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The Muse of Music Welcomes You
As Bach is the Shakespeare of music, so Shakespeare is the Bach of literature.
—ETAF Staff

 

the Muse of Music Welcomes You

 

As Bach is the Shakespeare of music, so Shakespeare is the Bach of literature.
—ETAF Staff

Poll

 

what is music?

What words can describe music? Is there anything else like it? Music is beyond words. Only The Muse Of Music can sing her song, and she is that which she is.

what is music?—redux

Music is a term at once obvious and difficult to define. Nevertheless, The Muse Of Music, who brings you these pages, dares the impossible by defining music thus. Music is:

  • The art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.
  • The tones or sounds employed, occurring in single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), and sounded or to be sounded by one or more voices or instruments, or both.

Any definition of music necessarily falls short of the reality. Fortunately, definition is superfluous. The human faculty for recognizing music when it is heard is innate and universal in the human race.

Notice these truisms about music:

  • Not all sound is music but all music is sound.
  • Some sounds are noise—loud, harsh, confused, extraneous, irrelevant, or meaningless.
  • Music can be loud, harsh, or confused, but it is never extraneous, irrelevant, or meaningless.
  • Many sounds are neither music nor noise.

Music is a kind of language—its own kind of language—like speech, but not speech. Music does not trade in words as does spoken language, but nonetheless it is a language by which meaningful communication takes place. It uses both arbitrary and innate sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings to convey facts and express feelings and ideas.

As with speech, music differs across boundaries of culture, nationality, instrumentality, sound, and style. Yet, musical passages are essentially the same as speech in this important respect: the potential for understanding music is universal. No matter how much music may vary from place to place or time to time, all musical passages have meaning and express facts, emotions, and ideas that, with a little enculturation, can be understood by all.

Every normal, healthy infant instinctively seems eventually to come to understand the language of music. The path to self-perception probably starts in the mother's womb, when the unborn child feels the mother's heart beat and other rhythms, and later its own. This enate growth process is founded on innate wiring which develops in the brain.

After birth, the learning process continues and is reinforced whenever a child's parent nurtures, coddles, talks baby talk, reads a poem out loud, or sings an infant to sleep with a lullaby, berceuse, or cradle song. Since the sounds of vocalized music are similar to the sounds of speech, it continues as the child starts to talk.

Once a child develops to the point at which it can distinguish the difference between undifferentiated babble, simple words, and musical sounds—when it starts to hear and recognize musical passages as expressions of ideas—it gradually comes to understand music for what it is, even if it is too young to know the word for music or to know that it understands. It understands this implicitly, without realizing.

Once a child crosses these developmental thresholds, it is capable of recognizing a musical passage for what it is. It knows the difference between music, noise, and nonsense, regardless of the nature of the music, the instrument, the musical period, tradition, or composer.

Defining music is a little like showing someone how to ride a bike or roller-skate; it's a little like Zen. He can be told what to look for, but the knowledge comes from within. Once a person sees, he does not forget.

About the music you're hearing

Picture for a moment, if you will, a musical grouping composed of maracas, keyboard, cello, hand bells, dulcimer, and bagpipe. Improbable? That's the group of instruments shown below.

Can you imagine what that conglomeration might sound like? What if they were played out of tune and at different tempi? Perhaps the racket would resemble the noise made by a clutch of drunken musicians yanked from under a dead camel and dragged back home to China along the Silk Road!

The Muse can't begin to manufacture the sound it would make, thank goodness, and won't try. Aren't you lucky? But The Muse can reproduce other sounds, sounds that are much more pleasing to the ear than those you might hear from our musical sextet.

More

Explore music Now

When you're ready to begin your exploration of music, The Muse suggests that you start with some of these features:

Continue your exploration by visiting one of Muse Of Music's pages listed in box titled Related Pages in the column at the right side of this page. Look for additional features in Muse Of Music menus, The Muse Of Music Index, and The Music Muse Table Of Contents.


music in ancient greece

Has it occurred to you that the word muse is in the word music? The Muse Of Music proudly points out that the modern English word music is ultimately derived from the Greek word for musesfrom the Greek expression art of the Muses. This derivation is an acknowledgement of the fact that the Ancient Greeks thought so highly of music they made it central to all the muses. That's high praise, indeed, coming from so august a group.

The modern muses share their opinion of music with the ancients. Because music is so highly valued by all the muses, ancient and modern, they all owe The Muse Of Music a special debt of gratitude, Electricka included.

  • Get more of an idea of what the Ancient Greeks thought of music. Visit The Muse Of Mythology's page called What's A Muse and look for the section called About Ancient Greek Muses And Music: click here.
  • While you're there, learn more about the nine Ancient Greek muses and their connection to the arts: click here.

music and the modern muses

Music is just as important to Electricka and her modern-day cohort muses as it was to the Ancient Greeks and their muses.

  • See how Electricka, Muse Of the WorldWide Web© and her modern-day cohort muses relate to music, Ancient Greece, and the original nine muses. Visit the page called My Vision: click here.

Electricka honors Euterpe, the ancient muse of music, and respects Euterpe's modern counterpart, The Muse Of Music; she values music as much as did the Ancient Greeks and more, if that's possible. Accordingly, she has adopted a musical theme; it's the music she plays for you every time you visit her home page.

  • Learn more about Electricka's theme at her page called About Electricka's theme Music: click here,

Better yet, take Electricka's Tour first and you'll be better equipped to explore her theme when it comes time for the Tour to take you to the About Electricka's Theme Music page


tops & flops

At the Electricka's feature called Tops & Flops In The Arts, see lists of music favorites and lists of other top-10s that have been submitted by visitors to Electricka's web site, including lists of their favorite composers, musical works, types of music, music periods, and lots more. There, visitors can also submit their own lists of favorites for other visitors to see at Electricka's web site.

  • Explore lists of musical favorites and "dogs;" get ideas for works and performances to hear. See lists of music periods and lots more that's of interest to music lovers like you. Visit the feature called Tops & Flops In The Arts now: click here.

ETAF recommends

...Coming.


—tip—

the muse of music wants your complete attention

Visit The Muse Of Music Index for a list of all the features belonging to The Muse of Music: click here.


 


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