What Is Music? (as assigned by my Foundations in Music Professor)

The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines music as the science or art of combining tones into a composition having structure and continuity. But isn’t music so much more than that? Music is the perfectly assembled orchestra mastering the beautiful work of a long-dead, brilliant composer, and it is the solitary, clumsy strumming of a young woman trying to learn to play a poorly tuned acoustic guitar. Music is a drummer soulfully, yet absentmindedly, tapping out a beat with his hands on the large metal heater in his kitchen. Music is an expression of the soul that produces it.

Music is everywhere. It sets the mood in a movie, it is the soundtrack of a road trip, it breaks the awkward silence of an elevator ride with a stranger. Music is a topic of conversation and a form of art. Like any work of art, music becomes far more than the sum of its parts. To define music requires more than explaining the technicalities of its composition.

The elusive task of defining music is well illustrated in an Ani DiFranco song, “Out of Habit.” The lyric says, “art is why I get up in the morning, but my definition ends there.” It only took one time hearing that line to know that I would never forget it. I am an artist in many ways, but not a musician. I long to be, though. Therefore, I may not be able to describe the ins and outs of Merriam-Webster’s science of music, but I don’t think that is necessary to actually know what it is. Music is an integral part of all of our lives; it is inspired and inspiring. It is something that is not only heard but also felt.

What Is Music? (as assigned by my Foundations in Music Professor)

mfreitas

Warren, United States

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