open to anyone upon payment of an admission fee. These concerts were held at the same time as the concerts for invited guests of the aristocracy and the wealthy of Paris and were often staged on a splendid scale. Ever since the middle of the eighteenth century, however, the concert open to the wide public has been the standard form for the performance of music. The admission ticket is a contract of sale. (The German youth music movement has criticized this form of concert since 1914, believing that it entails the danger that the listener, excluded from active participation, might become inwardly inactive as well. The youth movement advocated “open singing,” with the active participation of all the listeners, in opposition to the concert form. It wanted to experience music in a community, with the participation of all those present.)

The musician presenting his art tries to gain a “public.” This may be a homogeneous audience that is linked to the performers. Such is the case, for example, in a concert of active or passive members of a society, in a school concert, in a concert for a public united in support of a particular artistic goal, etc. However, the persuasiveness of music is required to establish a community of musical experience in a concert for a metropolitan public, which is brought together by interests not all of which are artistic and which is not at all uniform in taste. In this case, the purely creative social force, the “sociability” of music, is probably only transitory and hard to estimate. It is a hyperbole to speak of the creative social force of Beethoven’s symphonies. Rather, like all works of art, these symphonies are the work of an individual genius, but they also express the general feelings of mankind (or at least those of a national group during a certain epoch).

The stratification of musical activity

Musical performances differ in the socially different strata of audiences according to the quality of the performance, the artistic and social strivings of the musicians, the magnitude of the performance (number of performers and type of music), and content of the repertoire, and the style and age of the works performed. They are further divided into two categories: serious and entertainment music. Serious-music performances include symphony concerts, choral concerts, oratorios, recitals, evenings of lieder, and programs of church music. Entertainment-music performances include folk-music and military-band concerts, concerts in public squares, and beer-garden concerts featuring light programs, dances, marches, jazz, and popular singing.

Public performances requiring tickets of admission constitute a classification of the listeners according to the price of admission, fixed by the listeners’ means. The performances themselves differ, and the ticket effects a spatial stratification within the concert hall itself. The motive for operagoing or concertgoing often is the desire for social contacts and, in the case of expensive concerts and the higher-priced seats, the desire to be seen and to gain or maintain prestige, alongside the interest in the music and often ahead of it (in the case of the “snob”). The optional or frequently prescribed dress for the audience (black tie, evening gown) results in social gradations of the performance, as does the spatial allocation within the hall (orchestra seats versus balcony). Not only does the cost of admission act as a hindrance to lower-income groups, but the social level of the audience (education, dress) may hinder outsiders from attending the concert.

The statistics available on the stratification of the radio audience, however, indicate that the inexpensive opportunity of listening to music and the elimination of social shyness does not prevent a quite general stratification of the listeners. “Serious” or “heavy” music (usually called classical music for the sake of simplicity) is generally preferred by those of higher education. According to these statistics, the desire to hear serious music and the understanding thereof grow with the level of general education and, correspondingly, with musical training.

Audience organizations in all countries are endeavoring to lift the financial barriers for the bulk of the population. Yet, serious music cannot easily be made “accessible to the people.” The problem of making “true folk music” widely accessible must also be regarded with skepticism in industrialized countries with a predominantly urban population. Folk music lives on in isolated regions and loses its character when it becomes a school song or is arranged for choral singing.

Mass communication, with some 300 million radios in the world and about four times that many listeners, represents a totally new factor in bringing the masses into contact with different types of music. Programs are classified according to content and are broadcast at times that make allowance for the listeners’ social status and working hours. (The phonograph record and the jukebox are related forms of mass communication.) Music is disseminated far more widely than at any previous time. This is paralleled by lower intensity; listening to music grows duller and shallower.

Mass communication is disseminating Euro-American music among non-Western peoples. Regrettably enough, exogenous entertainment music often displaces these peoples’ indigenous music. A mixed style that approaches European music is already developing in the non-Western countries that have traditional musical styles of their own.

Hans Engel


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MUSIC This entry includes 10 subentries:
African American
Country and Western
Early American
Folk Revival
Theater and Film

African American

Among the defining features of African American music are the mix of cultural influences from African to European, the presence of both syncopation and improvisation, and the pull between city and country, spiritual and secular. These characteristics eventually led black Americans to create what is widely believed to be America's greatest cultural achievement: jazz.

When Africans first arrived in America in 1619, they brought with them only memories. Among those memories, the drumming, singing, and dancing of their West African homes. Although music was often forbidden to the slaves, they sometimes found ways of using it to communicate, as well as to commemorate occasions, especially deaths. Work songs and sorrow songs, or spirituals, were the first music to grow out of the African experience in America. These songs were often performed a cappella; when instruments were used, they were largely fiddles and banjos.

Some slave owners felt that blacks should be Christianized, though this was far from universal, as many slaveholders felt that slaves should not be treated as humans or beings with souls. However, in New England in the late seventeenth century, blacks often did attend church services and learn church songs. In the South, those slaves who were sent to church services were taught to obey their masters; good behavior would result in heavenly rewards. As life on earth was clearly without hope, many slaves found solace in this message and in the Christian hymns that accompanied it. At the same time, they built their own repertory of songs, both religious and secular. Often the songs combined a mix of influences, including the Middle Eastern nuances of West African music, the Spanish accent in Creole music, and the anguish drawn from everyday experience. Black music has always been appreciated; there are many reports of slave entertainment on plantations and of street vendors who made up original songs to hawk their wares. In the 1820s white performers began to capitalize on the accomplishments of black performers by using their songs in minstrel shows. Whites—and later blacks as well—performed in black face, using burnt cork to create a parody of an African. The minstrels altered their songs from the original African American versions to suit the taste of whites, a tradition that endured well into the twentieth century when white artists made covers of songs by African Americans. Between 1850 and 1870, minstrel shows reached the peak of their popularity. The two main characters, often called "Jim Crow" and "Zip Coon," represented country and city dwellers, respectively. Minstrelsy continued its popularity long after the Civil War, until the early twentieth century.

Around the turn of the twentieth century, the two major precursors of jazz came into popularity: ragtime and blues. Scott Joplin was the premier composer of rag-time, a form that reflected the taste of the newly formed black bourgeois, who preferred pianos over banjos and fiddles. Ragtime took its name from the practice of "ragging" tunes; the left hand of the pianist added the syncopation that was provided in earlier music by foot stomping. At about the same time, American blacks were innovating the blues. City versus country is again a factor in blues music; often a third category, "classic" blues, is used. While the best-known ragtime tunes are instrumental, memorable blues songs are meant to be sung. Country blues is widely deemed an older form and derives from folk music. It was originally accompanied by folk instruments including strings, crockery jugs, and harmonicas and sometimes had a sound near to that of spirituals. Urban blues tends to be more complex and played by a band with a rhythm section. Chicago is the capital of urban blues. Classic blues has a woman singer, such as Ma Rainey or Bessie Smith, in front. Both ragtime and blues were created by more musically sophisticated blacks who often knew how to write music and were knowingly fusing the music of their African roots with European-influenced composition. At this time, brass bands, boogie-woogie piano bars, and dance orchestras flourished throughout the country. African American music was not recorded until the 1920s, though it did find many proponents at the close of the nineteenth century, including the Czech composer Antonín Dvorˇák.

The New Orleans brass bands developed Dixieland jazz, with trumpeter Louis Armstrong the first to stress on-the-spot innovations while playing. At the same time, Kansas City jazz was developing under Count Basie and his orchestra, and, perhaps the greatest American jazz composer, Duke Ellington, was conducting his swing band on the East Coast. Billie Holliday influenced music by using blues and jazz touches in popular songs and by singing with white orchestras. By the 1950s Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie were making "bebop" jazz in New York City.

The 1940s and 1950s saw the rise of rhythm-and blues (R&B), a combination of both jazz and blues. By the 1950s, some black artists (T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan, Bo Diddley) had become popular with mainstream audiences—but what often happened was that white performers made a sanitized cover version of a black artist's work and sold many more records. Still, R&B stars such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry had a huge influence on the then-burgeoning rock and roll. The 1950s also brought the popularity of doo-wop, a gospel-based vocal style that emphasized harmonizing.

Gospel was the basis for soul music, which began its development in the 1950s and peaked in popularity during the Black Power movement of the 1960s. In 1959 Ray Charles combined contemporary R&B with the call and response of the church in "What'd I Say." Aretha Franklin also drew on her gospel roots, starting with 1967's "Respect." The 1960s brought the first multimillion-dollar black-owned recording company, Motown. Detroit producer Berry Gordy Jr. introduced the world to such crossover groups as the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and the Jackson Five, all of whom received massive airplay on top-40 radio stations. Michael Jack-son's 1982 album "Thriller" sold forty million copies and gave Jackson a spot as the first black artist on MTV.

Both Jackson and James Brown are known for their dancing. Brown's version of soul was funk. He used African polyrhythms to sing 1969's "Say It Loud—I'm Black and I'm Proud" and in turn influenced other socially conscious groups, as well as disco in the 1970s and rap in the 1980s.

Funk, soul, and R&B mix in rap, which grew out of the hip-hop movement. Some early rappers such as The Last Poets, Grandmaster Funk, and Public Enemy commented on racial issues. At the same time, other rappers were largely interested in the entertainment value of break dancing and producing music that was nonmelodic and almost entirely dependent on syncopation. Gangster rap spawned another subculture as artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur ran into real life trouble with the law and sometimes, as with Shakur who was murdered in 1994, with other gangsters.


Charlton, Katherine. Rock Music Styles: A History. 3d ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 1998.

Jones, LeRoi (Amiri Baraka). Blues People: Negro Music in White America. New York: Morrow, 1963.

Ogg, Alex, with David Upshal. The Hip Hop Years: A History of Rap. New York: Fromm, 2001.

Southern, Eileen. The Music of Black Americans: A History. New York: Norton, 1971.

Stambler, Irwin. The Encyclopedia of Rock, Pop, and Soul. Rev. ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.

White, Newman I. American Negro Folk-Songs. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1928.

Rebekah PressonMosby

See alsoBlues ; Jazz ; Minstrel Shows ; Ragtime .


Bluegrass music is a form of country music that emerged in the 1940s and 1950s from a group known as the Blue Grass Boys headed by Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe,

who came to be known as "the father of bluegrass." The music in its definitive form was first heard in Nashville, Tennessee. Early bluegrass was distinctively flavored by Appalachia, where such groups as the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys performed on radio station WCYB in Bristol on the Tennessee-Virginia border. As elsewhere in country music, white performers predominated in professional settings, but the music took its inspiration from both white and black musicians. Several characteristics define bluegrass style. A typical band consists of four to seven players and singers who use acoustic rather than electrical instruments. Early bluegrass musicians tuned their instruments a half note above standard, a practice still used by some groups today, and bluegrass generally uses high-pitched vocals and requires more than one voice to sing something other than harmony parts. The guitar, mandolin, banjo, string bass, and fiddle play both melody and provide rhythm and background for vocal soloists. Through recordings, television, tours, and festivals, bluegrass performers have gained a national and even international constituency. An establishment consisting of several recording companies (Country, Rebel, Rounder, Sugar Hill, and others), clubs, and magazines, such as Bluegrass Unlimited, developed as the bluegrass festival movement spread in the 1960s. In the 1970s performances departed from the traditional form with "new grass," using rock repertoire and techniques. The formation of the International Bluegrass Association in 1985 and the creation of the Americana Record chart in 1995 carved out radio time for late twentieth-century bluegrass musicians and expanded the music's popularity.


Cantwell, Robert. Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984.

Ewing, Tom, ed. The Bill Monroe Reader. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Rosenberg, Neil V. Bluegrass: A History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Charles A.Weeks/f. h.

See alsoBluegrass Country .


Early American Classical Music

Classical music encompasses instrumental and vocal music written by trained composers, expressing cultivated artistic and intellectual values, as opposed to music of an essentially commercial nature (popular) or music that develops anonymously and is transmitted aurally (folk). In the eighteenth century, classical music could be heard in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Williamsburg, Charleston, New Orleans, and elsewhere in the homes of talented amateur musicians (most notably Francis Hopkinson and Thomas Jefferson) and in occasional public and private concerts (beginning in the 1730s) performed by local or touring musicians. Nearly all of the art music heard during this period was that of European masters such as George Frideric Handel, Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, Luigi Boccherini, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Thomas Arne. A few Americans, including Hopkinson and immigrant professional musicians Alexander Reinagle, Rayner Taylor, James Hewitt, and Benjamin Carr, composed and published songs and instrumental music in the style of their European contemporaries. German-speaking Moravian or Unitas Fratrum settlers in Pennsylvania and North Carolina had perhaps the most active musical communities of the period. A large part of their music was composed locally by European-trained members.

A movement to regularize psalm singing in New England Protestant meeting houses led to the formation of singing schools that fostered the development of musical skill in a wider population. Groups of amateurs formed musical societies for the recreational singing of sacred music, including psalm settings by Boston composer William Billings. In the nineteenth century, hymn singing gradually replaced psalm singing in popularity. Massachusetts composer Lowell Mason, along with writing his own hymn melodies, adapted music from classical composers such as Handel and Mozart to fit hymn texts.

The nineteenth century produced new audiences, performing venues, and important musical organizations. The Boston Handel and Haydn Society (established 1815) promoted the performance of choral music. The Philharmonic Society, predecessor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, gave its first concert in 1842. As early as the 1790s, operas were performed in New Orleans and Philadelphia. In New York City, opera was performed in theaters and at the Academy of Music (beginning in the 1850s). A concert circuit developed during the 1840s, introducing solo performers and musical troupes to cities and towns throughout America. The most famous of these performers was the Swedish singer Jenny Lind, promoted by the greatest of all entertainment entrepreneurs of the century, Phineas T. Barnum. In 1853, New Orleans composer Louis Gottschalk returned from studies in Paris to pursue a successful career as a touring concert pianist, which provided him opportunities to perform his own music.

Early American performers and composers lacked the main sources of patronage that supported the European tradition of art music, such as the aristocracy and the Catholic church, and depended on entrepreneurs willing to market classical music to the public. In spite of efforts by musicians such as Philadelphia composer William Henry Fry in the 1850s to champion the cause of American music, orchestras and other performing groups felt that the financial risk remained too high to allow performances of unknown American pieces in place of proven European masterworks. Fry further noted that only composers with independent means could afford to devote time and resources to writing music. Following the Civil War, however, the idea of supporting music as an artistic and educational endeavor became popular, and a stable, professional musical culture finally took root in America. Subsidies supported resident orchestras and opera companies, helping to pay for music halls and touring expenses. Orchestras were established in St. Louis (1880), Boston (1881), Chicago (1891), and Cincinnati (1895). The New York Metropolitan Opera House opened in 1883. In 1870 a landmark event occurred when Harvard College hired composer John Knowles Paine as assistant professor of music. Later, Horatio Parker joined the faculty at Yale (1894), Edward MacDowell came to Columbia (1896), and George Whitefield Chadwick became the director of the New England Conservatory (1897). Since then, such teaching positions have provided financial security for many composers and performers.

An important group of American composers active at the end of the nineteenth century—including Paine, Parker, and Chadwick, sometimes labeled the "New England School" or the "Boston Classicists"—were related by background, interest, and age: each had studied in Germany, lived in Boston where their works were frequently performed, interacted in the same social circles, and composed in a primarily German Romantic style. New York composer MacDowell also spent time in Boston but was more widely recognized and also advocated a kind of musical nationalism. He incorporated American landscapes and indigenous music into his style, as in the Woodland Sketches (1896) and his Indian Suite (1896), which includes several Native American melodies. At the end of the century the German influence began to fade. The works of two early twentieth-century composers, Charles Martin Loeffler and Charles Tomlinson Griffes, instead display primarily French impressionist and Russian influences.

Twentieth-Century American Music

American composers produced a wealth of music over the course of the twentieth century. Some sought to innovate; others enriched European tradition. Most taught at universities or such conservatories as Juilliard (established 1905), the Eastman School of Music (1921), and the New England Conservatory (1867). The most unique of American composers at the turn of the century was Charles Ives, who prospered as the founder of an insurance firm and made musical composition his avocation. His orchestral and chamber works, choral music, and songs often predate similar experiments by European composers, employing innovative techniques such as polytonal effects, multilayered structures, tone clusters, microtones, and free, unmetrical rhythms. Ives often quotes American hymn and song tunes, and his descriptive pieces for orchestra are closely related to the American scene, including his Three Places in New England and The Housatonic at Stockbridge (which quotes the hymn tune "Dorrnance").

In the period following World War I, a group of composers arose who, although largely trained in the European tradition, were distinctly American in outlook: Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson, Marc Blitz-stein, and Roger Sessions. Most studied with the French teacher Nadia Boulanger, who believed a non-European perspective would produce innovative musical ideas. Copland, in particular, was an advocate of American music and at times fused jazz and folk elements into his compositions to create an audibly American style. Some African American composers, such as William Grant Still in his Afro American Symphony (1930), also practiced greater compositional diversity in an effort to express their heritage. Important symphonists in the traditional vein include Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, Walter Piston, and William Schumann.

The most notable aspect of music in the twentieth century was an unparalleled diversity of musical styles resulting from the breakdown of the traditional tonal system and the disintegration of the idea of a universal musical language. Some composers, such as Milton Babbit, extended the serial techniques of Arnold Schoenbergand Anton Webern's "Viennese School." But many (including Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, and Edgar Varèse), inspired by Ives, largely abandoned traditional formal or technical practices and experimented with sound and other musical materials. John Cage continued this exploration with a technique termed "indeterminacy" that intentionally included some degree of chance in composition or performance. Others made notational innovations and sought out new instrumental resources, such as percussion (George Crumb), introduced rhythmic and textural innovations (Elliott Carter), and investigated the sounds of language (Babbitt). In the 1960s a group of composers, including Philip Glass and Steve Reich, attempted to bring music back to its most basic elements by working with drastically reduced means—a practice known as "minimalism." Experimentation reached its climax in the 1960s, but in the 1970s musicians including David Del Tredici and George Rochberg began to reintroduce tonality into their music. Electronic and synthesizer music have also been explored by Varèse, Cage, Babbitt, Morton Subotnick, and others.

During earlier periods in America when concerts were rare, particularly for people outside of cosmopolitan areas, most classical music was heard in the home, primarily in the performance of songs and piano pieces. After the Civil War, classical music found larger audiences because of the growing numbers of American symphony orchestras—1,400 by the late twentieth century. New halls and cultural centers opened in New York, Washington, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, and other cities; older halls, including former movie theaters, were renovated and restored in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Oakland, and St. Louis. Enrollment in conservatories and music schools and attendance at a growing number of summer music festivals increased. Many orchestras expanded their seasons, encouraged new music through composer-in-residence programs, and showed a remarkable ability to innovate in programming and format. Radio and television further disseminated music, as illustrated by the Metropolitan Opera's Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts beginning in 1940 and such public television series as "Great Performances" and "Live from Lincoln Center." Recordings have allowed unprecedented variety in musical consumption, allowing classical works, both new and old, by Americans and others, to be heard by anyone. Even in competition with the many other pursuits possible today, classical music remains a vital part of the musical culture of the United States.


Chase, Gilbert. America's Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present. 3rd. rev. ed. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Crawford, Richard. The American Musical Landscape: The Business of Musicianship from Billings to Gershwin. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2000.

———. America's Musical Life: A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001.

Levin, Monroe. Clues to American Music. Washington, D.C.: Starrhill Press, 1992.

Sadie, Stanley, and H. Wiley Hitchcock, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 4 vols. New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, 1986.

Martina B.Bishopp

Charles A.Weeks

Country and Western

Country and western music often referred to just as country music, eludes precise definition because of its many sources and varieties. It can best be understood as a style of popular music that originated in the folk culture of the rural south, a culture of European and African origin. Fiddlers,

banjo players, string bands, balladeers, and gospel singers drew upon existing music to develop materials suitable for performance at family and community events. As southerners migrated to northern cities in the early twentieth century, their music went with them; and, beginning in the 1920s, radio and recordings did much to popularize and diversify this music. In 1934, when a radio hillbilly singer from Texas named Orvon Gene Autry went to Hollywood, the era of the great cowboy singer in the movies began. The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, beginning in the 1940s, made that city a mecca for country music fans, many of whom listened religiously to its performances on the radio. The popularity of rock and roll through the revolution in popular music begun by Elvis Presley in the mid-1950s posed a challenge to country music, but the development of a new style known as country pop or the Nashville Sound countered it in part. By the 1990s country and western music had an international following.


Ching, Barbara. Wrong's What I Do Best: Hard Country Music and Contemporary Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Malone, Bill C. Country Music, U.S.A. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.

———. Don't Get Above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

Peterson, Richard A. Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Charles A.Weeks/a. e.

See alsoBallads ; Cowboy Songs ; Music Festivals ; Music: Bluegrass, Popular ; Nashville .

Early American

By the early eighteenth century, the English colonies on the eastern seaboard stretched from Maine to Georgia. They were replicas of English culture in terms of language, religion, social institutions, and customs, including music. While the population at this time included many Native Americans and newly arrived Africans, the colonists seemed little influenced by their cultures. The middle colonies were the most ethnically diverse, attracting people from all over Europe, including Germany, Sweden, France, and Holland. Nevertheless, the New England Puritans had considerable influence in shaping both the American ethos and American music. While the Puritans considered secular music frivolous and attempted to limit its place in society, they considered the singing of psalms the highest form of spiritual expression.

The music of the colonists was based on British and other European genres, which included sacred music of the Protestant Church, classical music, and popular music, including ballads, madrigals, theater songs, dance music, and broadsides. While the musical life of each colonist depended on socio-economic factors, religious beliefs, and geographical location, there was much crossover of musical traditions. The same repertories passed through all strata of society, although performed differently according to context. The performance of religious music, especially in New England, gave rise to the first music schools in America and the first truly American composers.

Sacred Music in the Eighteenth Century

The a cappella singing of vernacular translations of the psalms by a whole congregation was common in Protestant England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Both Puritans and Anglicans continued this tradition in the American colonies. Some of the earliest books in the Colonies were Psalters, which include texts of the Psalms. The Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 brought with them the Book of Psalms, published in Holland by Henry Ainsworth in 1612.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century, New England church leaders were dissatisfied with the state of hymn singing among their congregations. Many of the colonists did not read music, which led them to rely on the practice of "lining out," a call and response form originating in England, whereby the music was taught orally. While Psalters were readily available, including the popular Bay Psalm Book first published in America in 1642, most included text without musical notation. Therefore, new versions of the musical settings began to emerge through the process of oral tradition. Leaders in the church deplored this lack of standardization and the low level of musical literacy.

By the mid-eighteenth century, singing schools were established in New England. Boston became the first center for singing schools in the 1720s, and the practice gradually spread. The teachers were mostly itinerant singing masters who were the first professional musicians in New England. They typically spent several weeks in a community teaching participants to read music and to learn psalm tunes. The classes were designed as both a religious and a secular activity, primarily for teenagers and young adults. Participants learned the art of singing within the church setting, but hymn singing also took place outside the church—in homes, in taverns, and at parties. It became a social pastime and a form of amateur entertainment. As the general level of singing improved, singing provided a new expression of community.

The singing schools helped to raise the level of music literacy, expanded the repertoire, increased the demand for new books, and encouraged American composers to create new music. One of the most influential New England composers of this period was the musician, song-writer, and singing master William Billings (1746–1800), who published numerous collections of religious music, including the New England Psalm Singer (1770) and The Singing Master's Assistant (1778).

In the South, singing schools were maintained well into the nineteenth century. The schools took two paths of development. One was the regular singing of hymns and psalms, which led to the formation of choirs and choral societies, while the other was a more rural, folk-oriented style. This form of communal singing became part of the outdoor, religious camp meetings of the early nineteenth century, a period known as the "Great Awakening."

Secular Music in the Eighteenth Century

Most secular music performed in the colonies also originated in England. Until after the Revolution, musicians, music, instruments, and music books were imported, and this had a tremendous impact on home entertainment and what was performed on concert stages. While theater performances were restricted for religious reasons, especially in the North, by the 1730s, almost all American cities held public concerts. Charleston, South Carolina, was one of the most musical cities in the colonies before the Revolution, and the oldest musical society in North America, the St. Cecilia Society, was founded there in 1762. As cities grew and became more prosperous, music making grew closer to its counterpart in England, where classical music, plays, ballad operas, and dancing were extremely popular. The music there became more like that in England, where the rage was classical music, plays, ballad operas, and dancing. By the 1750s and 1760s, there were theater performances in most major cities.

One of the most popular types of entertainment throughout the colonies was country-dancing, another import from England. Although thought to have originated with rural folk, by the sixteenth century country-dances had been appropriated by the upper classes and moved into a ballroom setting. Both men and women performed these figure dances in line, square, and circle formations. By the eighteenth century, lines of men and women faced each other in the most popular form, the "longways for as many as will" country-dance.

Country-dancing took place regularly at balls, assemblies, private parties, and taverns in the colonies and provided entertainment for all social classes, though urban dance events for the elite were usually held in elegant ballrooms. As in England, dancing was regarded as a necessary social skill for social advancement. Itinerant dancing masters taught both dancing and etiquette throughout the colonies. John Griffiths, a dancing master who traveled and taught between Boston and New York in the 1780s and 1790s, published the first collection of country-dances in America, A Collection of Figures of the Newest and Most Fashionable Country-Dances (1786).

The tunes associated with the country-dance came from a variety of sources. While some tunes were part of the common repertory handed down by oral tradition in England, Scotland, Ireland, and America, others were new. They were found not only in country-dance books, but also on broadsides, in collections of theater, instrumental, and vocal music, and in tutors for various instruments. Country-dances were often performed at the end of theater productions, and dancing masters borrowed popular tunes and songs from the stage to create and songs from the stage to create new dances. Some of the country-dance tunes from this period, such as "Fisher's Hornpipe," "Irish Wash Woman," and "St. Patrick's Day in the Morning" are still found in the repertories of traditional dance musicians today.

Music in America: 1780–1860

After the Revolution, there was an increase in musical activity, and a new demand for instruments, instruction tutors, and printed copies of pieces performed on stage and in concert halls. American printing also increased, especially in the form of sheet music. Movable type became more common in the 1780s and marked the rise of specialty publishing. While the printing of Psalm tune anthologies burgeoned in the 1760s and 1770s, major anthologies of secular instrumental music did not appear until the 1780s.

The first American publishers of secular music were established in Philadelphia, including Benjamin Carr (1768–1831), who arrived from England in 1791 and quickly became known as a singer in ballad operas, as well as a composer, arranger, and publisher. Carr and his son imported much of their music from Europe, but also published music by local musicians, including the first edition of the patriotic song, "Hail Columbia" (1798), with music by Philip Phile and lyrics by John Hopkinson.

New York and Boston also became important publishing centers. The publishing houses in these cities had close ties with the theaters, and their early catalogues consisted largely of theater songs. By 1840, publishing as a whole was concentrated in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Major publishers, such as the Oliver Ditson Company of Boston, had near monopolies on the new music industry, including ownership of retail stores, publishing, distribution of music and musical supplies, and the manufacture of musical instruments.

The tremendous social and regional diversity of nineteenth-century America led to more clear-cut distinctions between traditional, popular, and classical music. For example, the Irish and Scottish immigrants who settled in the Appalachian Mountains during the late eighteenth century continued to pass down a distinct repertory of old ballads and tunes through oral tradition well into the twentieth century, partly because of their geographical isolation. Music on the western frontier was by necessity different from urban centers on the Eastern seaboard. The first Italian opera performances, such as the 1818 Philadelphia premier of Rossini's Barber of Seville, were restricted to the major cities, where new musical organizations and patrons made such productions possible.

The period before the Civil War saw both the growth of classical music performance and the creation of the first orchestras (The Philharmonic Society of New York was the first, in 1842) and the rise of popular entertainment genres. Military and civic bands proliferated throughout the country and played for all kinds of ceremonial events. With the introduction of keyed brass instruments in the 1830s, all-brass ensembles soon replaced the Revolutionary-era ensembles of clarinets, flutes, bassoons, trumpets, and drums. Band repertories included military, patriotic, and popular pieces of the day.

The nineteenth century also saw the rise of social dance ensembles called quadrille bands. The quadrille, a social dance performed in sets of four couples in square formation, was exported from France to England in 1815, and soon after to America. By the mid-nineteenth century, the quadrille and variant forms—such as the Lancers and the Polka Quadrille—were extremely popular in both urban and rural settings. A large body of music repertory was published for the typical ensemble of first violin, second violin, clarinet, two coronets, bass, flute, viola, cello, trombone, and piano.

Popular songs were also an important part of theater productions, concerts, and home entertainment. The first songs published in America in the 1780s were in the form of sheet music and arranged for solo voice and piano. Irish and Scottish songs were popular at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the growing consumer market was flooded by arrangements of new songs set to traditional airs by Irishmen Thomas Moore (1779–1852) and Samuel Lover (1797–1868).

As the century progressed, the minstrel song emerged as one of the first distinctly American genres. Created by white Americans in blackface for the entertainment of other white people, minstrel songs caricatured slave life on the plantation, creating and maintaining grotesque stereotypes of African American customs and behavior. While the first performers in the 1820s were solo acts, by the 1840s, blackface performers toured in troupes. The most famous of these groups was Christy's Minstrels, who first performed in New York in 1846. Like other groups of the period, all of their music was from the Anglo-American tradition. By the 1850s, black performers formed minstrel troupes, and many groups were touring by the 1870s.

The most famous songwriter to emerge from this period was Stephen Foster (1826–1864), whose "Oh Susanna" (1848), "Old Folks at Home" (1851), "My Old Kentucky Home" (1853), and "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair" (1854) are considered classics. Foster was influenced by both the lyrical Anglo-Irish song repertory and the minstrel song tradition. His songs range from nostalgic, sentimental songs about love and loss to typical minstrel songs in dialect. His songs in the early 1850s were more in the mold of earlier songwriters such as Thomas Moore, and it was these works that influenced a whole generation of songwriters after the Civil War.


Chase, Gilbert. America's Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present. 3d ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

Crawford, Richard. The American Musical Landscape. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Davis, Ronald L. A History of Music in American Life: The Formative Years, 1620–1865. Huntington, N.Y.: Krieger, 1982.

Hamm, Charles. Music in the New World. New York: Norton, 1983.

Hast, Dorothea. Music, Dance, and Community: Contra Dance in New England. Doctoral dissertation, Wesleyan University, 1994.

Hitchcock, H. Wiley. Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2000.

Krummel, D. W. "Publishing and Printing of Music." In The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, 1986.

MacPherson, William A. The Music of the English Country Dance 1651–1728. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, 1984.

Van Cleef, Joy, and Kate Keller. "Selected American Country Dances and Their English Sources." In Music in Colonial Massachusetts 1630–1830: Music in Public Places. Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1980.

Dorothea E.Hast

Seevol. 9:National Songs, Ballads, and Other Patriotic Poetry, Chiefly Relating to the War of 1846 .

Folk Revival

The American folk music revival began in the early twentieth century with collectors and folklorists who sought to preserve regional American music traditions, and composers and performers who wanted to bring these traditions into the concert hall. From the late 1920s until World War II, the work of folklorists and performers took two paths: the first was to promote and encourage rural musicians who were considered tradition bearers, such as Leadbelly and Molly Jackson, and the second was to use music to raise political consciousness, as in the performances of such artists as Woody Guthrie and the Almanac Singers. Between 1928 and 1934, four large folk festivals were organized in the rural South in an effort to bring performers out of isolation and to create new audiences. Interest in regional American music was also fueled by

the creation of numerous government-sponsored folklore projects of the Works Progress Administration. During this same period, folk music became ideologically associated with protest music, especially among left-wing urbanites. Drawing on both the music of earlier protest movements and newly composed repertory, performers such as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Cisco Huston, Josh White, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, and Lee Hays performed at union rallies, hootenannies, and for a variety of social causes throughout the 1940s.

The movement gained momentum after World War II and adopted three routes for its development: the cultivation of a variety of world folk musics and dances, a rediscovery and appreciation of rural American music, and the growth of new urban styles devoted to political issues and social commentary. Publications and organizations such as The People's Song Book (1948 and 1956) and Lift Every Voice (1953) disseminated political music through print media, recordings, and performances. In the 1950s, the commercial success of the Weavers, Harry Belafonte, and the Kingston Trio ushered in a new relationship between folk music and the mass media. The Weavers' rendition of "Goodnight Irene" is estimated to have sold over four million records in 1952.

At the peak of the revival in the 1960s, civil rights activism, resistance to the Vietnam War, and a youth subculture gave rise to new and mixed folk genres that entered into the mainstream. The increased visibility of acoustic folk music among college youth and others created a boom in concerts, folk festivals, recordings, broadcasts, instrument sales, and informal music making. Many college-educated musicians were drawn into the serious study and recreation of folk styles, including old time, bluegrass, blues, New England contra dance, and Cape Breton fiddling. Although folk music was perceived as "people's music," in the 1960s it was in many ways no less a commercial genre than country music and rock and roll. The major figures associated with this period include Pete Seeger; Bob Dylan; Joan Baez; and Peter, Paul, and Mary.


Cantwell, Robert. When We Were Good: The Folk Revival. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Denisoff, R. Serge. Great Day Coming: Folk Music and the American Left. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971.

Hast, Dorothea. Music, Dance, and Community: Contra Dance in New England. Ph.D. diss., Wesleyan University, 1994.

Slobin, Mark. "Fiddler Off the Roof: Klezmer Music as an Ethnic Musical Style." In The Jews of North America. Edited by Moses Rischin. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987.

Whisnant, David E. All That Is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Religion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

Dorothea E.Hast


Gospel hymns originated within the Protestant evangelical church in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, popularized through the revival meetings conducted by Dwight L. Moody and his musical partner Ira D. Sand-key. The popularity of expressing one's religious experience through song convinced Sandkey to create a publication designed to bring the gospel hymn to a wider audience. With business partner Phillip P. Bliss, in 1875 Sankey published Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs. The hymns were especially successful in the South, where songs like "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" demonstrated both the religious and commercial appeal of gospel music. For the next four decades, the classic southern gospel quartet—four men and a piano—dominated revival and secular gospel singing. Thomas Dorsey, an African American from Chicago, challenged that traditional arrangement when he introduced the sounds of ragtime and the blues to accompany the religious text of the hymn. The founder and creative force behind the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, Dorsey composed some 500 hymns, including the hit "Move On Up a Little Higher," performed by Mahalia Jackson in 1947. Gospel music continued to attract a larger audience over the next two decades, including the popularity of James Cleveland's traditional-sounding Gospel Choir tour and Edwin Hawkins's rhythm and blues "Oh Happy Day," which reached number one on Billboard's Top Fifty Chart in 1969. Between 1970 and 2000, gospel music, sometimes referred to as "praise music" or simply "Christian music" had become a billion-dollar industry.


Blackwell, Lois S. The Wings of the Dove: The Story of Gospel Music in America. Norfolk, Va.: Donning Press, 1978.

Harris, Michael W. The Rise of Gospel Blues: The Music of Thomas Andrew Dorsey in the Urban Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

David O'DonaldCullen


Through the twentieth century and in earlier times, music has been a major marker of ethnicity and nationality and an indispensable component of the ceremonial, spiritual, and social life of Native American cultures. Ubiquitous in the daily cycle of tribal activity and in the year and life cycles of typical societies, music became in the twentieth century a significant part of the arsenal of cultural survival and revival, and has made a distinctive contribution to mainstream American popular and concert music. The importance of music is illustrated by its prominent appearance in virtually every event in which Native Americans mark or celebrate their cultural traditions.

Comparative study suggests that in distant, prehistoric times, virtually all ceremonies included music and dance; that music was thought to possess great spiritual and medicinal powers; that the creation of music was seen as the result of contact with the supernatural; that songs played a major role in recreational activities such as intra and inter-tribal games; and that distinctions were made between songs available to everyone and songs available only to particular groups of shamans or priests, or that were owned by clans, families, or individuals. Songs were transmitted through aural tradition and learned from hearing, but nevertheless maintained consistency. Depending on aesthetic and cultural values, some societies permitted individual singers to develop personal variants of songs, while others prohibited and punished mistakes and creative departures. With significant exceptions—and in contrast to South America—men played a quantitatively greater role in musical life than women. While varying enormously, the words of songs might consist of brief spiritual statements ("This grass, it is powerful"), accounts of visions ("Bird is here; it makes the sky yellow"), and the hopes of a team in a gambling game ("It is hidden in one of these"); they might also be extended complex poems narrating history and myth.

Each tribe had its own complement of instruments, but virtually all had various kinds of drums, rattles, and other percussion and many used flutes of various sorts and whistles. The vast preponderance of musical performance was, however, vocal.

Historical Native American music is stylistically unified and easily distinguished from other world traditions. In sound it is most like native South American music, and like that of tribal societies in northern and easternmost Asia, underscoring historical relationships. The early contact map of North American societies suggests a number of related but distinct musical areas that roughly parallel cultural areas. However, songs associated with children, children's games, adult gambling games, and love charms were stylistically identical throughout the continent.

The traditional songs of all tribes were typically short and repeated many times in performance, melodic without harmony, and accompanied by percussion. Music of different areas differed in structure (for example, aabbcc in some Great Basin tribes, aa bcd bcd in Plains music, call-and-response patterns in the Southeast, and so on); in preferred melodic contour (sharply descending in Plains music, undulating with an occasional ascent in Yuman cultures, very complex in Pueblo music); and most important, in the singing style and type of vocal sound preferred (high and harsh in the Northern Plains, nasal-sounding in some Apache and Navajo singing, deep and raspy in some Pueblo genres).

North American Indian musical culture has changed enormously since it was first recorded around 1890. Disappearance of tribes and cultures and their musics was balanced by the development of intertribal, continent-wide musical genres. Significant among these was the music of the Ghost Dance movement, derived from music of the Great Basin area, and from peyote songs, which are shared by many tribes that have members in the Native American Church.

The most vigorous musical development, dating from the mid-twentieth century and continuing into the twenty-first century, accompanies powwows and social events celebrating tribal or broadly Native identity and culture and consists largely of singing and dancing. Adopted (by 1970) by virtually all American Indian peoples, the dance costume and song styles of powwows are derived from historical Plains practices. Featuring singing groups of from six to eight men (and, since about 1980, also women) sitting around a drum (the groups therefore called Drums), powwows often permit participation by non-Natives and may have the function of introducing Native American culture to non-Indians.

Native American musicians made distinctive contributions to mainstream American forms of music in the late twentieth century. Popular singers of the 1960s and 1970s such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jim Pepper, and Peter LaFarge sang about oppression and other subjects of currency, with music referring to Indian styles and instruments. In the 1980s and 1990s, rock groups such as Xit and Ulali fashioned distinctive sounds combining European and Indian elements. A number of musicians, prominently the Navajo-Ute artist Carlos Nakai, have developed Native-oriented flute music. In the world of classical music, Louis Ballard is most prominent.


Frisbie, Charlotte J., ed. Southwestern Indian Ritual Drama. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1980.

Levine, Victoria. Writing American Indian Music: Historic Transcriptions, Notations, and Arrangements. Middleton, Wisc.: A-R Editions, 2002. An anthology, with detailed annotations, illustrating the way Indian songs were notated by scholars and musicians starting in the nineteenth century.

Merriam, Alan P. Ethnomusicology of the Flathead Indians. Chicago: Aldine, 1967. A landmark study providing information on music and its cultural context in one tribal society.

"Music of the American Indians/First Nations in the United States and Canada." In The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Volume 3: The United States and Canada, edited by Ellen Koskoff. New York: Garland, 2001. A reference book consisting of short essays by a number of authorities, for the nonspecialist.

Vander, Judith. Songprints: The Musical Experience of Five Shoshone Women. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.


See alsoDance, Indian ; Music: Popular ; andvol. 9:Land of the Spotted Eagle .


Popular music is embraced by the populace and includes almost all forms except classical and jazz, which are considered to be more elite. In America, the early white settlers had a low regard for music because of their religious beliefs, in contrast with the Native population, which used music for communication and ceremony. Among Native Americans there was neither "high" nor "low" music—music was simply a part of community life. Thus, popular music did not take root in the United States until the eighteenth century, primarily in the form of theatrical entertainments, including ballad operas drawn from European influences, and minstrel shows that were racist parodies of black life. Minstrels were generally white artists who darkened their faces with burnt cork.

In the nineteenth century, the most popular American songwriter was Stephen Foster, whose nostalgic songs "Beautiful Dreamer" and "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair" were staples in white American homes. During the Civil War, minstrelsy continued to be popular along with a new form of entertainment, vaudeville. By the end of the nineteenth century, the music that came from the New York City sheet music publishers located in "Tin Pan Alley" captured much popular attention. Among the crazes at the beginning of the twentieth century was rag-time, whose premier composer was Scott Joplin. Ragtime took its name from the practice of "ragging" tunes, or improvising them into lively, syncopated dance music.

In the meantime, former slaves were streaming into cities and developing new forms of their indigenous music, spirituals and blues. Until the twentieth century, this music was not generally published or written down, but rather passed on from person to person. Early blues were based on a variety of musical sources ranging from African to Middle Eastern and Spanish. There were both country blues, including delta blues, and urban blues, named after various cities including Chicago. While ragtime and the blues were primarily the forerunners of jazz, they also inspired rock and roll.

In 1879, Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore opened in America and began a long love affair with the musical theater. Show tunes were hummed and sung in homes and in the movies. Among the greatest show tune composers were George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and later, Stephen Sondheim.

By about 1930, phonographs and radios became widely available and popular music—as performed by professional musicians—became accessible to the masses, not just those who lived in big cities or could afford to buy tickets for performances in theaters and nightclubs. It was common for families to gather around the radio and listen to the swing music performed by big bands such as those led by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and sometimes even black musicians such as Duke Ellington. While the bands were mostly segregated, some race mixing occurred in solo performances since, after all, no one could see the performers on the radio. Bing Crosby and Perry Como were among the best-known singers to work with big bands.

Radio also enabled white audiences to listen to stations intended for black audiences. The black music, then called "race" music, was especially exciting to young white people who were enthralled by the edgy rawness of blues and rhythm and blues. By 1945, many white teenagers had become enamored of "jumpin' jive," played by such artists as Louis Jordan. As teens started to buy the records, the recording industry went into a tailspin. The industry's response to white interest in black music was twofold. In some instances, white artists made covers of black songs. For example, in 1956, singer Pat Boone recorded a sanitized version of Little Richard's 1955 rhythm-and-blues classic "Tutti Frutti," and Boone's version vastly outsold the original. In other instances, the white recording establishment decided to go head-to-head with the sexually open lyrics and staccato beat of black musicians. Thus, the hip-gyrating, southern-roots sound of Elvis Presley was born.

Before long, radio stations were playing racially mixed music, which caused outrage in some white circles, and was vehemently denounced in white newspapers and from the pulpits. Nevertheless, Elvis Presley became an enormous star, British musicians including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones immersed themselves in rhythm and blues, and rock and roll became an unstoppable phenomenon.

Over the years, rock has become a catchall term for a wide range of popular music styles such as pop, country rock, doo-wop, surf music, folk rock, bubblegum music, jazz rock, psychedelic rock, funk, disco, glitter and glam rock, hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, new wave, and alternative and underground rock. Popular music styles played mostly by black musicians, such as soul, Motown, ska, reggae, hip hop, and rap music, are also considered rock.


Charlton, Katherine. Rock Music Styles: A History. Boston: Mc Graw Hill, 1998.

Ward, Geoffrey C. Jazz: A History of America's Music. New York: Knopf, 2000.

Londré, Felicia Hardison, and Daniel J. Watermeier. The History of North American Theater: The United States, Canada, and Mexico from Pre-Columbian Times to the Present. New York: Continuum, 1999.

Luther, Frank. Americans and Their Songs. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1942.

Rebekah PressonMosby

See alsoTin Pan Alley ; andvol. 9:Lyrics of Over There .

Theater and Film

Some of the richest strains of American music have emerged from stage and screen. Puritan culture and foreign influences retarded the development of a native stage musical tradition, but the late nineteenth century saw the emergence of genuinely American music theater from Reginald De Koven (Robin Hood, 1890), John Philip Sousa (El Capitan, 1896), George M. Cohan (Little Johnny Jones, 1904), and Victor Herbert (Naughty Marietta, 1910). In the niche between European operetta and theatrical burlesque emerged composers like Jerome Kern (Show Boat, 1927) and George Gershwin, both of whom drew upon black musical traditions, as in Kern's "Ol' Man River" and the whole of Gershwin's operatic Porgy and Bess (1935). Vincent Youmans (No, No, Nanette, 1923), Sigmund Romberg (The Desert Song, 1926), and Cole Porter (Anything Goes, 1934) furthered the popularity of original musical theater.

The "Broadway musical," integrating story, dance, and song, achieved supreme popularity and influence in the mid-twentieth-century collaborations of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, including Oklahoma! (1943), Carousel (1945), and South Pacific (1949). These works helped to inspire a golden age of musicals by the likes of Irving Berlin (Annie Get Your Gun, 1946), Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls, 1950), Frederick Loewe (My Fair Lady, 1956), Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, 1957), and Jule Style (Gypsy, 1959). Stephen Sondheim, lyricist for the last two shows, went on to a successful composing career of his own in increasingly ambitious works like A Little Night Music (1973) and Sweeney Todd (1979). By the end of the century, rising production costs, demand for theatrical spectacle, and the narrowing of the popular musical mainstream led to renewed foreign domination of Broadway (e.g., Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables), although native composers enjoyed striking successes with A Chorus Line (Marvin Hamlisch, 1975), Dreamgirls (Henry Krieger, 1981), and Rent (Jonathan Larson, 1996).

Many Broadway classics, including all of Rodgers and Hammerstein's key works, were adapted as Hollywood films to great domestic success, although film musicals did not export as well as other Hollywood product. There was also a thriving tradition of original screen musicals from the beginning of the sound era (42nd Street, Dames, Meet Me in St. Louis, Singin' in the Rain), although most of these films drew heavily upon the existing body of popular song. The Wizard of Oz (Harold Arlen, 1939) has become one of the best-loved of all American movies.

Moviemakers have always used music to heighten drama and set the scene. The "silent era" was never without sound. Sometimes a pianist would play along; at other times an orchestra played classical selections. Studios hired libraries of "mood" music for theaters. Occasionally, a major production such as D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) used specially composed music, played by teams of musicians traveling with the film.

The innovation of "talkies" in the late 1920s sealed the marriage of film and music. Studios employed full orchestras and hired eminent composers to create original scores. By 1940, film music had become a highly specialized compositional form. In the golden age of film music (c. 1935–1960), such composers as the immigrants Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Waxman, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Miklós Rózsa and the native-born Alfred Newman, Roy Webb, Bernard Herrmann, and later Alex North, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, and Jerry Goldsmith created compelling symphonic and jazz-based film scores.

The advent of rock and roll inspired a trend of incorporating pop songs into films, beginning with Richard Brooks's use of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" in Blackboard Jungle (1955). Elvis Presley's strong screen presence made hits of a mostly mediocre string of movie musicals from 1956 to 1972. The integration of popular songs by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel was central to the huge success of The Graduate (1967). The disco movement of the late 1970s spawned such film scores as the Bee Gees songs for Saturday Night Fever (1977). Director Spike Lee gave African American music greater prominence in Do the Right Thing (1989), which employed a radical rap and blues soundtrack.

America's characteristic musical eclecticism continued in the early 2000s. The symphonic tradition revived mightily in the hands of the enormously popular John Williams (Star Wars [1977], Schindler's List [1993]), who became a sort of unofficial American composer laureate. And the movie musical was revitalized by the influence of Music Television's video style in Moulin Rouge (2001).


Gänzl, Kurt. The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. 2d ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 2001.

Gänzl, Kurt, and Andrew Lamb. Gänzl's Book of the Musical Theatre. New York: Schirmer Books, 1989.

Palmer, Christopher. The Composer in Hollywood. London: Marion Boyars, 1990.

Prendergast, Roy M. Film Music, A Neglected Art. 2d ed. New York: Norton, 1992.

Romney, Jonathan, and Adrian Wooten, eds. Celluloid Jukebox: Popular Music and the Movies since the Fifties. London: BFI Press, 1995.


Graham RussellHodges

See alsoFilm ; Theater .

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MUSIC. Just as artists, poets, and men of letters looked to antiquity for direction in the mid-fifteenth century, the musically minded in early modern Europe also spoke of ancient powers lost to modern times.

The composer Johannes Tinctoris in 1474 yearned for the former potency in melody "by whose virtue gods, ancestral spirits, unclean demons, animals without reason, and things insensate were said to be moved!" Humanists read in Polybius that music could enrage, elevate, or enfeeble; in the Republic, Plato schooled his guardian class in modes that hardened and conditioned them for civic duty and emboldened the weak and effeminate; and Aristotle, in the Politics, distinguished the vulgar use of music in public entertainments from its proper use to educate. The generation of composers who came of age around 1500 was responding in part to new calls for the recovery of music's forgotten force in the civic and moral life of the community. At issue for humanists was how to sharpen and enhance the effects of the text. Renaissance composers employed novel techniques to do this, including a system of emphatic syllabic declamation called musique mesurée, promoted by the French humanist Jean-Antoine de Baïf (15321589). In his letters patent approving Baïf's academy, Charles IX praised its aim "of improving the morals of its citizens and promoting the welfare of the city." Composers found a more fertile path in fashioning melodic phrases to mirror the poetic line in length and emotional direction. Orlando di Lasso (15321594) used extreme chromaticism and elaborate polyphony in his twelve-motet cycle Prophetiae sibyllarum (c. 1555) to evoke the unnatural voices of ancient seers. "Polyphonic songs which you hear with a chromatic tenor," he wrote, "these are they, in which our twice-six sibyls once sang with fearless mouth the secrets of salvation."

The music from such composers as Pierre de La Rue (c. 14501518), Jacob Obrecht (c. 14501505), Heinrich Isaac (c. 14501517), and Josquin des Prez (c. 14401521) was self-consciously revolutionary, rejecting predecessors and forging a fresh style. They employed greater musical variety, added instruments to sacred songs to supplement what had been a cappella singing, and drew attention to emotional expression. Josquin was the boldest innovator of his time, moving away from plainsong and chant as his musical foundation to freely composed and self-generating phrases that he wove into interlocking parts. The composer of some 20 Masses, over 100 motets, and more than 75 secular works, Josquin achieved a pliancy and sumptuousness in his writing that stands in marked contrast to the more angular, Gothically inflected works that preceded him. Music in the Renaissance progressed from theory-laden books to concrete and practical applications. It also expanded into the vernacular and away from liturgical settings. Popular expressions were the French chanson and the Italian madrigal; varieties of the latter became the continuo song and cantata in the baroque age.

The Renaissance courts of northern Italy were centers of innovation and patronage. "Seek not to deprive our Courtier of music," Castiglione advised in The Book of the Courtier, "which not only soothes men's minds, but often tames wild beasts." Ercole I d'Este schooled his children in music, and Lorenzo de' Medici (14491492) sang. Competition among Renaissance princes for grandeur and power sparked bidding wars for professional talent and even cases of musical espionage. The rivalry was especially keen among Florence, Ferrara, Mantua, Urbino, Milan, and the Papal States. On the low end of the social scale were singers and poets on the peripheries of power: itinerant improvisatore, cantimbanchi, and ciarlatini moved from court to court to sing about King Arthur, Orlando, and Charlemagne. At the high end of the scale were highly sought after talents like Claudio Monteverdi (15671643), whose sixteen-year association with the Gonzaga family of Mantua produced three books of madrigals, the operas Orfeo and L'arianna, and numerous other works for festive and commemorative occasions. Musicians allegorized and elevated the might of their patrons with lavish works for weddings, feasts, private celebrations, dances, theatrical displays, and liturgical services. Music was also a prominent feature in state ceremonials: in Venice, the announcement of victory at sea over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571 came with a flourish of drums and trumpets; choirs in St. Mark's greeted a diplomatic delegation from Japan; and the annual marriage of Venice and the sea celebration on Ascension Day, when the doge announced his "true and perpetual domination" over the Adriatic, was consummated to music. Each artistic center proudly claimed priority in leading music out of its medieval darkness. The theorist and composer Gioseffo Zarlino (15171590) blamed the "ravages of time" and the "negligence of men" for bringing music to its degraded state and credited God for sending "one of the rarest intellects ever to have practiced music" to Venice, Adrian Willaert (c. 14901562). As maestro di capello at St. Mark's and composer of Masses, motets, madrigals, and chansons, Willaert pioneered the use of split choirs situated throughout the basilica for stereophonic effect, a technique taken up by Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 15531612) and, much later, Hector Berlioz (18031869).

The printing press speeded the pace and broadened the diffusion of musical innovation. Its appearance helped to shape a new profile of the composer around 1500, as music masters moved away from church administration and toward uniquely musical pursuits. The first music printed with movable type came from southern Germany in the 1470s. The first published volume for multiple voices and intended for large-scale distribution was Harmonice Musices Odhecaton A (1501), which came from the Venetian house of Ottaviano de' Petrucci; Petrucci later published volumes of single composers including Josquin, Pierre de La Rue, Obrecht, Agricola, and Isaac. The other major musical publishing centers were Rome, Milan, Ferrara, Florence, Naples, Antwerp, Nuremberg, and Augsburg. Publishers sought to establish a particular niche in the rapidly growing commercial market by affiliating themselves with a single composer, building more specialized lists in secular or sacred music, offering music across a range of levels and abilities, and providing simplified arrangements of well-known works for the amateur. The large firms sent scouts to Rome and other Italian cities to recruit young talent. Instruction books geared toward the nonaristocratic public fed a growing popular appetite for private music making, particularly in lute and keyboard works. By 1550, musical presses in Italy and the German states were publishing vocal part books by the tens of thousands. In England, by contrast, there were comparatively few works of music published in the sixteenth century, an early sign that English and Continental music were already on separate paths of development. A single published volume of polyphony from the first half of the sixteenth century anthologized the music of William Cornysh (c. 14651523), Robert Fayrfax (14641521), and John Taverner (c. 14951545).


The level of music making varied widely across early modern Europe, from the superb organists and choirmasters of cathedral towns to unlettered singers of rudimentary plainchant at parish churches. Most people experienced music through vernacular songs in the streets and inns. Towns employed municipal musicians for popular entertainment and to trumpet fanfares on special occasions. Folk songs encompassed a wide array of types, including narrative ballads, lovers' laments, parting songs, drinking songs, devotional songs, and saints' day songs. There were also more pointed songs, like this 1520 lyric urging the expulsion of Jews from the German city of Rothenburg:

Ein Reichstat an der Tauben legt, 
Ist Rottenburg genannt.

Da haben die Juden lange zeit,
Getreiben grossen Schand.

Mit Wucherei und schärfer List
Damit gar mancher Trümmer
Zu Grund verdorben ist.
(A city on the Tauber lies, 
Whose name is Rothenburg.
There, for many years, the Jews
Have spread their shame.
They saw waste and destruction
Through usury and other cunning tricks
In order to bring ruin.)

Vernacular songs furnished ready tunes for new texts, a practice that proved useful for religious instruction given the minuscule literacy rates. In France, the tune Quand j'ai pensé en vous, ma bien aimée ("When I think of you, my beloved") was kept but the words reworked to become Quand j'ai pensé en vous, Bible sacrée ("When I ponder you, O sacred Bible"). Such substitutions provided the vehicle and the message for the spread of the Reformation. Easy to memorize and quick to spread, Lutheran songs rapidly became a weapon more potent than the flood of anti-Catholic books and pamphlets. Hundreds of popular tunes, many of them originally Catholic, were rewritten with Lutheran texts. Posted at inns and passed by travelers from town to town, the songs were used to "sing down" priests as they spoke.

The uncertainty and dissent among Reformers about the proper use of music is testimony to the extent of innovation since 1500. In the minds of many Reformers, new musical styles revealed the dangers of the humanists' project. In The Genevan Psalter (1543), John Calvin warned of music's power to pervert the morals of its listeners and urged strict controls: "Just as wine is funneled into a barrel, so are venom and corruption distilled to the very depths of the heart by melody." The English Puritan Phillip Stubbes wrote in his Anatomie of Abuses (1583) that music "corrupteth good minds, maketh them womannish and inclined to all kinde of whordome and mischeef," while Erasmus censured the appearance of brass and stringed instruments in liturgical settings, which caused people "[to] flock to church as to a theater for aural delight." Calvin banned polyphony from services, though it was permitted in social gatherings; Huldrych Zwingli (14841531) banned all music in services. In England, Anglican reforms vastly simplified music in both style and text: statutes in Lincoln Cathedral specified that the choir was to sing no anthems to "our Lady or other Saints, but only to our Lord, and them not in Latin." Catholic reform undertaken by the Council of Trent went in the same direction, stopping just short of Calvin's move to ban all polyphony. The council censured music composed merely "to give empty pleasure to the ear" and urged composers to write in such a way as to make the words easily understood by all. Within fifteen years of his death, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 15251594) was hailed as having saved polyphony in the wake of the council's decrees by crafting an audition piece for the Vatican that convinced the authorities of its value through sheer beauty as well as its calculated propriety. The story is likely apocryphal, but it captures the tension between the direction of musical development and the liturgical needs of the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. It also highlights Palestrina's own solution, which was to craft a style less ornately contrapuntal than that of Lasso by alternating chordal sections and free movement among independent lines. Palestrina was one of the most prolific of all composers, writing some 104 Masses, 250 motets, 68 offertories, 65 hymns, 35 Magnificat settings, and various lamentations and litanies.

In contrast to the other major religious reformers, Martin Luther (14831546) embraced the widest possible variety of musical expression. He called music "the mistress and governess" of human emotion, deserving highest praise "next to the word of God," and yet more eloquent than the most powerful orator in its "infinite variety of forms and benefits." Luther's musical ecumenicism, which helped to inspire the popular musical education that spread throughout the Lutheran lands on every level of society, had lasting consequences for music in Germany. The highest expression of this encompassing vision came in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (16851750), whose 200 known sacred cantatas (about three-fifths of what he is thought to have composed) convey their texts with remarkable subtlety, variety, and precision. Here, as well as in his keyboard and orchestral works, Bach employed virtually every European style, high and low, sacred and profane, from the grand French overture to dances of the popular classes. Famously provincial in his aversion to travel, Bach nevertheless drew from all available printed sources to produce works of universal appeal and enduring mastery. Bach's six keyboard partitas, for example, transformed popular dance forms known throughout Europe into virtuoso solo pieces. These included the corrente, a zigzag, hop-stepped Italian dance; its more fluid French counterpart the courante; the noble German allemande, a grave dance involving couples in a line; and the Spanish saraband, a slow, dignified dance of great sweeping gestures. Living on the threshold of musical classicism, an aesthetic whose simplified style he steadfastly resisted, Bach was doggedly anti-progressive. From within this conservative world Bach also surveyed and on occasion borrowed from more recent styles of such contemporaries as Johann Adolf Hasse (16991783) and Carl Heinrich Graun (17031759). Like Dante before him, Bach brought the elements of a passing age together in magnificent synthesis. Bach resisted any notion that he possessed special powers of genius; composers were instead to be craftsmen. He said: "I have had to work hard; anyone who works just as hard will get just as far."


Throughout the seventeenth century, and owing to the wide availability of printed scores, amateur music making was increasingly viewed as a pastime for the great and small. One source was the Protestant tradition of hymn singing. The 1561 Sternhold and Hopkins edition of the Psalms in English included a brief introduction on the "Science of Music" that urged readers to sing in common worship and "privately by themselves or at home in their houses." There was much secular music, too. New wealth and a taste for luxury among the moneyed in late-sixteenth-century England supported a flourishing publishing industry, with some eighty collections of vocal music published from 1587 to 1630 intended primarily for the amateur market. The large number of dedications to gentry and noble patrons in England in lute and madrigal collections is one indication of their likely audience, but the presence of merchants and tradespeople among the dedicatees suggests that private performance was not limited to elites. Thomas Morley's Canzonets to Five and Six Voices (1597), a volume of five- and six-part madrigals with lute accompaniment, was dedicated to "Master Henrie Tapsfield, Citizen and Grocer of the Cittie of London," and Thomas Weelkes's Balletts and Madrigals (1598) was dedicated to Edward Darcye, a groom in the royal household. Such examples notwithstanding, private music making throughout Europe was largely a pursuit of those with the time and money to devote to refining their skills and acquiring the music and instruments. The lute was the aristocratic instrument par excellence in much the same way the piano became a fixture in nineteenth-century middle-class interiors. There are glimpses of social mixing in private performance even at the highest levels. Roger North (16531734), gentleman and brother to Baron Francis North, who was keeper of the Great Seal of England, described musical evenings of his childhood involving solo and ensemble performances by his sisters, the servants, the steward, and the clerk of the kitchen.

In England, public concerts were first offered in private houses, taverns, and other meeting halls. Old forms of patronage persisted into the eighteenth centuryand in some places on a scale greater than everbut the new public concerts fundamentally recast the relationship between composer and audience by granting immediate access to large numbers and creating a venue for the rise of popular individual performers. The first truly public musical recital in England, and probably in Europe, occurred in 1672 when the composer and violinist John Banister opened his home for regular 4:00 P.M. performances given, as the London Gazette promised, "by excellent masters." Other series soon followed, with their success a part of the overall exuberance in public entertainments associated with the Restoration. Cromwell's destruction of organ pipes with battle-axes at Chichester, Worcester, Norwich, Peterborough, Canterbury, and Winchester was only the most dramatic example of the socalled purification of music during the Protectorate. The appearance of public concerts also marked a shift from church-sponsored to more secular music, much of it tied to the court. Entrepreneurs such as Banister and Robert King, who obtained a license to offer concerts in 1689, also oversaw performances within the royal household.

This was the context for one of England's most versatile and gifted composers, Henry Purcell (c. 16591695), who was appointed composer-in-ordinary for the king's violins in 1677, just four years after his voice changed. Principal organist at Westminster Abbey from a young age and later at the Chapel Royal, Purcell also wrote for the stage. His output included anthems, overtures, "semioperas," entr'actes, dances, instrumental works for harpsichord, organ, and viol consort, and royal birthday odes and welcome songs. He was also famous for his catches, a popular form that in England displaced the madrigal and which, especially in Purcell's hands, delighted in randy lyrics. His catch on the plot of Titus Oates includes a characteristic mix of politics, religion, and sport:

Now England's great council's assembled 
To make laws for English-born freemen.
Since 'tis dang'rous to prate of matters of state
Let's handle our wine and our women.
Let's drink to the Senate's best thoughts 
For the good of the King and the nation.
May they dig on the spot as deep as the plot
As the Jesuits have laid the foundation.
A plague of all zealots and fools, 
And each silly Protestant hater;
Better turn cat-in-pan and live like a man
Than be hanged and die like a traitor.

As court composer and keeper of the king's instruments, Purcell wrote music for state occasionsincluding five welcome songs for Charles II, three for James II, and six birthday odes for Queen Marybut neither he nor his contemporaries undertook the kinds of lavish productions deifying the monarchy that composers in absolutist France were perfecting at the time. There is a discreet reference to William and Mary in the prologue to Purcell's best-known work, Dido and Aeneas (1689), an opera staged at the Josiah Priest Boarding School in Chelsea just after the Glorious Revolution. A Nereid announces the appearance of a "new divinity," to which the chorus responds: "To Phoebus and Venus our homage we'll pay, / Her charms bless the night, as his beams bless the day."

In eighteenth-century France, private concerts in aristocratic salons were an important feature of upper-class sociability, though, as Mozart related to his father, the attention of the listeners was not always fixed on the musicians. "What vexed me most of all," he wrote of a performance for the duchesse de Chabot's circle, "was that Madame and all her gentlemen never interrupted their drawing for a moment, but went on intently, so that I had to play to the chairs, tables, and walls." The first public concerts in France began in 1725 with the Concert Spirituel, a regular series of sacred music held in the Tuileries Palace. Among favored works, performed by an orchestra of forty players and a chorus of fifty-three singers, were motets by André Campra (16601744), Michel-Richard de Lalande (16571726), and Jean-Joseph de Mondonville (17111772) and chamber works by Guiseppe Tartini (16921770) and Antonio Vivaldi (16781741). Given the high ticket prices, concert audiences were necessarily the moneyed, and the atmosphere was uniquely aristocratic. There were other semipublic concerts in France later in the century, most notably those sponsored by the celebrated musical patron Alexandre-Jean-Joseph Le Riche de La Popelinière, a wealthy tax farmer who invited the likes of Jean-Philippe Rameau (16831764) and Johann Stamitz (17171757) to conduct their own music with an orchestra whose members lived on the premises. Late in the century, subscription concerts, one of them sponsored by the Freemasons, attracted a broader public with programs that regularly featured the symphonies of Franz Joseph Haydn (17321809).

Until the second quarter of the nineteenth century, music making in Paris was dominated by the Opéra, whose state monopoly on virtually all staged productions dated from its 1669 establishment as the Académie Royale de Musique. France's most celebrated composer in the epoch of Louis XIV was Jean-Baptiste Lully (16321687), whose operas came to define the French style of the grand siècle with their characteristic mix of stately pomp, dazzling effects, and refined graciousness. Lully reworked and enlarged the elements of Italian courtly spectacles in the Renaissance to produce a musical formula that shaped the monarchy's public image, depicting and occasionally casting Louis XIV in productions that were transparent homages to the state in the dress of Olympians. "The Peace which Your Majesty has given as generously to his conquered enemies," Lully wrote of his work Le temple de la paix (1685), "is the subject of this ballet." While French operatic audiences retained their aristocratic complexion in the decades before the French Revolution, such royal allegories receded before the ambitious musical innovations of Rameau, whose dense textures and bold orchestral effects shocked some listeners, and the reforms of Christoph Willibald von Gluck (17141787), who simplified plotlines and concentrated musical expression to heighten the dramatic intensity of his operas.


The relationship of Haydn and Mozart to their publics, which grew in many ways from their differing professional status as composers, shaped the nature and style of their works. Haydn was among the last of the great classical composers to live on the premises of his patron; over a thirty-year period beginning when he was twenty-nine, Haydn existed as a virtual ward of Prince Paul Anton Esterházy. He was required by contract to dress in uniform at all times and to provide music whenever requested; he was regularly denied visits to Vienna and forbidden to copy his music or compose for others without the prince's permission. Nevertheless, pirated editions of his symphonies flooded Europe, possibly with his clandestine assistance. The isolation and routine of Esterháza castle proved extraordinarily fertile for the composer, whose prodigious output revealed the expressive range of the classical form. Deft, witty, harmonically rich, and endlessly inventive, Haydn's string quartets are the essence of eighteenth-century grace and refinement. "A certain kind of humor takes possession of you, and cannot be restrained," Haydn remarked to a visitor. Haydn typically led over 100 concerts a year that featured newly composed orchestral, chamber, vocal, and keyboard repertoire. His oeuvre includes 107 symphonies, over 60 string quartets, 58 keyboard sonatas, 42 keyboard trios, and 24 operas.

Mozart, by contrast, was the first major composer to flourish without a permanent position or sustained patronage. His famous indignation over his treatment by his employer, Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg ("When I see that someone despises me and treats me with contempt, I can be as proud as a peacock"), was a mark of his temperament, but it was also an indication of the changed relationship between the artist and his public. It was possible for Mozart to leave his position as Konzertmeister only because of new public opportunities in the Vienna of Emperor Joseph II (ruled 17651790). Vienna was home to two flourishing opera companies, the Italian-language Hofoper and the German Singspiel, both of which mounted his productions. Mozart also taught privately, encouraged commissions, and wrote numerous works, for his own performances and those of his students, with particular audiences in mind. His letters are explicit and even gleeful about his opportunities as a free agent. In a 1778 letter to his father he wrote: "I pray to God daily to give me grace to hold out with fortitude and to do such honor to myself and to the whole German nation as will redound to His greater honor and glory; and that He will enable me to prosper and make a great deal of money."

The rise in public musical performance encouraged the explosion of new forms in the eighteenth century. Audiences in rapture over virtuoso performers fueled the composition of solo instrumental and vocal works. The fireworks of Mozart's Queen of the Night aria in Die Zauberflöte were an exuberant and gloriously exaggerated version of what attracted many to opera in the late 1700s, a lesson not lost on Rossini and the nineteenth-century school of bel canto. The eighteenth century witnessed the appearance of keyboard sonatas and solo concertos in unprecedented numbers, as well as the birth of the symphonie concertante, a concertolike genre involving multiple soloists and orchestral accompaniment. The development of the string quartet from the 1760s is among the century's most important musical achievements, with the quartets of Haydn and Mozart the best known among a field of composers that included the Chevalier de Saint-Georges (c. 17391799) and François Joseph Gossec (17341829) in Paris, Carl Friedrich Abel (17231787) in London, and the Italian Luigi Boccherini (17431805). Between 1760 and 1780 over five hundred quartets were printed in Paris alone. At the same time, the modern symphony found immense approval in public settings, with some twelve thousand composed in Europe from 1720 to 1810. Its centers were Vienna, Mannheim, Paris, and London.

In many ways, the musical public in European capitals on the eve of the French Revolution resembled modern audiences. Its tastes increasingly drove programming decisions and influenced compositional styles. The public could select from among competing theaters and concert halls. It was the key ingredient in an increasingly commercialized art. The French Revolution and its effects across Europe hastened these tendencies and introduced others that changed the nature of public performance by ending state theater monopolies and reducing aristocratic and church patronage. The new taste for "ancient music"works generally over twenty years oldformed an emerging canon of classics to be performed, preserved, and repeated in everlarger concert halls and opera houses.

See also Bach Family ; Buxtehude, Dieterich ; Calvin, John ; Gluck, Christoph Willibald von ; Haydn, Franz Joseph ; Hymns ; Louis XIV (France) ; Lully, Jean-Baptiste ; Luther, Martin ; Monteverdi, Claudio ; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus ; Music Criticism ; Opera ; Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da ; Printing and Publishing ; Purcell, Henry ; Rameau, Jean-Philippe ; Reformation, Protestant ; Songs, Popular .


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Butt, John. Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1994.

Butt, John, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Bach. New York, 1997.

Caldwell, John. The Oxford History of English Music. Oxford, 19911999.

Carter, Tim. Music in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Italy. Portland, Ore., 1992.

Downs, Philip G. Classical Music: The Era of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. New York, 1992.

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Isherwood, Robert M. Farce and Fantasy: Popular Entertainment in Eighteenth-Century Paris. New York, 1986.

Johnson, James H. Listening in Paris: A Cultural History. Berkeley, 1995.

Kmetz, John, ed. Music in the German Renaissance: Sources, Styles, and Contexts. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1994.

Lockwood, Lewis. Music in Renaissance Ferrara, 14001505: The Creation of a Musical Center in the Fifteenth Century. Cambridge, Mass., 1984.

Lowinsky, Edward E. Music in the Culture of the Renaissance and Other Essays. Chicago, 1989.

MacClintock, Carol, ed. and trans. Readings in the History of Music in Performance. Bloomington, Ind., 1979.

Mackerness, Eric David. A Social History of English Music. London, 1964.

McVeigh, Simon. Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn. Cambridge, U.K., and New York, 1993.

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James Johnson

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Music (Paranormal)

Music (Paranormal)

Paranormal music ranges from inspired performances by mediums, to compositions dictated by "spirit musicians," to music that is heard without any apparent earthly source. This latter form of paranormal music is perhaps the most impressive.

During the seventeenth-century persecution of the Huguenots in France, music from invisible sources became a widespread phenomenon. The Pastoral Letter of Pierre Jurieu (1689) refers to dozens of instances. The sound of trumpets as if an army were going to battle, the singing of psalms, a choir of many voices, and an ensemble of musical instruments were heard day and night in many places.

After the church in Orthez was razed, there was hardly a house in the city in which people did not hear the music, ordinarily between eight and nine o'clock night. The Parliament of Pau and the Intendant of Bearn forbade citizens to go and hear these psalms under a penalty of 2,000-5,000 crowns. The scale of the phenomenon was too vast to be attributed to hallucination. It was experienced throughout the Cevennes. It was largely under the effect of this supernormal phenomenon that Cavalier, Roland, and Marion rose against Louis XIV.

According to Beriah G. Evans, in his account of the Welsh religious revival in the Daily News (February 9, 1905), "From all parts of the country come reports of mysterious music descending from above, and always in districts where the Revival fire burns brightly."

Several interesting cases in which music was heard around the deathbed are cited by Edmund Gurney, F. W. H. Myers and Frank Podmore in their classic study Phantasms of the Living (1886). For example, after the death of a Mr. L. (p. 446), three persons in the death chamber heard for several seconds three feminine voices singing softly, like the sounds of an Eolian harp. Eliza W. could distinguish the words: "The strife is o'er, the battle done." Mrs. L., who was also present, heard nothing.

Before a Mrs. Sewell's little girl died (vol. 2, p. 221) "sounds like the music of an Eolian harp" were heard from a cupboard in the room. "The sounds increased until the room was full of melody," the researchers narrate, "when it seemed slowly to pass down the stairs and ceased. The servant in the kitchen, two stories below, heard the sounds." The sounds were similarly heard for the next two days by several people, except the child, who was passionately fond of music. She died when the music was heard for the third time. Following the death of her 21-year-old daughter, a Mrs. Yates heard the sweetest spiritual music, "such as mortals never sang" (vol. 2, p. 223).

As reported in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (vol. 4, p. 181), music was heard around the sickbed of John Britton, a deafmute who was dangerously ill with rheumatic fever. His face was lit up, and when he had recovered sufficiently to use his hands he explained in sign language that he had heard "beautiful music."

Puritan divine John Bunyan related his observations of an elderly believer, saying that "when his soul departed from him the music seemed to withdraw, and to go further and further off from the house, and so it went until the sound was quite gone out of hearing."

The British Daily Chronicle reported on May 4, 1905, the case of a dying woman of the Salvation Army: "For three or four nights mysterious and sweet music was heard in her room at frequent intervals by relatives and friends, lasting on each occasion about a quarter of an hour. At times the music appeared to proceed from a distance, and then would gradually grow in strength while the young woman lay unconscious."

Of course, in some cases the experience appears to have been purely subjective. According to a story told by Count de la Resie in the Gazette de France of 1855, Urham's Chef d'oeuvre Audition was supernormally produced. In a narrow glade in the Bois de Boulogne, he heard a sound in the air. Urham saw a light without form and precision and heard an air with the accompaniment of an Eolian harp. He fell into a kind of ecstasy and distinctly heard a voice that said to him, "Dear Urham, write down what I have sung." He hurried home and wrote down the air with the greatest ease.

In the famous Versailles adventure of C. A. E. Moberley and E. J. Jourdain, two English women walking in the gardens of Versailles were apparently transported to the Trianon (a villa) of 1789, where they heard period music, which has since been transcribed.

Music through Mediums without Instruments

Whereas mediumistic manifestation of the production of music without instruments was rare, the apparent telekinetic playing of instruments was heard fairly frequently. The sitters of D. D. Home and William Stainton Moses were often delighted by music from an invisible source. Home relates, in Incidents In My Life (1863), the following story:

"On going to Boston my power returned, and with it the most impressive manifestation of music without any earthly instrument. At night, when I was asleep my room would be filled as it were with sounds of harmony, and these gradually grew louder till persons in other parts of the house could hear them distinctly; if by any chance I was awakened, the music would instantly cease."

In the second volume of his biography, Home recounts the following well-attested experience that occurred on Easter Eve 1866 in the home of S. C. Hall: "First we had simple, sweet, soft music for some minutes; then it became intensely sad; then the tramp, tramp as of a body of men marching mingled with the music, and I exclaimed 'The March to Calvary.' Then three times the tap-tapping sound of a hammer on a nail (like two metals meeting). A crash, and a burst of wailing which seemed to fill the room, followed; then there came a burst of glorious triumphal music, more grand than any of us had ever listened to, and we exclaimed 'The Resurrection.' It thrilled all our hearts."

Lord Adare, who published Experiences in Spiritualism with Mr. D. D. Home (1870), recorded many interesting accounts of the same phenomenon. "We had not been in bed more than three minutes," he writes of an experience in Norwood, London, "when both Home and myself simultaneously heard the music: it sounded like a harmonium; sometimes, as if played loudly at a great distance, at other times as if very gently, close by."

On another occasion, says Adare, "the music became louder and louder, until I distinctly heard the words: 'Hallelujah! Praise the Lord God Almighty!' It was no imagination on my part." The music was the same as at Norwood. The aerial musical sounds sometimes resembled drops of water, and according to Home they were produced by the same method as raps. Dr. James H. Gully, in whose house Home was a guest, writes: "Ears never listened to anything more sweet and solemn than these voices and instruments; we heard organ, harp and trumpet, also two voices" (Spiritualist, vol. 3, p. 124).

In the presence of Moses, "drum, harp, fairy bells, trumpet, lyre, tambourine, and flapping of wings" were heard (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 11, p. 54). No such instruments were in the room. They were also heard in the open. A Mrs. Speer reflects on the event (Light, January 28, 1893):

"September 19, before meeting this evening we heard the fairy bells playing in different parts of the garden, where we were walking; at times they sounded far off seemingly playing at the top of some high elm trees, music and stars mingling together, then they would approach nearer to us, evidently following us into the séance room which opened on to the lawn. After we were seated the music still lingered with us, playing in the corner of the room and over the table, round which we were seated. They played scales and chords by request, with the greatest rapidity and copied notes Dr. Speer made with his voice. After Moses was in trance the music became louder and sounded like brilliant playing on the piano! There was no instrument in the room."

There were similar observations before Home and Moses; in the case of Mary Jobson a psychic invasion took place during a spell of mysterious illness.

Taps "as on a bell so pure as to bear no vibration, in the most exquisite tones, quite beyond description" were produced by "Walter" in the "Margery" séances (see Mina Crandon ) without any visible instrument. Notes were struck on a "psychic piano"; the English call to arms was rendered on a "psychic bugle," sounding at a distance and in an open space; the British reveille was played; an invisible mouth organ and the striking of a "celestial clock," different from any clock known to be in the house or in the neighborhood, were heard (J. Malcolm Bird, "Margery" the Medium, 1925).

Music Telekinetically Produced

According to E. W. Capron in Modern Spiritualism: Its Facts and Fanaticisms (1885): "Mrs. [Sarah] Tamlin was, so far as I have been able to learn, the first medium through whom the guitar or other musical instrument was played, without visible contact, so as to give recognisable tunes. In her presence it was played with all the exactness of an experienced musician, although she is not acquainted with music, or herself able to play on any instrument. The tones varied from loud and vigorous to the most refined touches of the strings that could be imagined."

The playing of a locked piano in a séance with James Sangster is reported in the Age of Progress (March 1857).

In the presence of Annie Lord and Jennie Lord of Maine both unable to play any instrumenta double bass violincello, guitar, drums, accordion, tambourine, bells, and various small instruments were played "with the most astonishing skill and power," writes Emma Hardinge Britten in Modern American Spiritualism (1870). The instruments were played "sometimes singly, at others all together, and not infrequently the strange concert would conclude by placing the young medium, seated in her invalid chair, silently and in a single instant in the centre of the table, piling up all the instruments around her." Britten writes.

In D. D. Home's mediumship, musical feats of telekinesis were particularly well attested. Sir William Crookes witnessed it under fraud-proof conditions. The quality of the music was mostly fine. William Howitt had an experience to the contrary. He is quoted in a letter in D. D. Home's Incidents In My Life (1863): "A few evenings afterwards, a lady desiring that the 'Last Rose of Summer' might be played by a spirit on the accordion, the wish was complied with, but in so wretched a style that the company begged that it might be discontinued. This was done, but soon after, evidently by another spirit, the accordion was carried and suspended over the lady's head, and there, without any visible support or action on the instrument, the air was played through most admirably, in the view and hearing of all."

Lord Adare noted a peculiarity:

"The last few notes were drawn out so fine as to be scarcely audiblethe last note dying away so gradually that I could not tell when it ceased. I do not think it possible for any human hand to produce a note in that way."

Robert Bell gives the following account in the Cornhill Magazine (August 1860), under the title "Stranger than Fiction":

"The air was wild and full of strange transitions, with a wail of the most pathetic sweetness running through it. The execution was no less remarkable, for its delicacy than its powers. When the notes swelled in some of the bold passages, the sound rolled through the room with an astounding reverberation; then gently subsiding, sank into a strain of divine tenderness."

The experience was the same when Bell held the accordion in his own hand, with full light upon it; during the loud and vehement passages it became so difficult to hold that he had to grasp the top with both hands, he said.

In a letter to the Morning Star (October 1860), a Dr. Gully stated, "I have heard Blagrove repeated; but it is no libel on that master of the instrument to say that he never did produce such exquisite distant and echo notes as those which delighted our ears."

Alfred Russel Wallace writes in his book My Life (1902) of his first séance in the company of Crookes and Home:

"As I was the only one of the company who had not witnessed any of the remarkable phenomena that occurred in his presence, I was invited to go under the table while an accordion was playing, held in Home's hand, his other hand being on the table. The room was well lighted and I distinctly saw Home's hand holding the instrument which moved up and down and played a tune without any visible cause. He then said 'Now I will take away my hand,' which he did; but the instrument went on playing, and I saw a detached hand holding it while Home's two hands were seen above the table by all present."

There were other mediums who apparently performed similar feats of telekinetic music, Henry Slade and the Reverend F. W. Monck among them. Of Eusapia Palladino Hereward Carrington gives the following account, in The Story of Psychic Science (1930):

"One of the most remarkable manifestations, however, was the playing of the mandolin, on at least two occasions. The instrument sounded in the cabinet first of alldistinct twangings of the strings being heard, in response to pickings of Eusapia's fingers on the hand of one of her controllers. The mandolin then floated out of the cabinet, on to the séance table, where, in full view of all, nothing touching it, it continued to play for nearly a minute first one string and then another being played upon. Eusapia was at the time in deep trance, and was found to be cataleptic a few moments later. Her hands were gripping the hands of her controllers so tightly that each finger had to be opened in turn, by the aid of passes and suggestion."

H. Dennis Bradley writes in And After (1931): "I have had instruments of an orchestra placed in the centre of my own study, with luminous paint covering them so that every movement could be seen instantly, and these instruments have been played by unseen forces in perfect harmony. Whilst operatic selections were being played upon the gramophone, they have been supernormally conducted with a luminous baton in a majestic manner."

Musicians Who Were Mediums

There were also musical mediums who achieved fame, even though they were often without musical training or were unable to play in a conscious state. Among these, Jesse F. G. Shepard was the most astonishing.

Well-known classical composers were said to play through George Aubert, a nonprofessional medium who was investigated at the Institut Genéral Psychologique in Paris.

At the International Psychical Congress in 1900, Charles Richet introduced Pepito Ariola, a three-and-a-half-year-old Spanish child who played classical pieces.

Blind Tom, a child living in south Georgia described as otherwise intellectually deficient, played the piano impressively with both hands, using the black and the white keys, when four years old. At age five he composed his "Rainstorm" and said it was what the rain, wind, and thunder had said to him. He could play two tunes on the piano at the same time, one with each hand, while he sang a song in a different tempo. Each tune was set to a different key as dictated by the audience.

In 1903 the famous palmist "Cheiro" (Count Louis Hamon ) introduced to London a M. de Boyon, a French musical medium to whose extraordinary gift Victorien Sardou, actress Sarah Bernhardt and other musicians of the day testified. M. de Boyon had no memory of what he played. He employed a unique fingering, and he could not play the same piece twice.

The most remarkable musical medium of the late twentieth century has been Rosemary Brown, a British housewife who performs musical compositions on the piano, claimed to originate from such great composers as Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, and Chopin. Brown has no musical training, but these psychic compositions have been endorsed by established musicians.

Paranormal Aspects of Music

Because of its powerful influence directly on emotions, music often achieves remarkable effects on humans and even on animals. Music therapy is now a recognized treatment for mentally handicapped children.

Ancient legends tell of the paranormal effects of music. Orpheus of ancient Greece charmed wild animals and even trees by his music, and the modal system of the Greeks was said to influence the social and emotional attitudes of listeners. Naik Gopal, a musician of ancient India, was said to have caused flames to burst forth by his performance of Dipak Raga (associated with heat), even when the musician stood in water.

The musical system of India has always emphasized the powerful effects of musical vibration. Different ragas (scale patterns) are regarded as specific for certain times of the day or seasons of the year, and their microtonal intervals and grace notes involve vibrations that are unknown to the well-tempered scale of Western nations. Ragas, properly performed, are said to evoke beautiful forms or have paranormal effects.

In Hinduism, the first manifestation of creation was said to be that of subtle sound vibration, giving rise to the forms of the material world. Each sound produced a form, and combinations of sound created complicated shapes. This is also the basis of mantra yoga. The creative power of sound is also echoed in the Christian Scripture: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).

Through this century attempts have been made to explore the legendary traditions from scientific perspectives. The great Indian scientist Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose devised sensitive apparatus to demonstrate subtle plant reactions, many of which resembled nervous responses in animal or human life. Prof. T. C. N. Singh and Stells Ponniah of Annamalai University in India carried out experiments to measure the growth in plants as a result of musical sounds (see Plants, Psychic Aspects of ). Western scientists have demonstrated that ultrasonic sounds can destroy bacteria, guide ships in the dark, and weld together materials.

In recent years, the Hindu musician Swami Nadabrahmananda Saraswati has demonstrated an ancient yoga of music, involving the arousal of kundalini energy through the psychic power of musical vibrations. In a Western context, psychic effects from music were claimed by the singing teacher Alfred Wolfsohn.

In contrast, some have suggested that the aggressiveness and violence of much of modern popular rock music seems to have had a negative and sinister influence on a younger generation, recalling the fears of the ancient Greeks that certain musical modes would have a harmful social effect.


Brown, Rosemary. Immortals at My Elbow. London: Bachman & Turner, 1974. Reprinted as Immortals by My Side.

Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1975.Crookes, William. Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. London: J. Burns, 1974.

Danielou, Alain. The Ragas of Northern Indian Music. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1968.

Gurney, Edmund. The Power of Sound. London: Smith, Elder, 1880. Reprint, New York: Basic Books, 1966.

Parrott, Ian. The Music of "An Adventure." London: Regency Press, 1966.

Podolsky, Edward. Music Therapy. New York: Philosophical Library, 1954.

Rogo, D. Scott. Nad: A Study of Some Unusual "Other-World" Experiences. 2 vols. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1970-72.

Scott, Cyril. Music: Its Secret Influence Throughout the Ages. 6th ed. London: Rider, 1956.

Sivananda, Swami. Music as Yoga. Sivananda Nagar, India: Yoga-Vedanta Forest University, 1956.

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The study of music from a modern social scientific perspective has a distinguished history, reaching back to Jean-Jacques Rousseaus 1781 Essay on the Origin of Language (1998). Major advances include the development of comparative musicology by nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century scholars such as Erich von Hornbostel, Alexander Ellis, Carl Stumpf, and Curt Sachs; Max Webers path-breaking work on musical rationalization during the emergence of European capitalism in The Rational and Social Foundations of Music (1921); the close attention paid to music (both classical and popular) and to the mass mediation of music by Theodor Adorno and other associates of the Frankfurt School of critical theory; and the development of ethnographic musical anthropology (often wrongly subsumed under the history of ethnomusicology in contemporary intellectual histories) by George Herzog, Melville Herskovits, David McAllester, John Blacking, Alan Merriam, and Steven Feld from the mid-twentieth century onward. Sociological approaches to music have proliferated in many national traditions in the twentieth century, and include such distinctive disciplines as ethnomusicology, ethnographic musical anthropology, the sociology of music, folkloristics, the psychology of music, popular cultural studies, and so-called new (historical) musicology; even the discipline of music theory has begun to grapple with cultural and social perspectives on sound structure and musical meaning. And music has become an important focus for cultural analysis in disciplines such as comparative literature, working-class studies, sociology, media studies, performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, race and ethnic studies, and many area studies traditions.

Given the heterogeneity of these approaches and disciplines, it is challenging to summarize a paradigmatic contemporary view of music as suchthat is, as an object of specifically sociological inquiry. Even limiting consideration to the approaches prevalent in the Euro-American academy in the early twenty-first century would require separate considerations of approaches from anthropology (see Feld and Fox 1994), ethnomusicology (see Ellingson 1992), popular cultural studies, historical musicology, and psychology. A survey of the broad claims and premises of these approaches, however, suggests important points of consensus.

Chief among these is that music is not only, or even primarily, a sonic phenomenon that can be considered apart from human social action. Most modern approaches to music as an object of social inquiry begin with the premise that the object of such inquiry must be what musicologist Christopher Small (1998) calls musicking that is, the active making of musical sound and interpretation by socially situated agents. Whether this active process is viewed as a behavioral or mental phenomenon, or as primarily mediated by language, the sociological study of music broadly rejects a central principle of elite Western musical aesthetics that long dominated the humanistic study of music. This principle asserts the autonomy of (specifically, art or classical) music from social life, and typically entails the hypostatization of the work of musical art, often represented by a written text (score) that describes a phenomenologically specific sonic musical structure, unrelated to the social organization of its creators lifeworlds, or the musics social context, and distinctive from any actual instantiation of the musical work in performance. In the traditionally humanistic music disciplines, as in the traditionally natural scientific ones, musical structure has been primarily explained in terms of principles of human neurobiology and cognition, or abstract mathematical models of formal systems, or histories of stylistic influence that are described as largely independent of social or cultural determinations, or in terms of particular individualistic (or conversely, aculturally universal) psychological characterizations of composers, performers, and listeners.

In contrast, the core premise of almost all sociomusical approaches is the claim that there must be determinate relationships between music as sound structure and the social structure of musical activity in particular, or more generally the social structure of the human communities in which particular idioms and genres of musicking take place. The anthropologist John Blacking famously and influentially described this relationship as one between humanly organized sound and soundly organized humanity ([1974] 1995), while anthropologist Alan Merriam offered a succinct and widely cited model for the sociological study of music as the mediation of concept, behavior, and sound, with all three abstractions rooted in a cultural context of community-specific functional values (1964). Merriam described the aims of musical anthropology as the study of music in its cultural context, which he later revised to become the study of music as cultural context (1964, 1977). Alan Lomax developed a systematic approach to the study of formal patterns of relationship between folk music song structure (broken down into codified descriptions of performance techniques and aesthetic ideals) and social structure (defined as a bundle of functional traits characteristic of particular forms of social organization, such as egalitarian or hierarchical political structures) (1962).

Interpretive and phenomenological traditions of theorizing culture reshaped Euro-American sociomusical scholarship in the 1970s and 1980s, influenced by developments in cultural Marxism and popular cultural studies, interpretive anthropology, semiotics, folkloristics, and linguistic anthropology. Most contemporary sociomusical scholars tend to describe principled relationships between abstracted sonic and social structures in terms of mediation rather than in terms of correspondence, homology, or determination. Steven Feld (1984a, 1984b, 1988) and Thomas Turino (2001), among others, have stressed the complexity of this mediation, applying semiotic and communication theory to characterize the principled relationships that might obtain between sonic and social structures.

But despite this diversity of approaches, the key problem in sociomusical scholarship has been, and remains, the question of musics social essence: How does musical practice, understood as comprising sonic, conceptual, and behavioral dimensions, either reflect, determine, or mediate social life? What kind of analytic purchase does music provide on sociality or culture that is not provided by analyzing language or other modalities of human practice and communication? And how might the social functions, meanings, and values enacted in specific forms of musical practice be understood as providing the basis for a general social theory that would explain why it is a fact that all humans make music? These are ultimately comparative questions that presume a universal basis for a diverse range of human practices, the boundaries of which remain poorly understood or even described, especially when compared with the massive advances in addressing these same questions for language in linguistic theory.

Several major empirical and methodological foci have been central to the efforts of ethnomusicologists, musical anthropologists, and other sociomusical scholars to address such questions systematically. Among these foci, the most important have been the mutual embeddedness of music and language in song (see Feld and Fox 1994); the inextricable association between music and emotional or affective dimensions of culture; and the nexus of music and ritual (also generally understood to include dance, poetic language, and other forms of the patterned communicative embodiment of social experience and ideology). A final major focus that has emerged as central in recent years is a questioning of the adequacy of conceptual distinctions between folk, art, and popular musics, with the last category grounding an increasingly forceful critique of the investment of Western musical disciplines in an ideologically narrow conception of musical meaning and value. Beyond that, the turn to popular music as not only a legitimate object of sociomusical inquiry, but as perhaps the most important musical expression of modern societies has reshaped contemporary sociomusical thought profoundly.

Many contemporary sociomusical scholars challenge the longstanding ideological and analytic delimitation of folk musics as functional and communal and fundamentally face-to-face and oral forms of expression detached from the political and economic logics of capitalist modernity, a delimitation bound up in the nationalist projects of nineteenth-century folkloristics (an important ancestor of contemporary ethnomusicology, which remains very much concerned with questions of culture as a symbol of political identity, rather than culture in the anthropological sense of a way of life or system of values). Increasingly, many sociomusical scholars also challenge the delimitation of art musicsand their partial exemption from sociomusical studyas autonomous and individualistic idioms unrelated to the functions of folk and popular musics. Many contemporary sociomusical scholars, including an increasing number of musicologists concerned primarily with interpreting the Western art musical canon, as well as ethnomusicologists and anthropologists who write about non-Western art musical traditions such as Hindustani music (Neuman 1990), increasingly describe art musics not in terms of their transcendence of mere social function or cultural symbolism, but in terms of specific systems of elite patronage and labor organization that arise when wealthy and cosmopolitan classes and societies are able to support music as a specialized form of economic activity and leisure practice, and thus to support the making of music as a profession. Such a characterization, which eschews the idea that art musics are distinguished from other musics by their degree of autonomy from social life, makes the distinction between art musics and popular musics largely one of degree, because popular musics are generally understood primarily as products of a commercial process of mass mediation and economic exchange in the service of such non-aesthetic social functions as symbolizing ethnic, generational, and nationalistic political identities, earning a profit (the industrial apparatus of popular music production has been extensively studied since by sociologists in recent years), and providing a pleasurable leisure experience.

Conversely, many sociomusical scholars have been concerned to show the high levels of artistry and individual expressive genius characteristic of folk and popular musics, increasingly with the aid of music theorists now attempting to describe the particular dimensions of complexity and aesthetic significance in popular musics, which are often refractory to theoretical models designed to elucidate the structural complexity of (especially Western) art musics. But the overwhelming thrust of contemporary sociomusical scholarship has been to breach the wall separating the study of music as an elite art and the study of music as a fundamental human activity, which in modern societies has come to mean an activity imbricated with commerce and modern social functions.

Recent developments in sociomusical scholarship, heavily influenced by popular music studies, have advanced the enormous significance of modern musical and communications technologies for a vast range of contemporary musical practices, focusing on the diverse ways technological mediation shapes and is shaped by commercial, aesthetic, political, and cultural imperatives. Ethnomusicology in particular has focused on the emergent category of world music and, in turn, the central modern social scientific subject of cultural, economic, and political globalization, a focus that brings together perspectives on art, folk, and popular musics under the umbrella of a broader theory of cultural modernity and the global circulation of musical commodities and styles (see Stokes 2004). This turn has engendered a strong critique of the ideological history of established sociomusical concepts (as much as musicological ones), such as the premise of a universal human musicality or the premise of an authentic or unmediated mode of human musical experience that is not determined by particular social histories and cultural systems.

Inarguably, the sociological study of music, despite a long history of systematic work, is still in its theoretical infancy, and remains a less widely institutionalized tradition of thought than parallel humanistic and natural scientific traditions. However, the influence of sociomusical theory on those traditions has grown substantially since the mid-twentieth century, and increasingly it has become fundamental to contemporary interdisciplinary musical thought, in the process sharply revising many deeply entrenched ideologies of musical value and assumptions about musics essential sociality.

SEE ALSO Bluegrass; Blues; Calypso; Classical Music; Distinctions, Social and Cultural; Ethnology and Folklore; Ethnomusicology; Hip Hop; Jazz; Music, Psychology of; Popular Culture; Popular Music; Reggae; Rock n Roll; Rousseau, Jean-Jacques; World Music


Blacking, John. [1974] 1995. How Musical Is Man? Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Ellingson, Ter. 1992. Transcription. In Ethnomusicology: An Introduction, ed. Helen Myers, 110152. New York: W. W. Norton.

Feld, Steven. 1984a. Sound Structure as Social Structure. Ethnomusicology 28 (3): 383409.

Feld, Steven. 1984b. Communication, Music, and Speech about Music. Yearbook for Traditional Music 16: 118.

Feld, Steven. 1988. Aesthetics as Iconicity of Style, or Lift-up-over Sounding: Getting into the Kaluli Groove. Yearbook for Traditional Music 20: 74113.

Feld, Steven, and Aaron Fox. 1994. Music and Language. Annual Review of Anthropology 23: 2553.

Lomax, Alan. 1962. Song Structure and Social Structure. Ethnology 1 (4): 425451.

Merriam, Alan P. 1964. The Anthropology of Music. Evanston: University of Illinois Press.

Merriam, Alan P. 1977. Definitions of Comparative Musicology and Ethnomusicology: An Historical-Theoretical Perspective. Ethnomusicology 21 (2): 189204.

Neuman, Daniel M. [1980] 1990. The Life of Music in North India: The Organization of an Artistic Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. [1781] 1998. Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music, ed. and trans. John T. Scott. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College and University Press of New England.

Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Stokes, Martin. 2004. Music and the Global Order. Annual Review of Anthropology 33: 4772.

Turino, Thomas. 2001. Signs of Imagination, Identity, and Experience: A Peircian Semiotic Theory for Music. Ethnomusicology 43 (2): 221255.

Weber, Max. [1921] 1958. The Rational and Social Foundations of Music, ed. and trans. Don Martindale, Johannes Riedel, and Gertrude Neuwirth. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Aaron A. Fox

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musicians in the middle east have, over the centuries, produced a great classical tradition in a variety of regional forms.

Historically, Middle Eastern music has been predominantly melodic, drawing from a complicated system of modes called maqam in Arabic, makam in Turkish, and mugam in Azerbaijani. The melodic system of Iran is based on dastgaha, similar in principle if not in practice. These systems and their repertoires frequently have written historiesmusic theories that date back to the time of al-Farabi and earlier.

Sung poetry is fundamental to the musical art of the region. The elegant or clever text and the performance that highlights the affective phrase or the play on words often are highly valued by listeners.

Instrument types include long- and short-neck lutes, plucked and hammered dulcimers, end-blown reed flutes, hourglass drums, frame drums, and several sizes of double-reed wind instruments often played in concert with large field drums. These instruments have different names, shapes, and playing styles.

Overarching genres of performance occur throughout the region, often consisting of suites of instrumental and vocal music, both improvised and formally composed. They occur in devotional rituals, dance, neoclassical performance, and performances by folk musicians. Despite the disparate sounds, contexts, and audiences, these performances are often linked by listeners with their Arabic musical-poetic heritage (turath), which encompasses a broad range of religious, classical, and folk musics. Typologies common in the West that separate the religious and the secular, or the classical, the folk, and the popular, do not always apply to Middle Eastern repertoires. For instance, in Iran the classical radif stands in stark contrast to Kurdish folk songs but is colored by Iranian Sufi performance. By contrast, the Azerbaijani mugam, a classical genre, includes and arguably depends on Azeri folk music in its structure.

Regional Distinctions

Over the years these historic materials and aesthetics have yielded distinct styles, genres, and practices in different times and places. For example, the governments of Morocco and Tunisia and private agencies in Algeria have participated in the revitalization of local forms of nawba, a suite-like genre. It is believed to have originated in Andalusia and to have been carried from there to North Africa. What results, in the twentieth century, is "classical" music so emblematic of a particular region that it is really not possible to speak of "Algerian" classical music, let alone "Arab" classical music but rather the repertories of Tlemcen, Constantine, Algiers, Fez, Tunis, and so on. However in general, revitalization of these genes serves to mark cultures as "Arab" rather than Berber.

On the other hand, styles drawn from the peoples of southern Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya have created distinctly North African popular genres exemplified by the Moroccan group Nas alGhiwan. Similiarly, Algerian raʾi offers an excellent example of a style rooted in local musical practice, transformed with imported electronic instruments and modern texts. These styles draw the historic aesthetic of the clever, sometimes stinging colloquial text and favorite local instruments into contact with the electronics, and sometimes the staging, of rock music. The result may or may not be considered "westernized" by local listeners.

Regional distinctions have long been part of mashriq performances. Microtonal intervals tend to be tuned slightly higher in Turkey and Syria than in Egypt and North Africa. The buzuq is an important part of Lebanese folk culture. The resurgence of "classical" repertoires has been discouraged in Turkey since the establishment of the republic (1923). The governments of Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon have sponsored neoclassical ensembles that often give concerts in opera houses, with musicians in evening dress performing without the extemporization that is historically part of Middle Eastern traditions. In other words, Arab pieces of music are presented in the context of a Western concert.

Transformed classical and folk traditions have emerged in nongovernmental venues as well. Perhaps the best known are the plays by Fayruz and the Rahbani brothers, articulating local pride and local concerns by using distinctly Lebanese styles and a combination of local and Western instruments. The Western models of the musical play and film,
popular in the Arab world, serve local purposes well. The best-known recent exponent of music from the turath is the Syrian Sabah Fakhri, who travels internationally, performing muwashshahat, taqasim, classical instrumental pieces, and newer songs in suite-like arrangements. Umm Kulthum and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab are well-known performers of "new" or "popular" music that has attracted a large audience throughout the Arab world. Abd al-Wahhab's style is the more innovative, creating a pastiche of Western and Arab musical styles in a single composition and establishing the free-form instrumental piece (al-qitʿa al-musiqiyya) as an important independent genre. Although both Umm Kulthum and Abd al-Wahhab sing complicated neoclassical works, Umm Kulthum has claimed this area as her own.

Instrumental improvisations (taqasim) and a historic suite-like genre, the Iraqi maqam, have persisted throughout the twentieth century, partly supported by the Arab diaspora. The performances of Munir Bashir, Nazim al-Ghazali, and Muhammad alQubbanji have been rereleased by firms in Paris and Baghdad. Iraq and the countries of the Arabian peninsula support rich traditions of singing and dancing that have been documented by local musicologists and by folklore institutes such as that established in Oman.

Teaching and performing classical Persian music have formed part of musical life in Tehran throughout the twentieth century, especially among elites. The musical culture of Iran encompasses a range of folk and religious musics as well. Cabaret music also has become popular. Following the Iranian Revolution, the new government moved to suppress musical performance, including music at weddings. In the long run, the primary target was cabaret music, often associated with consumption of alcohol and prostitution. In recent years, radif recordings have become readily available, and performance of traditional music persists.

Israel presents a unique musical culture, consisting of a patchwork of musics from Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Arab world, and Africa, brought together in a small space over a relatively short period of time. A few syncretic repertoires have emerged, but musics more often persist as individual emblems of the immigrant communities.

Musical Occasions

Weddings and special occasions, often religious in nature, have long offered venues for musical performance. Starting the pilgrimage to Mecca, celebrating the birthday of Muhammad, remembering the martyrdom of Husayn, and the ceremonies of Sufi dhikrs have all involved music. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, urban nightclubs and cabarets often featured musical entertainment and dancing, as did tourist hotels. Generally speaking, there is a long history of professionalism in Middle Eastern music. In some areas, notably Iran, professional musicians tend to belong to minority groups; musical performance in the majority culture tends to be amateur.

These tendencies have persisted in the twentieth century. Often they have been transformed through the mass media, which quickly took hold throughout the Middle East and became very popular. Many would argue that the mass media have become primary patrons of musicians.

Commercial recording took hold in the first decade of the twentieth century, mainly in Algiers, Cairo, Beirut, Constantinople (now Istanbul), and Tehran. Radio became more popular than the phonograph in the 1930s. Television, beginning in the 1960s, and videocassettes in the 1970s, proliferated, especially among the middle and upper classes. This development is significant particularly because cassettes, which are inexpensive and portable, gave control over production to local artists, or at least to agencies that were closer to the artists than a national radio company or a European-based recording company. Artists were able to produce their own recordings and market them locally, circumventing those who select music for radio and television stations and the requirements of international production firms. In the 1990s, despite the opportunities for Middle Eastern artists to produce internationally marketed videos and compact disks, some of the most interesting performances are locally released cassettes.

Musical Processes and Issues

As a constituent of social life, musical performances in the Middle East have engaged local histories with the flow of new materials from other societies. Unsurprisingly, this engagement has fed debates on authenticity, music and sociocultural identity, modernity, and the proper nature of culture in the late twentieth century.

The development of mass media centered in urban areas has tended to promote the musics of those areas over others. Local musics from Morocco to Iraq have been dominated in the mass media by musics produced in Cairo and Beirut, for instance. Only in recent years, with the less expensive cassette and a recent interest in the musics of southern Morocco, Nubia, and the Gulf states, has this situation changed.

Contact with Europe and the United States has led some musicians to borrow, adapt, and integrate new sounds into local music. The accordion, cello, string bass, and electronic instruments have become widely popular and virtually consolidated with some local musics. Latin rhythms, disco, and nineteenth-century orchestral music (especially for film scores) have been borrowed outright. This vast array of soundsranging from religious chanting by a solo voice to improvisations on lutes, dueling songs, formally composed orchestral pieces, and special electronic effectsis being employed by musicians and their listeners to identify themselves and to suggest directions and affinities within their societies.

Boundaries are not always clear. The process of musical creation transforms past practices to contribute to the lively culture of Middle Eastern societies intent on maintaining an identity while responding to the challenges of the present.

see also abd al-wahhab, muhammad ibn; fayruz; umm kulthum.


Browning, Robert, ed. Maqam: Music of the Islamic World and Its Influences. New York: Alternative Museum, 1984.

During, Jean, et al. The Art of Persian Music. Washington, D.C.: Mage, 1991.

Farhat, Hormoz. The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Al-Faruqi, Lois. "Music, Musicians, and Muslim Law." Asian Music 17, no. 1 (1985): 336.

Jenkins, Jean, and Olsen, Poul Rovsing. Music and Musical Instruments in the World of Islam. London: World of Islam Festival Publishing, 1976.

Nettl, Bruno. The Radif of Persian Music: Studies of Structure and Cultural Context in the Classical Music of Iran, 2d edition. Urbana, IL: Elephant & Cat, 1992.

Signell, Karl. Makam: Modal Practice in Turkish Art Music. Seattle, WA: Asian Music Publications, 1977.

virginia danielson

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Two Traditions. The United States in the mid nineteenth century was home to two separate and distinct traditions in music, which historian H. Wiley Hitchcock has labeled cultivated and vernacular. The cultivated tradition had its origins in European, especially German, classical music. Its concert-hall repertoire included Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, and other standard European masters. Its famous conductors and popular virtuoso performers were almost invariably born and trained in Europe. Audiences attending a concert or an opera in nineteenth-century America expected to find a specimen of the best that European high culture had to offer, and they were rarely disappointed. The influx of immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia, and Italy helped to assure a flourishing of the cultivated tradition. In addition to bolstering the numbers of discerning listeners and talented performers in large urban areas along the Eastern Seaboard, they provided a large number of music instructors to smaller towns in the interior. The main goal of the cultivated tradition was aesthetic enlightenment and moral uplift.

A Developing American Idiom. The vernacular tradition, as its name implies, drew on native materials for inspiration. New England psalmody, African American work songs, country fiddling based on traditional folk dancing tunes, patriotic songs on military themes, and the sentimental songs of talented songwriters such as Stephen Foster entered a mainstream of popular music whose worth was judged largely by its entertainment value and rarely, if ever, as high artistry. Yet the practitioners of this vernacular music were beginning to establish an American musical vocabulary that later defined an indigenous American musical tradition in blues, jazz, country and western, and rock and roll. By the turn of the twentieth century composers such as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives were mining American vernacular music in search of a modern cultivated tradition that was both sophisticated and accessible to wide audiences. Though the cultivated and vernacular traditions seemed like divergent streams in the nineteenth century, they were marked for a merger by the start of the twentieth.

Common Ground. One place where the high and the low met in the nineteenth century was in the American musical theater. At establishments such as Niblos Garden and the Olympic Theatre in New York City, audiences were treated to a variety of acts that ranged from plays and operas to sentimental or satirical songs, comic dancing of hornpipes and jigs, and pantomimes and burlesques, often all on the same bill. Prominent producers in the musical theater typically lightened the high tone of featured operas or melodramas with interludes of comic song and dance. Carrying over the miscellaneous comic spectacle of the minstrel show, which had been firmly entrenched in American popular entertainment since the 1820s, and combining these lighter touches with some attempt at serious virtuoso performance, the founders of American musical theater created a form of entertainment at once old and new, cultivated and vernacular. The origin of the American musical is usually located in The Black Crook, a musical extravaganza mounted at Niblos by William Wheatley, Henry Jarrett, and Harry Palmer on 12 September of 1866. The trio combined elements of a melodrama by Charles M. Barras with the dancing of Jarrett and Palmers French ballet troupe and some of the sentimental ballad-opera songs of the day to produce a five-and-one-half-hour-long spectacle, which became an immediate sensation in post-Civil War New York. The Black Crook set the stage for dozens of similar performances in the ensuing decades, and it established one of the most universally recognized American genresthe musical. Some other successful musicals of the period include J. C. Fosters The Twelve Temptations (1870), Dan Emmetts Fritz, Our Cousin German (1870), Augustin Dalys Round the Clock, or New York by Dark (1872), and Ned Harrigans Old Lavender (1877).

Minstrel Days. As early as the 1820s Americans had attended performances of comic songs and dances by entertainers such as George Washington Dixon (1808-1861) and Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860), white men who blacked their faces with burnt cork and pretended to be reenacting authentic scenes from southern plantation life. Such performances, known as minstrel shows, remained popular throughout the country for the remainder of the nineteenth century. Troupes of performers, including the famous E. P. Christys Minstrels (organized in 1842), performed an increasingly standardized repertoire of jokes, songs, dances, and comic sketches to audiences in large cities and small towns. They accompanied their performances with instruments such as castanets, tambourines, banjos, and fiddles. The two most famous composers of minstrel songs were Dan Emmett (1815-1904) and Stephen Foster (1826-1864). The grand finale of most minstrel shows was something called the Walk Around, an ensemble piece involving singing, dancing, and a parade of the performers around the stage. The most famous walk-around song before the Civil War was Dan Emmetts Dixie, first performed in 1859 and destined to become the anthem of the Confederacy. After the war black minstrel troupes, such as Brooker and Claytons Georgia Minstrels, also toured the northern states and found some success and popularity with white audiences. Although the comic routines of blackface minstrels going by the stage names of Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo were perhaps intended mostly for laughs, they were travesties of the culture they pretended to represent, and they perpetuated hurtful stereotypes of African Americans. William Francis Allen, Charles P. Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison made a more sympathetic attempt to collect and preserve the so-called Negro spiritual songs as evidence of a peoples sorrows and its struggles, publishing the songs they had gathered in 1867 as Slave Songs of the United States.

An American Original. In the course of his short life Stephen Foster (1826-1864) had probably as great an influence on American popular music as any songwriter who has ever lived. Unlike his contemporary Dan Emmett, Foster never took the stage as a performer. In fact, even his first successful minstrel songs, such as Oh, Susannah! and Uncle Ned, were published without attribution in a collection called Songs of the Sable Harmonists (1848). Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Foster moved to Cincinnati in 1846 and took a job as a bookkeeper in his brother Dunnings office, while beginning to churn out songs in the sentimental genteel tradition in which he was immersed. His catchy tunes became almost immediately popular with minstrel performers and managers such as Thomas D. Rice and G. N. Christy. In his lifetime Foster wrote more than two hundred songs, some of the best known of which are Lousiana Belle, Camptown Races, Away Down South, My Old Kentucky Home, Nelly Bly, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, Beautiful Dreamer, and Old Folks at Home (also known as Swanee River). Although his songs have often been taken as representative of a distinctly southern way of life, Foster did not travel to the South until 1852, when he took a brief trip to New Orleans. In that same year his best-known work, Old Folks at Home, was published (with Fosters knowledge and agreement) with Christys name on the title page. The song eventually sold more than forty thousand copies, a

phenomenal success for a piece of sheet music in the 1850s. Fosters last years were darkened by poverty, loneliness, and alcohol, but his songs have continued to resonate down the years for generations of Americans.

Operatic Heights. The American poet Walt Whitman once claimed that, But for Opera, I could never have written Leaves of Grass. Whitmans particular favorites were the Italian operas of Gioacchino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, and Giuseppe Verdi. In Manhattan during the 1840s and 1850s, an aficionado of good opera had ample opportunity to hear the standard repertoire of European opera, sung by some of the best opera singers of the day. In the years before the Civil War Jenny Lind, Adelina Patti, and Whitmans favorite, Marietta Alboni, were among the divas who toured the United States and remained for extended periods in New York City, where they performed on local stages. The famous showman Phineas T. Barnum sponsored and directed Jenny Linds tour, which began in September 1850 and lasted until the spring of 1852. The Swedish-born soprano took the country by storm, earning an enormous amount of money for herself and for Barnum and endearing herself to the American public along the way. In 1859 a young Italian diva and professed admirer of Jenny Lind, Adelina Patti, had a similar triumph with her debut performance in Doniüettis Lucia di Lammermoor. She made a brilliant success in New York during the 1860-1861 season, but soon thereafter she chose to pursue her career in the capitals of Europe. From the summer of 1852 through the spring of 1853, Whitman went to hear each one of Marietta Albonis celebrated performances in Manhattan. Whitmans greatest tribute to Albonis magnificent voice may be seen in the opening line of one of his best-known chants in Song of Myself (1S55): The pure contralto sings in the organ loft. In the catalogue of laborers in Whitmans democratic vineyard, the great diva finds herself side by side with the carpenters, slaves, omnibus drivers, and rivermen of Whitmans America, underscoring the attempt by the great American poet to bridge the gap between the cultivated and the vernacular in the American tradition.


Gerald Bordman, American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978);

Gilbert Chase, Americas Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present, third edition, revised (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987);

John Dizikes, Opera in America: A Cultural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993);

H. Wiley Hitchcock, Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974).

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Institutions of Musical Life. Like the other arts in the colonies, music before the Revolution had a limited institutional base: there was almost no opportunity for the professional training and performance of musicians and composers. For this reason Americans acquired their taste for music through amateur performance, which relied almost entirely on the importation of sheet music of European composers such as Antonio Lucio Vivaldi and

George Frideric Handel and instruments such as the spinet and harpsichord. Emulating the habits of the British gentry, fashionable men and women on this side of the Atlantic used their leisure time to practice accomplishments that they could share with other members of respectable society. Most musical activity centered around concerts in the home, where genteel women sang and played guitar, for example, while men played violin and flute. The most accomplished musicians of the day were some of the wealthy SouthernersThomas Jefferson, for example, collected musical instruments such as the pianoforte and performed in amateur concerts at the governors mansion at Williamsburgor the planter families who came to Charleston to escape the summer heat and take part in public times, when concerts and plays were sponsored by the St. Cecilia society.

Church Singing. In church singing the new music of James Lyons and William Billings would not have been possible without changes that made vocal training more accessible and popular and helped to disseminate a taste for music as an art, separate from the needs of religious devotion. The musical life of the colonies prior to and during the Revolutionary era was dominated by psalms. Psalms were part of the larger democratizing of scripture that the Protestant Reformation had set in motion with its commitment to reading and devotion in vernacular languages rather than in Latin. Furnishing common people with simple religious ballads to be used in worship, psalms translated scripture from the Old Testament into metrical verses that were easy to remember and perform by nonliterate and literate people alike. In the eighteenth century alone more than 250 publications were devoted to psalmody, making such popular works as the Bay Psalm Book (1640) and Isaac Wattss Psalm of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament (1719) as common in the colonies as almanacs and spellers. The English composer William Tansur was the most widely known psalmodist before the Revolution through compilations such as Royal Melody Complete, first published in Boston in 1767, but selections from which were being sung in America shortly after its printing in Britain in 1755.

Singing Schools. Singing schools brought young men and women together and became a primary means of keeping youths interested in church. Taught by itinerant musicians, singing schools trained young people in basic rules of vocal performance, typically meeting two or three times a week for three months, and concluding with a public performance of newly learned selections. Paul Reveres engraving at the front of William Billingss The New England Psalm Singer (1770), depicts a leader and six male singers seated around a table in a home or perhaps an inn but not a church. This engraving illustrates the way that psalmody increasingly served a social function instead of being confined to churches. Psalms were sung for recreation at various places where people gathered, and with the proliferation of singing masters and new kinds of psalms that introduced national and secular themes there was obviously worry that people were performing sacred music as a form of social entertainment instead of assisting believers in religious worship. In the preface to his The Singing Masters Assistant (1778) Billings included advice on how to run a singing school. Although these schools were often sponsored by churches and sometimes held on church property, Billings warnings to other singing masters suggests that the young adults and teenage boys and girls who attended them had other things besides solemn piety on their minds: 4. No unnecessary conversation, whispering, or laughing, to be practiced...and above all I enjoin it upon you to refrain from all levity, both in conduct and in conversation, while singing sacred words.

Profane Amusements. Teaching vocal skills that students used outside of churchat spinning bees, funerals, and Election Daysthe schools spread a taste for music as a form of social recreation and secular entertainment. Like itinerant singing masters, roving musicians brought a wider range of music lessons to students throughout the colonies. The increased number of skilled singers led to the introduction of choirs in churches, which in turn led to the introduction of instrumental accompaniment on pitch pipes, bass viols, and small orchestras with wind and string instruments by the 1790s. As a result services increasingly resembled concerts. Singing had been an active means of participation in religious devotion for all church members, but it increasingly became an occasion for aesthetic appreciation, where members passively listened to virtuoso performances by their more skilled brethren. By meeting and stimulating a demand for musical training, these new institutions helped to build cultural support for professional composition and performance that blurred the distinction between sacred and secular. By the 1770s organists played both in church services and in public concerts.

From Sacred to Secular. The development of new institutions in the musical life of the colonies during the 1760s and 1770s both contributed to and expressed profound changes taking place in colonial music. The publication of two works of vocal music in this period illustrates the growth of secular composition styles and the improved quality of musical performance. In 1763 the publication of James Lyons Urania introduced the colonies to more sophisticated compositions in psalm singing that had become fashionable in Britain. Especially in New England, conservative religious tradition had emphasized the sacred purpose of vocal music and discouraged instrumental performances as a distraction to spiritual devotion and, like theatre, a danger to public morality. Congregational and Presbyterian churches focused their singing on scripture, such as the use of Davids psalms for the praise of God, and relied on lining-out, having a deacon lead the congregation by reading the psalm line by line. As the first American tunebook to contain ornaments, Urania moved colonial tastes towards neoclassical eloquence and paved the way for secular

modifications of sacred music through hymns, anthems, and fuguing tunes. These compositions were more complex than psalms, requiring singers to master trills and graces, lengthy four-part choruses and other kinds of aesthetic embellishment. Containing detailed explanations of tempo and rhythm and printing words under notes, Urania helped to improve the quality of musical performance in the colonies by introducing variety into psalmody and inviting vocal training amongst a wide audience.

William Billings. The publication of Urania and other European compositions spurred a revival of colonial singing. In 1770 The New England Psalm Singer: or, American Chorister, the first volume of music composed by an American, was published in Boston. Its author, twenty-four-year-old William Billings, was the first American composer of great importance, and as the title of his work indicates, he stood at the beginning of a new tradition and was concerned with developing an indigenous musical idiom. Rejecting European models of composition, Billings introduced innovations in form that expressed something of a declaration of musical independence. His second published work, The Singing Masters Assistant (1778), was the first tunebook published after the outbreak of war and included musical settings of patriotic texts written by Billings himself that dealt explicitly with the war. It was also the only American tunebook of the eighteenth century by a composer that included many tunes already familiar to the public, and more than fifty of its tunes appeared in later compliations published by others. Billingss music was reprinted and performed throughout the 1780s and 1790s and was so popular that one Philadelphia critic declared in 1788 that Billings was the rival of Handel.


Gilbert Chase, Americas Music from the Pilgrims to the Present (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987);

Charles Hamm, Music in the New World (New York: Norton, 1983);

David P. McKay and Richard Crawford, Willing Billing of Boston: Eighteenth-Century Composer (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975);

Kenneth Silverman, A Cultural History of the American Revolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987).

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The history of music in Russia is closely connected with political and social developments and is characterized by a fruitful tension between reception of and dissociation from the West. As elsewhere, the historical development of music in Russia is densely interwoven with the general history of the country. Political, social, and cultural structures and processes in the imperial and Soviet eras wielded a strong influence on musical forms. Even though aesthetic and creative forces always developed a dynamic of their own, they remained inextricable from the power lines of the political and social system.

The beginning of Russian art music is inseparably linked to a politically induced cultural event in Kievan Rus: the Christianization of the East Slavs under Grand Duke Vladimir I in 988. With religion came sacred music from Byzantium. It was to set the framework for art music in Russia up to the seventeenth century. Condemned by the church as the work of Satan, secular music could hold its own in Old Russia only in certain areas. Whereas the general population mainly cultivated traditional forms of folk music, the tsars, dukes, and nobility were entertained by professional singers and musicians.

The forceful orientation toward Western ways of life under Peter I introduced a new era of Russian history of music following European patterns. After Peter had opened the "window to the West," the sounds of the music of Western Europe, together with its producers, irresistibly found their way into the tsarist court and Russian aristocracy. In the eighteenth century the Italian opera held a key position in Europe. The ambitious court in St. Petersburg brought in the big names of Italian musical culture, including numerous composers and musicians. Since the time of Catherine II the repertory of the newly founded theaters included the first music theater works of Russian composers as well as Italian and French operas. In spite of their native-language librettos, the Russian works were, of course, modelled on the general European style of the Italians. As in many other European countries, the forming of an independent, original, Russian music culture took place in the nineteenth century, which was characterized by "national awakening." Through an intensive integration of European musical forms and contents on the one hand and the adaptation of Russian and partly Oriental folk music on the other, Russian composers created an impressive, specifically Russian art music.

The rich ambivalence of dependence on and distance from Middle and Western Europe can already be found in the operas of Mikhail Glinka, who, regardless of some predecessors, is considered the founder of Russian national music. Among his followers a dispute arose concerning how far a genuine Russian composer should distance himself from Western culture. The circle of the Mighty Handful of Mily Balakirev and his followersstill consisting of highly talented amateursdecidedly adhered to the creation of Russian national music. Other composers like the cosmopolitan virtuoso Anton Rubinstein or Peter Tchaikovsky, who received his professional training in Russia at the Petersburg conservatory founded in 1862, had fewer reservations about being inspired by the West, though Tchaikovsky, too, wrote genuine Russian music. The work of these pioneers was continued well into the early twentieth century by such composers as Alexander Glazunov, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Alexander Skryabin. The latter, however, in his later compositions made a radical turn from the nineteenth-century mode of musical expression and became a leading figure of multifaceted Russian modernism.

In 1917 a political event again marked a turning point in Russian music life: the Bolshevik October Revolution. Although in the 1920s the Soviet state made considerable room for the most varied aesthetic conceptions, by the mid-1930s the doctrine of "Socialist Realism" silenced the musical avant-garde. Optimistic works easy to understand were the overriding demand of the officials; alleged stylistic departures from the norm could entail sanctions. Nevertheless, composers like Dmitry Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, and others achieved artistic greatness through a synthesis of conformity and self-determination. Although the opportunities for development remained limited until the end of the Soviet Union, Russian musical life always met a high standard, which markedly manifested itself not only in the compositions, but in the outstanding performing artists of the twentieth century (e.g., David Oystrakh, Svyatoslav Richter).

Soviet popular music also succeeded, against ideological constraints, in finding its own, highly appreciated forms of expression. While the 1920s were still dominated by traditional Russian and gypsy romances as well as Western operetta songs, in the 1930s a genuine Soviet style of light music developed. Isaak Dunayevsky created the so-called mass song, which combined cheerful, optimistic music with politically useful texts. His style set the tone of popular music in Stalin's time, even if the sufferings of war furthered the reemergence of more dark and somber romances. Jazz could not establish itself in Soviet musical life until the late 1950s. Russians had welcomed early trends of jazz with great enthusiasm, but the official classification of American-influenced music as capitalist and hostile hindered its development in the Soviet Union until Stalin's death. Later, rock music faced similar problems. Only the years of perestroika allowed Russian rock to emancipate itself from the underground. Until then, the officially promoted hits, widely received by Soviet society, were a blend of mass song, folk music elements, and contemporary pop. In contrast to the unsuspected shallowness of these songs, the so-called bards (e.g., Bulat Okudzhava or Vladimir Vysotsky) did not hesitate to address human problems and difficulties of everyday life in their guitar songs. Probably these poet-singers left behind the most original legacy in Soviet popular music, whereas the other currents of musical entertainment distinguished themselves through their interesting synthesis of Western impulses and Russian characteristics, a central thread in Russian music culture of the modern age.

See also: balalaika; dunayevsky, isaakosipovich; folk music; glinka, mikhail ivanovich; mighty handful; nationalism in arts; prokofiev, serge sergeyevich; rachmaninov, serge vasilievich; shostakovich, dmitri dimtrievich; stravinsky, igor fyodorovich; tchaikovsky, peter ilyich


Hakobian, Levon. (1998). Music of the Soviet Age, 19171987. Stockholm: Melos Music Literature.

Maes, Francis. (2002). A History of Russian Music: From Kamarinskaya to Babi Yar. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Schwarz, Boris. (1983). Music and Musical Life in the Soviet Union, 19171981. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Starr, S. Frederick. (1994). Red and Hot: The Fate of Jazz in the Soviet Union, 19171991. New York: Limelight Ed.

Stites, Richard. (1992). Russian Popular Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Taruskin, Richard. (1997). Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Matthias Stadelmann

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Computers have had an impact on all segments of the music industry. Specialized hardware and software helps train performers on instruments, such as piano and guitar, and assists with instruction in music theory, ear training, and general musicianship. Computers are used to help create new compositions and analyze existing ones. Computers can also be used to produce the raw sounds of music through synthesis and sequencing software and hardware.

Since the late 1960s, most composers and publishers have used computer notation and typesetting programs instead of engraving and hand copying to make printed scores and parts. The use of digital technology for music production, including recording and editing, and for playback is almost universal. Music can be heard and exchanged over the Internet, and computer-generated music is heard in film scores, television commercials, popular music, and classical music concerts.

However, the most significant impact of computers may be the increased ease with which people are able to participate in the making of music. Performers can create and "play" their own instruments without years of traditional training, for example, and can generate recordings and distribute them over the Internet outside the traditional studio system.

Sound Synthesis and Recording

The term "electro-acoustic" music is used to describe music in which the sounds are produced, changed, or reproduced by electronic means, or synthesized, rather than being produced by naturally resonating bodies such as the vocal cords. In traditional electronic music, sound is generated by devices such as oscillators that produce an electrical signal. Processors, such as mixer, filter, and reverberation modules, can then modify the signal.

This process is called analog synthesis because the electrical signal produced by the synthesizer is a nearly exact representation of the waveshape of the actual sound. In analog recording, the microphone converts the waveshape of the sound into an electrical signal that is pressed into the groove of a record. As the needle wiggles along this picture of the waveshape, it is converted back into an electrical signal. The analog representation of sound is on a continuous scale; like the sweep second hand on a watch, it is able to represent any two points and all possible points in between.

Digital synthesis and recording are based on the idea that it is possible for the continuous waveshape of a sound to be represented by a series of numbers. This process is known as quantization. Computers are ideal machines for generating and storing those numbers. However, special hardware is required: digital to analog converters (DACs) are needed to translate numbers into electrical voltages and analog to digital converters (ADCs) are used to translate voltages into numbers.

The digital representation of sound is on a discrete scale of steps, like a digital watch that can indicate 1:00 and 1:01 but nothing in between. The waveshape of a sound is specified, or sampled, at evenly spaced points along the wave. The frequency with which the samples are taken is the sampling rate. The higher the sampling rate, the more exactly the waveshape is represented and the higher the fidelity of the resulting sound. A general principle is that the sampling rate must be at least two times the frequency of the highest sound to avoid distortion.

Figure 1 shows in simple terms how the representation of a waveshape changes if Sample Rate 1 is cut in half.

Another important issue in digital sound representation is the size of the unit used to store samples. Small units, such as eight bits , can store a limited range of numbers. Many values must be rounded off and information is lost. Achieving high fidelity requires a big memory, however. Representing four seconds of sound in sixteen-bit units requires approximately 700,000 bytes .

Digital synthesis is limited by the time required for the computer to calculate the numbers for each sample. If the time needed is greater than the sampling rate, the sound cannot be produced in real time; the values must be stored in a file that can be played back once all the calculations are complete. This makes experimentation, variation, and modification difficult.


As early as 1843, Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, suggested that Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine , a forerunner of the computer, might be used for music. In 1957 this vision was realized in two very different ways. Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson wrote a computer program that composed the Iliac Suite using the laws of chance and basic rules of music composition. This program generated a score that was played by human musicians.

The pioneering work in computer music was done using software synthesis. This is the most flexible and precise method because synthesis programs can be run on general-purpose computers.

Early music synthesis programs such as MUSIC III (1960) were written using the concept of unit generators, like the modules of analog synthesizers. In the 1960s and 1970s, most computer music was produced at universities and research institutions. Software synthesis became more widespread in the late 1980s with the introduction of low-cost, good quality, digital to analog converters for personal computers and graphical user interfaces (GUI).

By 2000 software synthesis programs included two categories: (1) graphical instrument editors in which the user simulates using an analog synthesizer by clicking on icons on the display screen; and (2) synthesis language programs in which the user specifies sounds by writing text that is interpreted by the program.

Researchers also designed special-purpose hardware for music functions. This path led to commercial digital performing instruments, including the Synclavier (1976) and the Fairlight (1979), which are widely used by performers. However, the flexibility of these machines is limited by the fixed nature of their circuitry, which cannot be modified to perform new functions. Lack of standardization was a problem in the 1970s and early 1980s. Development of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI), released in 1983, provided a standard protocol for exchanging musical information among different brands of computers and synthesizers.

see also Analog Computing; Apple Computer, Inc.; Babbage, Charles; Digital Computing; Lovelace, Ada Byron King, Countess of; Microcomputers.

Cheryl L. Cramer


Dodge, Charles, and Thomas Jerse. Computer Music: Synthesis, Composition and Performance, 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1997.

Hofstetter, Fred T. Computer Literacy for Musicians. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988.

Howe, Hubert S., Jr. Electronic Music Synthesis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1975.

Roads, Curtis. The Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.

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Music. Since music has charms to do much more than soothe the savage breast, it has been a major part of all religions. It has powers to alter and match moods, to sustain and evoke emotion, to induce trance or ecstasy states, to express worship, and to entertain. At the same time, it is supremely a corporate activity: it not only binds together performers and audience, it is an activity in which many people can be engaged at once—people, for example, can chant together (not necessarily in unison) in a way which would become noise and babble in ordinary speech—facts which were much developed and exploited in oratorio and opera. At moments of despair and of triumph, humans sing, and sing together.

In India, sound itself (śabda, Om) is the sacred source of all appearance: music therefore has the capacity to articulate the order and ordering of the cosmos. The characteristic musical form of the rāga is said to resemble in its gradual construction the building of a temple (see ART). In the Vedas, music is embedded in the chants of the Sāma Veda. While many of the sacrifices, of which the chants (sāman) once formed a part, are no longer practised, the protection of the chants themselves still continues. Music is also integrated into the religious occasions and purposes of dance, as classically formulated in the Nātyśāstra, which pays particular attention to the ways in which religious and other sensation (rasa) can be produced. Although Indian music divided into two major traditions (the Hindustani and Carnatic), the underlying religious perceptions remain the same.

In China, music received official recognition and support at an early date (at least by 1000 BCE) as an instrument of education and court ceremony. Ritual music of this kind was later called ya-yüeh (yayue, ‘elegant music’), in distinction from ‘popular music’, su-yüeh (suyue). When Confucius emphasized ethics and education as the basis of government and society, music formed a natural part in sustaining appropriate rituals and attitudes. Shih Ching (Shijing, The Book of Odes) became one of the Confucian Classics, but no music from it survives. Music was equally central in Taoism: poetry-writing and the playing of the ch'in (qin, a kind of zither-like instrument) were regarded as avenues to the realization of the Tao.

In Japan, music was early connected with shamanistic rituals, but later music was much affected by ‘imports’ from Korea, China, and Central Asia. Thus gagaku (elegant music; cf. China above) is the traditional court music developed during the Nara period, and codified during the Heian period (794–1185), which includes mikagura (music for the Shinto cult in relation to the court). Mikagura is divided formally between komagaku derived from Korea, and tōgaku, derived from China. If gagaku is music for the purpose of accompanying dance, it is known as bugaku, if not, as kangen. In 701, a department of court music (Gagaku-ryō) was established employing hundreds of musicians, often for specific state rituals and occasions. During the Heian period, the Buddhist practice of chanting sūtras, known as shōmyō, became widespread, and was of particular importance for Shingon and Tendai. Music is also important in theatre, with its continuing religious connections, as e.g. in Kabuki and .

Buddhist music has undergone a comparable transformation in Tibet. Ritual chanting of myths and formulae seems to have been a part of Bön religion. But the advent of Buddhism led to the development of music, both vocal and instrumental, partly to accompany the rituals, but even more to prepare those present for visualization and meditation. Ritual drama (e.g. ʾcham) was also an important occasion of public music.

Jewish music is clearly rooted in the biblical traditions which speak of the Temple music and of the powerful music of David. But none of this has survived, and the most important continuity of Jewish music is secured in the synagogue. From the earliest period, synagogue music included the sung recitation of Psalms, cantillation (recitation of the masoretic text of scripture according to accent marks written in the text, led by the ḥazzan or cantor, or by a member of the congregation, in cadences indicated by gestures of the hand—hence ‘chironomy’, the traditional instruction of these techniques), and the chanting of prayers. To these were added a large number of hymns and piyyutim, and among the Ḥasidim niggunim, sung to nonsensical words, or to no words at all, in order to induce the desired state of ecstatic joy.

Christians from the outset were enjoined to ‘sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’ (Colossians 3. 16; Ephesians 5. 19), and they have not stopped doing so since. The biblical text underlay the development of Christian music, with especial emphasis on the Psalter. Plainchant (plainsong) is a monophonic chant in free rhythm, which developed in various traditions (e.g. Ambrosian, Gallican, Gregorian, Mozarabic, Armenian, Byzantine, etc.). But plainchant led into polyphony, introduced in about the 11th cent., but coming to maturity from the 14th cent. on. The opportunity this afforded to the Reformation of telling the biblical story led to the astonishing achievements of Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672), whose major works, Cantiones Sacrae, Symphoniae Sacrae, Psalmen Davids, The Resurrection History, The Christmas History, and The Seven Last Words from the Cross, indicate how important the biblical text was. Even more spectacular was the development of the oratorio by J. S. Bach (1685–1750): although written for church settings, his Passions according to St Matthew and St John can still convey a religious sense of occasion, even in concert performances. In the Church, during this whole period, there had been developing the early Greek custom of singing hymns, some early examples of which are still in use. Hymns have also spread their skirts a little into the related forms of motet, canticle, anthem, and cantata.

In Islam, music is related to the chanting of the Qurʾān which is highly technical and stylized, and to the mosque, where the ādhān (call to prayer) is taught and adjudged musically. The power of music to affect moods has led to its extensive use in Sūfī movements. Although no body of religious music has been developed in Islam, Muslims have taken a great interest in music as a part of God's creation, and early works on music (especially that of al-Fārābī) were translated into Latin, thereby extending their influence into Europe.

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Classical Style. During the first half of the nineteenth century classical music meant European music. In the United States several organizations were formed to promote American interest in this highbrow music. Bostons Handel and Haydn Society was founded in 1815 for the cultivation and improve[ement] of a correct taste in the performances of sacred music. The Harvard Musical Association, the forerunner of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was founded in 1837. The first symphony orchestra in the United States was the New York Philharmonic, founded in 1842, with other cities following suit later in the century. In the fall of 1848 the Germania Musical Society, a group of German musicians, came to the United States to further in the hearts of this politically free people the love of the fine art of music through performance of masterpieces of the greatest German

composers as Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Spohr, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann; also, Liszt, Berlioz, and Wagner. Their successful six-year tour of the United States set a higher standard of musicianship for American bands and orchestras and helped to establish a connection between European classical music and high culture.

Church Influence. European classical music also influenced sacred music in the United States, particularly in the East. As the South and West were swept by religious revivals, Eastern churches distanced themselves from these enthusiastic converts by reforming sacred music. During the colonial era New England ministers concerned about their congregations singing abilities had organized singing schools for church members and fashioned a simple method of musical notation designed to introduce church members to the basics of musical knowledge. Each of the four notes (fa, sol, la or law, and mi ) used in this system was represented by a different shape. These shape-notes were first published in 1800; forty years later Eastern churches had turned to newer compilations of hymns which incorporated secular European classical melodies and relied on the modern eight-note (do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do ) system of musical notation. In the South and West, however, the democratic, easy-to-learn shape-note notation continued to flourish, aided by the 1835 publication of William Walkers shape-note songbook The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, which sold six hundred thousand copies in the nineteenth century. Southern Harmony contained a wide range of lyrics and tunes based on diverse sources, including African American spirituals, folk melodies, traditional hymns, and European pieces. A uniquely democratic way of teaching music, shape-notes continued in use into the twentieth century.

Sentimental Ballads. Genteel ballads were also popular. Many were based on popular sentimental poetry and were published in songbooks or as sheet music, often with elaborate lithographic art. Henry Russell, an English singer who had studied in Italy and in France, almost always included in his concerts a dramatic rendition of Woodman, Spare That Tree, based on a poem of the same name by George Pope Morris. Russell claimed that once, after he had sung that song, a dignified man stood up in the audience and excitedly asked: Was the tree spared, sir? When Russell replied that it was, the man sighed with relief and said, Thank God for that. The Singing Hutchinsons, a family group from New Hampshire, built their reputation on several sentimental ballads, including a temperance song called King Alcohol. After being feted by the Handel and Haydn Society, the Hutchinsons performed in Boston and then in New York, where they teamed up with Morris, matching their tunes to his sentimental lyrics. The Hutchinsons also set Henry Wadsworth Longfellows poem Excelsior to music. They toured England and Ireland in 1845 and returned to America to cross the country as singers and reformers who used their music to support temperance, womens suffrage, and the abolition of slavery.

Opera. Although English operas had been performed in the colonies during the eighteenth century, Italian opera was not performed in the United States until the 18251826 season, when the Manuel Garcia family performed Gioacchino Rossinis Barber of Seville and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts Don Giovanni at New Yorks Park Theatre. New York also had its first experience of French opera when the New Orleansbased French Opera Company toured the major northeastern cities in 1827. New Orleans, however, was the countrys opera center, boasting four separate opera companies by 1836.

A New Orleans Bee reporter wrote in that year: Operas appear to amuse our citizens more than any other form of public amusementexcept balls. European opera singers made successful American tours; additionally, American opera companies traveled around the states, performing in cities and small towns alike. Opera in the United States was usually performed as straight opera, but, as in the case of William Shakespeares plays, operas were often altered, reinterpreted, or parodied. When the Garcia family first performed The Barber of Seville in New York, daughter Maria (who became the celebrated Maria Malibran) added a popular Scottish song and then sang Home Sweet Home for her American audience. Similarly, minstrel performer Thomas D. Rice jumped Jim Crow between acts of Meyerbeers French opera Robert le Diable. Many French and Italian operas were translated into English for American audiences. Often the stories of operas were changed to fit the interests of an American audience, and tunes from familiar operas were often given completely different English lyrics and turned into popular American songs.


Gilbert Chase, Americas Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present, revised second edition (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966);

John Dizikes, Opera in America: A Cultural History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993);

June C. Ottenberg, Opera Odyssey: Toward a History of Opera in Nineteenth-Century America, Contributions to the Study of Music and Dance, 32 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994);

William Walker, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, edited by Glenn C. Wilcox (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1987).

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284. Music

See also 23. ART ; 310. PERFORMING ; 314. PHONOGRAPH RECORDS ; 378. SONGS and SINGING ; 380. SOUND ; 403. TUNING .

the theory that accent within a musical phrase can also be expressed by modifying the duration of certain notes rather than only by modifying dynamic stress. agogic , adj.
1. the composition of music without a definite key; dodecaphony.
2. the music so written. Also atonality . atonalist , n. atonal, atonalistic , adj.
1. the techniques of choral singing.
2. the composition of music for chorus illustrative of a cognizance of choral techniques and the possibilities and limitations of choral singing. choralistic , adj.
the use of the chromatic scale or chromatic halftones in musical compositions. Cf. diatonicism .
citharist, kitharist
a performer on an ancient Greek form of lyre called a cithara.
1. a composer of music employing counterpoint figures, as fugues.
2. a performer of music employing counterpoint figures. Also contrapuntalist .
the use of the diatonic scale of five whole tones and two halftones in the composition of music. Also diatonism . Cf. chromaticism .
dodecaphony, dodecaphonism
the composition of music employing the twelvetone scale. Also called dodecatonality , atonality . dodecaphonist , n. dodecaphonic , adj.
a short hymn expressing praise to God. doxological , adj.
1. the study of the music of a particular region or people from the viewpoint of its social or cultural implications.
2. the comparative study of the music of more than one such region or people. ethnomusicologist , n.
1. the composition of fugues.
2. the performance of fugues. fuguist , n.
a performer on the viola da gamba.
Obsolete, a person versed in Gregorian chant. Also called Gregorian .
a person skilled in the principles of harmony. See also 249. LITERATURE
1. music in which one voice carries the melody, sometimes with a ehord accompaniment.
2. Obsolete, unison. Also called monody , monophony . homophonous , adj.
1. the singing of hymns; hymnology.
2. the composition of hymns.
3. a study of hymns and their composers.
4. the preparation of expository material and bibliographies concerning hymns; hymnography. hymnodist , n.
the act or art of playing the lyre. lyrist , n.
the branch of music theory that deals with melody.
a person who composes or sings melodies.
the writing of romantic, sensational stage plays interspersed with songs and orchestral music. melodramatist , n. melodramatic , adj.
an abnormal liking for music and melody. melomaniac , n., adj. melomane , n.
an instrument for marking time in music, producing regular ticking sounds at a variety of settings. metronomic, metronomical , adj.
1. the art of minstrels.
2. their occupation.
3. a group of minstrels.
4. a collection of their music and songs.
1. music composed of a single melody with no accompaniment or harmony. Cf. homophony , polyphony .
2. monody. monophonic , adj.
the science of musical notation.
the scholarly and scientific study of music, as in historical research, theory of composition, etc. musicologist , n. musicological , adj.
a mania for music.
a music lover.
an intense dislike of music.
a juke-box, record-player, or player piano operated by the insertion of a nickel or other coin. See also 159. FILMS .
a performer on the ophicleide, an instrument, developed from the wooden serpent in the brass section of the orchestra.
1. the composition of music using all seven notes of the diatonic scale in a manner free from classical harmonie restrictions.
2. the music written in this style. pandiatonic , adj.
the technique of playing the piano. pianist , n. pianistic , adj.
a humorous performance at the piano, sometimes with a verbal accompaniment by the performer.
polyphony, polyphonism
the combination of a number of separate but harmonizing melodies, as in a fugue. Cf. homophony. polyphonic, polyphonous , adj.
the practice of using combinations of notes from two or more keys in writing musical compositions. Also polytonality. polytonalist , n. polytonal , adj.
1. the art, practice, or act of singing psalms in worship services.
2. a collection of psalms. psalmodist , n. psalmodial, psalmodie, psalmodical , adj.
any series of four related works, literary, dramatic, operatic, etc.
threnody, threnode a
song, musical composition, or literary work created to honor or commemorate the dead; a funeral song. threnodist , n. threnodic , adj.
a composer who pays special attention to the tonal qualities of music. See also 23. ART .
verismo, verism
the artistic use of commonplace, everyday, and contemporary material in opera, especially some 20th-century Italian and French works, as Louise. verist , n., adj. veristic , adj.
1. the musical theory and practice of Richard Wagner, characterized by coordination of all musical and dramatic components, use of the leitmotif, and departure from the conventions of earlier Italian opera.
2. influence or imitation of Wagners style. Wagnerian , n., adj.

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Composers of the Renaissance built on a centuries-long tradition of sacred music that had its roots in the plainsong chants and Masses of the early Middle Ages. But whereas a single line of unaccompanied melody, improvised or committed to memory, had once sufficed for the chanting of the Catholic Mass, the psalms, and other sacred music, the late Middle Ages had seen a flowering of polyphonic (multipart) music and written compositions, and the emergence of professional composers. Polyphonic music reached new heights of complexity in the late Middle Ages, as the range of voices was extended and new scales and melodic intervals were put to use.

Mass settings and motets remained the most popular musical forms, but many Renaissance composers began working in secular song forms such as the Italian madrigal and the French chanson, which grew out of the sung poems of the medieval troubadours. An important school of musical composition emerged in fifteenth-century Burgundy. Led by Guillaume Dufay, it bridged the medieval and Renaissance periods. Johannes Ockeghem was a master of counterpoint, able to set several complex lines of music in motion from a simple motif, a precursor to the elaborate fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach in a later century. Josquin des Prez, was the most significant composer of the Flemish school, whose musicians and composers were in high demand throughout Europe.

Purely instrumental music also emerged during the Renaissance in a variety of forms: The toccata (touched rather than sung) was a piece that showed off the musician's ability; the pavane was a slow lament for the dead; and the allemande, galliard, and courante were popular dance forms. Musicians were given wide latitude to improvise their parts; the best could play elaborate free cadenzas while staying within the limits of a strict system of harmony, counterpoint, and melodic progression. In England, many skilled composers took up the Italian madrigal, a sung form that relied on the texts of well-known sonnets and other poetry.

In the late Renaissance composers began to simplify complex melodies and emphasize a single pure line, accompanied by one or several lesser parts. Imitative counterpoint allowed the composer a wider range of melodic devices in order to show off his skill at combining different voices and instruments. This new freedom was applied to sacred music, which could change from po1yphonic to homophonic (written in a single voice) and back again, as the composer wished. Dissonance and chromaticismthe use of notes not part of the key scalewas tolerated and in the work of some composers, notably Carlo Gesualdo, strongly emphasized, causing strange and surprising shifts in mood and tenor.

In Venice, sacred music was often composed for multiple choirs and groups of instruments, laying the groundwork for the classical symphony. Giovanni Palestrina, a Roman composer, mastered the difficult art of polyphony and wrote textbooks that instructed composers in this art up to the twentieth century. A new form of sung drama was taken up by many skilled composers, notably the Italian Claudio Monteverdi, whose Orfeo is considered by many to be the first opera. This new form combined music, singing, and dance in the presentation of a tragic or comic play. The Venetian School influenced music in the rest of Italy, as well as Germany and France, while opera emerged in the seventeenth century as a form that brought music into direct competition with the theater for the attention of a mass audience.

See Also: des Prez, Josquin; Gesualdo, Carlo

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457. Music

  1. Amphion his music so powerful that stones for a wall are moved into place. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 32]
  2. Apollo god of music and fine arts. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 26]
  3. Bragi (Brage ) harpist-god; flowers bloomed, trees budded as he played. [Norse Myth.: Leach, 160]
  4. Cecilia, St. patron of music and legendary inventor of organ. [Christian Hagiog.: Thompson, 380]
  5. Corybantes musicians; provided music for goddesses orgiastic dances. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 67]
  6. Daphnis shepherd; invented pastoral music to console himself. [Gk. Myth.: Parrinder, 72; Jobes, 414]
  7. Demodocus minstrel whom Odysseus hears singing the amours of Ares and Aphrodite. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey VIII]
  8. Devils Trill, The brilliant violin sonata by Tartini, said to have been revealed to him by the Devil in a dream. [Ital. Music: Tartini, Guiseppe in NCE, 2697]
  9. Euterpe Muse of dramatic melody; patroness of flautists. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 385]
  10. Grammy award for musical achievement. [Am. Cult.: Misc.]
  11. Israfel none sing so wildly well. [Am. Lit.: Israfel in Portable Poe, 606]
  12. Jubal forebear of all who play harp and pipe. [O.T.: Genesis 4:21]
  13. Linus musician and poet; invented melody and rhythm. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 152]
  14. Muses (Rom. Camanae ) goddesses who presided over the arts. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 172]
  15. Orpheus musician, charmed even inanimate things with lyre-playing. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 787]
  16. Polyhymnia Muse of sacred song. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 172]
  17. Schroeder his only wish is to play Beethovens music on his piano. [Comics: Peanuts in Horn, 542543]
  18. Syrinx transformed into reeds which pursuing Pan made into pipe. [Gk. Myth.: Hall, 232; Rom. Lit.: Metamorphoses ]
  19. Tin Pan Alley lit. 1650 Broadway, New York City; fig. fount of American popular music. [Am. Music: Thompson, 1105]

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music: For information on types of music see such articles as absolute music; aleatory music; chamber music; church music; computer music; electronic music; jazz; program music; rock music; serial music; and spiritual. In addition, see entries on the music of various nations and peoples, including African music; Arabian music; Balinese music; Chinese music; Greek music; Hindu music; Japanese music; Javanese music; and Jewish liturgical music. The technical aspects of music, such as theory, notation, and tone, are treated in such general articles as theory and musical notation, and in more specific entries, including counterpoint; harmonic; harmony; key; measure; mode; musicology; note; pitch; polyphony; rhythm; scale; syncopation; tablature; temperament; tonality; tone; transposing instrument; and tuning systems. There are numerous articles on various musical forms, including cantata; concerto; march; nocturne; opera; oratorio; polonaise; sonata; song; and symphony. In addition to such survey articles as concert; conducting; musical instruments; music festivals; orchestra and orchestration, there are separate articles on musical instruments, treated singly, e.g., clarinet; harp; trumpet, or in groups, e.g., reed instrument; stringed instrument. In addition to the entry on voice, there are separate articles on alto; baritone; countertenor; soprano; and tenor. Information on individual composers and performers can be found in biographical entries on composers, e.g. Monteverdi, Claudio; Puccini, Giacomo; and Schubert, Franz Peter; musicians, e.g., Beiderbecke, Bix; Gieseking, Walter; Richter, Sviatoslav; and singers, e.g., Deller, Alfred; Merrill, Robert; Sembrich, Marcella; and Sinatra, Frank.

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mu·sic / ˈmyoōzik/ • n. 1. the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion: he devoted his life to music. ∎  the vocal or instrumental sound produced in this way: couples were dancing to the music baroque music. ∎  a sound perceived as pleasingly harmonious: the background music of softly lapping water. 2. the written or printed signs representing such sound: Tony learned to read music. ∎  the score or scores of a musical composition or compositions: the music was open on a stand. PHRASES: face the musicsee face. music of the spheressee sphere. music to one's ears something that is pleasant or gratifying to hear or discover: the commission's report was music to the ears of the administration. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old French musique, via Latin from Greek mousikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of the Muses,’ from mousa ‘muse.’

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"music." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

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music Sound arranged for instruments or voices, for many purposes, exhibiting a great variety of forms and styles. It can be split into categories, including rock, jazz, blues, folk music, soul music, rap, house music, and country and western. Within classical music, there are distinct historical periods – medieval music (1100–1400), Renaissance music (1400–1600), Baroque (1600–1750), Classical music (1750–c.1800) and Romantic (c.1800–1900) (see Romanticism). In the 20th century, various techniques developed, notably serial music, twelve-tone music and impressionism. Composers also experimented with electronic music.

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music art of combining sounds in a certain order for aesthetic effect XIII; sounds in melodic or harmonic combination XIV; company of musicians, band XVI; musical score XVII. — (O)F. musique — L. mūsica — Gr. mousikḗ, sb. use of fem. of mousikós pert. to a Muse or the Muses, concerning the arts, f. moûsa MUSE2.
So musical XV. — (O)F. — medL. musician XIV (-ien). — (O)F., f. musique.

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"music." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

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music music of the spheres the harmonious sound supposed to be produced by the motion of the concentric, transparent, hollow globes imagined by the older astronomers as revolving round the earth and respectively carrying with them the several heavenly bodies (moon, sun, planets, and fixed stars).
music to one's ears something that is very pleasant or gratifying to hear or discover.

See also rough music.

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musichomeopathic, polymathic, psychopathic, telepathic •ethic •Eolithic, megalithic, Mesolithic, monolithic, mythic, neolithic, Palaeolithic (US Paleolithic) •Gothic, Visigothic •Sothic • anacoluthic •Narvik, Slavic •pelvic • civic • Bolshevik • Ludovic •Keflavik • Menshevik • Reykjavik •Chadwick • candlewick • Gatwick •Sedgwick • Prestwick • bailiwick •Warwick • Brunswick • Lerwick •Herdwick • Ashkenazic • Keswick •forensic •aphasic, phasic •amnesic, analgesic, mesic •metaphysic • music

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