Art music

Art music (alternately called classical music, cultivated music, serious music, and canonic music)[1] is music that implies advanced structural and theoretical considerations[2] or a written musical tradition.[3] The terms "serious" or "cultivated" are frequently used in relation to music in order to present a contrast with ordinary, everyday music (i.e. popular and folk music, also called "vernacular music").[4] At the beginning of the 20th century art music was divided into "serious music" and "light music".[5]

Beethoven opus 101 manuscript
Beethoven's autographic sketch for his Piano Sonata No. 28, Movement IV, Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit (Allegro). He completed the piece in 1816.


"Art music" is mostly used to refer to music descending from the tradition of Western classical music. Authors associated with the critical musicology movement and popular music studies, such as Philip Tagg, tend to reject the elitism associated with art music; he refers to it as one of an "axiomatic triangle consisting of 'folk', 'art' and 'popular' musics".[6] He explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria.[6] According to Bruno Nettl, "Western classical music" may also be synonymous with "art music", "canonic music, "cultivated music". "serious music", as well as the more flippantly used "real music" and "normal music".[1] Musician Catherine Schmidt-Jones defines art music as "a music which requires significantly more work by the listener to fully appreciate than is typical of popular music". In her view, "[t]his can include the more challenging types of jazz and rock music, as well as Classical".[7]

The term may also refer to:

  • The classical/art music traditions of several different cultures around the world
  • Some forms of jazz, excluding most forms generally considered popular music. Jazz is generally considered popular music. (Adorno for example refers to jazz as some kind of popular music),[8]
  • Music that is highly formalized, that is, in which all or most musical elements are specified in advance, usually in written notation, as opposed to being improvised or otherwise left up to the performer's discretion.[9]

The term "art music" refers primarily to classical traditions (including contemporary as well as historical classical music forms) that focus on formal styles, invite technical and detailed deconstruction[2] and criticism, and demand focused attention from the listener. In strict western practice, art music is considered primarily a written musical tradition,[3] preserved in some form of music notation, as opposed to being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings (like popular and traditional music).[3][10]

Popular music

There have been continual attempts throughout the history of popular music to make a claim for itself as art rather than as popular culture, and a number of music styles that were previously understood as "popular music" have since been categorized in the art or classical category.[11] According to the academic Tim Wall, the most significant example of the struggle between Tin Pan Alley, African-American, vernacular, and art discourses was in jazz. As early as the 1930s, artists attempted to cultivate ideas of "symphonic jazz", taking it away from its perceived vernacular and black American roots. Following these developments, histories of popular music tend to marginalize jazz, partly because the reformulation of jazz in the art discourse has been so successful that many (as of 2013) would not consider it a form of popular music.[11]

In the second half of the 20th century, there was a large-scale trend in American culture toward blurring the boundaries between art and pop music.[12] Beginning in 1966, the degree of social and artistic dialogue among rock musicians dramatically accelerated for bands who fused elements of composed music with the oral musical traditions of rock.[13] During the late 1960s and 1970s, progressive-rock bands represented a form of crossover music that combined rock with high art musical forms either through quotation, allusion, or imitation.[12] Progressive music may be equated with explicit references to aspects of art music, sometimes resulting in the reification of rock as art music.[13]

While progressive rock is often cited for its merging of high culture and low culture, few artists incorporated literal classical themes in their work to any great degree, as author Kevin Holm-Hudson explains: "sometimes progressive rock fails to integrate classical sources ... [it] moves continuously between explicit and implicit references to genres and strategies derived not only from European art music, but other cultural domains (such as East Indian, Celtic, folk, and African) and hence involves a continuous aesthetic movement between formalism and eclecticism".[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bruno Nettl (1995). Heartland Excursions: Ethnomusicological Reflections on Schools of Music. University of Illinois Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-252-06468-5.
  2. ^ a b Jacques Siron, "Musique Savante (Serious music)", Dictionnaire des mots de la musique (Paris: Outre Mesure): 242. ISBN 2-907891-22-7
  3. ^ a b c Denis Arnold, "Art Music, Art Song", in The New Oxford Companion to Music, Volume 1: A–J (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1983): 111. ISBN 0-19-311316-3
  4. ^ Jochen Eisentraut (2013). The Accessibility of Music: Participation, Reception, and Contact. Cambridge University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-107-02483-0.
  5. ^ Michal Smoira Cohn (2010). The Mission and Message of Music: Building Blocks to the Aesthetics of Music in our Time. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 93–94. ISBN 978-1-4438-1883-4.
  6. ^ Catherine Schmidt-Jones, "What Kind of Music Is That?", from the website Connexions, last edited by Catherine Schmidt-Jones on 10 January 2007 8:58 am US/Central, retrieved on 12 December 2008.
  7. ^ Theodor W. Adorno, "On Popular Music", in Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, 17–48 (New York: Institute of Social Research, 1941): IX.
  8. ^ Quinta Rambert. "Making new: an improvisation R&D". Rambert. Retrieved 18 March 2017. Western art music is actually quite unusual in its emphasis on notation.
  9. ^ Philip Tagg, "Analysing Popular Music: Theory, Method and Practice", Popular Music 2 (1982): 37–67, here 41–42.
  10. ^ a b Tim Wall (2013). Studying Popular Music Culture. SAGE Publications. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-1-4462-9101-6.
  11. ^ a b Jacqueline Edmondson, ed. (2013). Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories that Shaped our Culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 317, 1233. ISBN 978-0-313-39348-8.
  12. ^ a b c Kevin Holm-Hudson, ed. (2013). Progressive Rock Reconsidered. Routledge. pp. 85–87. ISBN 978-1-135-71022-4.

Further reading

Arabic music

Arabic music (Arabic: الموسيقى العربية‎, translit. al-mūsīqā al-ʿArabīyah) is the music of the Arab people with all its different music styles and genres. Arabic countries have many styles of music and also many dialects; each country has its own traditional music.

Arabic music has a long history of interaction with many other regional musical styles and genres. It represents the music of all the peoples that make up the Arab world today, all the 22 states.

Avant-garde jazz

Avant-garde jazz (also known as avant-jazz) is a style of music and improvisation that combines avant-garde art music and composition with jazz. It originated in the 1950s and developed through the 1960s. Originally synonymous with free jazz, much avant-garde jazz was distinct from that style.


Bolero refers to two distinct genres of slow-tempo Latin music and their associated dances. The oldest type of bolero originated in Spain during the late 18th century as a form of ballroom music, which influenced art music composers around the world, most famously Maurice Ravel's Boléro, as well as a flamenco style known as boleras. An unrelated genre of sung music originated in eastern Cuba in the late 19th century as part of the trova tradition. This genre gained widespread popularity around Latin America throughout the 20th century and continues to thrive.

Classical music

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820 (the Classical period), this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period. The major time divisions of Western art music are as follows:

the ancient music period, before 500 AD

the early music period, which includes

the Medieval (500–1400) including

the ars antiqua (1170–1310)

the ars nova (1310–1377)

the ars subtilior (1360–1420)

the Renaissance (1400–1600) eras.

Baroque (1600–1750)

the galant music period (1720s–1770s)

the common-practice period, which includes

Baroque (1600–1750)

the galant music period (1720s–1770s)

Classical (1750–1820)

Romantic eras (c.1780–1910)

the 20th and 21st centuries (1901–present) which includes:

the modern (1890–1930) that overlaps from the late-19th century,

impressionism (1875 or 1890–1925) that also overlaps from the late-19th century

neoclassicism (1920–1950), predominantly in the inter-war period

the high modern (1930–present)

the postmodern (1930–present) eras

the experimental (1950–present)

contemporary (1945 or 1975–present)European art music is largely distinguished from many other non-European classical and some popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 11th century. Catholic monks developed the first forms of modern European musical notation in order to standardize liturgy throughout the worldwide Church. Western staff notation is used by composers to indicate to the performer the pitches (which form the melodies, basslines and chords), tempo, metre and rhythms for a piece of music. This can leave less room for practices such as improvisation and ad libitum ornamentation, which are frequently heard in non-European art music and in popular-music styles such as jazz and blues. Another difference is that whereas most popular styles adopt the song (strophic) form or a derivation of this form, classical music has been noted for its development of highly sophisticated forms of instrumental music such as the symphony, concerto, fugue, sonata, and mixed vocal and instrumental styles such as opera, cantata, and mass.The term "classical music" did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to distinctly canonize the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Ludwig van Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1829.

Contemporary classical music

Contemporary classical music can be understood as belonging to the period that started in the mid-1970s to early 1990s, which includes modernist, postmodern, neoromantic, and pluralist music. However, the term may also be employed in a broader sense to refer to all post-1945 musical forms.

Electronic music

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means (electroacoustic music), and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.The first electronic devices for performing music were developed at the end of the 19th century, and shortly afterward Italian futurists explored sounds that had not been considered musical. During the 1920s and 1930s, electronic instruments were introduced and the first compositions for electronic instruments were made. By the 1940s, magnetic audio tape allowed musicians to tape sounds and then modify them by changing the tape speed or direction, leading to the development of electroacoustic tape music in the 1940s, in Egypt and France. Musique concrète, created in Paris in 1948, was based on editing together recorded fragments of natural and industrial sounds. Music produced solely from electronic generators was first produced in Germany in 1953. Electronic music was also created in Japan and the United States beginning in the 1950s. An important new development was the advent of computers to compose music. Algorithmic composition with computers was first demonstrated in the 1950s (although algorithmic composition per se without a computer had occurred much earlier, for example Mozart's Musikalisches Würfelspiel).

In the 1960s, live electronics were pioneered in America and Europe, Japanese electronic musical instruments began influencing the music industry, and Jamaican dub music emerged as a form of popular electronic music. In the early 1970s, the monophonic Minimoog synthesizer and Japanese drum machines helped popularize synthesized electronic music.

In the 1970s, electronic music began having a significant influence on popular music, with the adoption of polyphonic synthesizers, electronic drums, drum machines, and turntables, through the emergence of genres such as disco, krautrock, new wave, synth-pop, hip hop and EDM. In the 1980s, electronic music became more dominant in popular music, with a greater reliance on synthesizers, and the adoption of programmable drum machines such as the Roland TR-808 and bass synthesizers such as the TB-303. In the early 1980s, digital technologies for synthesizers including digital synthesizers such as the Yamaha DX7 were popularized, and a group of musicians and music merchants developed the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI).

Electronically produced music became prevalent in the popular domain by the 1990s, because of the advent of affordable music technology. Contemporary electronic music includes many varieties and ranges from experimental art music to popular forms such as electronic dance music. Today, pop electronic music is most recognizable in its 4/4 form and more connected with the mainstream culture as opposed to its preceding forms which were specialized to niche markets.

Jewish music

Jewish music is the music and melodies of the Jewish people. There exist both traditions of religious music, as sung at the synagogue and domestic prayers, and of secular music, such as klezmer. While some elements of Jewish music may originate in biblical times, differences of rhythm and sound can be found among later Jewish communities that have been musically influenced by location. In the nineteenth century, religious reform led to composition of ecclesiastic music in the styles of classical music. At the same period, academics began to treat the topic in the light of ethnomusicology. Edward Seroussi has written, "What is known as 'Jewish music' today is thus the result of complex historical processes". A number of modern Jewish composers have been aware of and influenced by the different traditions of Jewish music.

List of classical music composers by era

This is a list of classical music composers by era.

List of musical genres by era

This is a list of musical forms and genres organized according to the eras of Classical music. The form of a musical composition refers to the general outline of the composition, based on the sections that comprise it or on specific details that are unique to a certain type of composition. For example, a rondo is based on alternation between familiar and novel sections (ABACA); a mazurka is defined by its meter and rhythm; a nocturne is based on the mood it creates, required to be inspired by or evocative of night. This list summarizes these broadly defined forms and genres within the musical periods that they arose or became common.


Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics (loudness and softness), and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture (which are sometimes termed the "color" of a musical sound). Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces (such as songs without instrumental accompaniment) and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; "art of the Muses").

See glossary of musical terminology.

In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form or cultural activity include the creation of works of music (songs, tunes, symphonies, and so on), the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, and the aesthetic examination of music. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Indeed, throughout history, some new forms or styles of music have been criticized as "not being music", including Beethoven's Grosse Fuge string quartet in 1825, early jazz in the beginning of the 1900s and hardcore punk in the 1980s. There are many types of music, including popular music, traditional music, art music, music written for religious ceremonies and work songs such as chanteys. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions–such as Classical music symphonies from the 1700s and 1800s, through to spontaneously played improvisational music such as jazz, and avant-garde styles of chance-based contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Music can be divided into genres (e.g., country music) and genres can be further divided into subgenres (e.g., country blues and pop country are two of the many country subgenres), although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to personal interpretation, and occasionally controversial. For example, it can be hard to draw the line between some early 1980s hard rock and heavy metal. Within the arts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art or as an auditory art. Music may be played or sung and heard live at a rock concert or orchestra performance, heard live as part of a dramatic work (a music theater show or opera), or it may be recorded and listened to on a radio, MP3 player, CD player, smartphone or as film score or TV show.

In many cultures, music is an important part of people's way of life, as it plays a key role in religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies (e.g., graduation and marriage), social activities (e.g., dancing) and cultural activities ranging from amateur karaoke singing to playing in an amateur funk band or singing in a community choir. People may make music as a hobby, like a teen playing cello in a youth orchestra, or work as a professional musician or singer. The music industry includes the individuals who create new songs and musical pieces (such as songwriters and composers), individuals who perform music (which include orchestra, jazz band and rock band musicians, singers and conductors), individuals who record music (music producers and sound engineers), individuals who organize concert tours, and individuals who sell recordings, sheet music, and scores to customers.

Music genre

A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Recently, academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated.Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways. The artistic nature of music means that these classifications are often subjective and controversial, and some genres may overlap. There are even varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between genre and form. He lists madrigal, motet, canzona, ricercar, and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, and the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form." Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, and that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can also differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may also be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, and the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will often include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an almost ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects".Among the criteria often used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art, popular, and traditional musics.

Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal, valence, and depth. Arousal reflects the energy level of the music; valence reflects the scale from sad to happy emotions, and depth reflects the level of emotional depth in the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres.

Music of Finland

The music of Finland can be roughly divided into the categories of folk music, classical and contemporary art music, and contemporary popular music.

The folk music of Finland is typically influenced by Karelian traditional tunes and lyrics of the Kalevala metre. Karelian heritage has traditionally been perceived as the purest expression of Finnic myths and beliefs, thought to be spared from Germanic and Slavic influences. In the west of the country, more mainstream Nordic folk music traditions prevail. The Sami people of northern Finland have their own musical traditions, collectively Sami music. Finnish folk music has undergone a roots revival in the recent decades, and has also become a part of popular music.

In the field of classical and contemporary art music, Finland has produced a proportionally exceptional number of musicians and composers.

Contemporary popular music includes a renowned heavy metal scene like other Nordic countries, as well as a number of prominent rock and pop bands, jazz musicians, hip hop performers and makers of dance music. There is also a Schlager scene with bandstand dancing where the local variety of tango is also popular.

Ottoman classical music

Classical Turkish music (Turkish: Türk sanat müziği, "Turkish art music"; or Klasik Türk müziği, "Classical Turkish music"), sometimes known as Ottoman classical music, developed in Istanbul and other major Ottoman cities and towns through the palaces and Sufi lodges of the Ottoman Empire. Above all a vocal music, Ottoman music traditionally accompanies a solo singer with a small instrumental ensemble. In recent times, instruments might include tambur (lute), ney (flute), kemençe (fiddle), keman (Western violin), kanun (zither), or other instruments. Sometimes described as monophonic music, the variety of ornamentation and variation in the ensemble requires the more accurate term heterophonic.

Persian traditional music

Persian traditional music or Iranian traditional music, also known as Persian classical music or Iranian classical music, refers to the classical music of Iran (also known as Persia). It consists of characteristics developed through the country's classical, medieval, and contemporary eras.Due to the exchange of musical science throughout history, many of Iran's classical melodies and modes are related to those of its neighboring cultures.

Iran's classical art music continues to function as a spiritual tool, as it has throughout history, and much less of a recreational activity. It belongs for the most part to the social elite, as opposed to the folkloric and popular music, in which the society as a whole participates. However, the parameters of Iran's classical music have also been incorporated into folk and pop music compositions.


Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in jazz and popular music). Singers perform music (arias, recitatives, songs, etc.) that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument (as in art song or some jazz styles) up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi (film songs).

Singing can be formal or informal, arranged or improvised. It may be done as a form of religious devotion, as a hobby, as a source of pleasure, comfort or ritual, as part of music education or as a profession. Excellence in singing requires time, dedication, instruction and regular practice. If practice is done on a regular basis then the sounds can become more clear and strong. Professional singers usually build their careers around one specific musical genre, such as classical or rock, although there are singers with crossover success (singing in more than one genre). They usually take voice training provided by voice teachers or vocal coaches throughout their careers.

University of Bergen

The University of Bergen (Norwegian: Universitetet i Bergen, Urban East Norwegian: [ʉnɪvæʂɪˈteːtə ɪ ˈbærɡn̩]) is a public university located in Bergen, Norway. The university today serves approximately 17,000 students, and is one of eight universities in Norway.

Vocal harmony

Vocal harmony is a style of vocal music in which a consonant note or notes are simultaneously sung as a main melody in a predominantly homophonic texture. Vocal harmonies are used in many subgenres of European art music, including Classical choral music and opera and in the popular styles from many Western cultures ranging from folk songs and musical theater pieces to rock ballads. In the simplest style of vocal harmony, the main vocal melody is supported by a single backup vocal line, either at a pitch which is above or below the main vocal line, often in thirds or sixths which fit in with the chord progression used in the song. In more complex vocal harmony arrangements, different backup singers may sing two or even three other notes at the same time as each of the main melody notes, mostly with consonant, pleasing-sounding thirds, sixths, and fifths (although dissonant notes may be used as short passing notes).

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.