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What is Music?

There are many different sounds people have intentionally created.. music of course being the one that comes to mind. But others are used for signaling or for something utilitarian, usually guidance through something like a religious or military ceremony.

But are they all music? We wouldn't think of a police siren as a song and there are probably mixed opinions on whether or not a jingle is a song. I think it could be easy to call it all music if you allow music to be any intentionally created sound. But a police siren is still a long stretch and a definition that wide isn't very useful. This is complicated by the fact that there have been efforts to create what is effectively anti-music. For example songs that are structed like songs but provide none of the utility that popular music provides (e.g. entertainment, rthythm, etc). Or Music Concrete, not an intentional actively listened to work of art but that which is supposed to be part of a room's design (along with other components including color, line, light, treatment, etc).

And really, that says nothing about the content, structure or how the music was written. It can have clearly defined structure or non at all. It could be written with total intention or completely spontaneous. It would have been algorithmically generated, or derived from a formal set of rules, or with none of that in mind at all. It can acknowledge history or tradition or strike a new path.

Even though police sirens, human speech, etc challenge the notion. Because what is accepted as music and what is listenable changes over time.

I think anything can be music, you just have to be cognizant of its intent.


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