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Music is an art form whose works consist of organized sound events . In order to generate them, acoustic material , such as tones , sounds and noises , is arranged within the range that can be heard by humans . From the supply of a sound system are scales formed. Their tones can appear in different volume or intensity ( dynamics ), tone color , pitch and tone duration . Melodies are created from the sequence of tones and, if necessary, pauses in a fixed time frame ( rhythm , meter and tempo , possibly embedded in bars ). The harmony of several tones ( chords ), each with a different pitch, gives rise to polyphony , and the relationship between the tones creates harmony . The conceptual capture, systematic representation of the connections and their interpretation is provided by music theory , teaching and learning music is dealt with in music education , and questions about musical design are mainly concerned with music aesthetics . Music is a cultural asset and an object of musicology .

Historical development

Prehistory and early history

The earliest known instruments that were specially made for making music are the bone flutes from Geißenklösterle on the Swabian Alb , which are exhibited in the Prehistoric Museum in Blaubeuren . They are around 35,000 years old. However, most anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists agree that music was part of everyday life for humans and their ancestors long before that. It is unclear why humans acquired musical abilities in the course of their evolution.

Early cultures without writing

Audio file / audio sample Song of the Bellakula Tribe ? / i fromBritish Columbia,Canada(seeNuxalk). Thepentatonicmelody has chord breaks and a pitch range of adecimal.

The birdsong has features that are mimetically imitated by humans , tone and tone group repetitions, tone series, motifs and main tones as approaches to a scale formation . Even in non-scripted cultures there are melody types that consist of constant repetitions of the same motif, consisting of a few tones within a third to fourth space. This construction feature is still preserved in Gregorian chant , in the sequences of the high Middle Ages and in numerous European folk songs with stanzas , e.g. B. in the Schnadahüpfl .

The rhythm is seldom tied to timing schemes or changes its classifications and accentuation frequently by adapting to the melodic phrasing. However, it is not shapeless, but rather polyrhythmic like traditional African music , which layers rhythmic patterns , especially when singing with accompanying idiophones . The offbeat later characteristic of jazz can also be found, i. H. the emphasis on the weak beats.

High cultures

For a period of millennia, the animistic and shamanistic non- scripted cultures practiced rites to conjure up spirits. Part of their ritual ceremonies were - and still are - drums , singing and dancing.

The ancient oriental writing cultures in Mesopotamia began in the 4th millennium BC. With the Sumerians . They invented the first multi-string chordophone, the lyre , which in the following centuries became a harp with four to ten strings and a sound box .

In ancient Egypt from around 2700 BC. The range of instruments was expanded to include the bow harp. During this time secular music and pure instrumental music also emerged.

There are only guesses about the beginnings of Indian music in the third millennium BC. She may have taken inspiration from Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures. Due to the immigration of the Aryans around 1500 BC Western influences came to India.

China already had fully developed music in ancient times. The most important suggestions came mainly from Mesopotamia. Own inventions were a scale system, pentatonic scales and a fixed pitch tuning. The compositions were unanimous and homophonic .


For a long time since its creation, music has been part of ritual and cult , but possibly also in the normal everyday life of the early high cultures , where it only later became an autonomous art . Just as many cultures do not have their own term for music up to the present day , which they understand as a unity of dance , cult and language, the μουσική, adopted from Greek antiquity , describes a unity of poetry , dance and music until the 4th century BC from which the latter was resolved by narrowing the terms. Nevertheless, she has retained her close relationship with poetry and dance, each of which has emerged as defining moments in the course of music history.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

While music in the Middle Ages was strongly characterized by numerical orders, under the influence of which it, as Ars musica, together with arithmetic , geometry and astronomy, formed the logical- argumentative quadrivium within the Artes liberales , the creative achievement of the composer was first acquired through practice in the Renaissance manual mastery preferred. At this time, instrumental works emerged in art music that tried to convey meaning without language or song. The prevailing idea of the 16th to the 18th century, already had Aristotelian poetics described mimesis , the imitation of external nature to the tone-painting and the inner nature of man in the affective representation .

With the beginning of rationalism in the 17th century, the creative aspect prevailed. In Romanticism , the personal-subjective experience and feeling and its metaphysical meaning were in the foreground. As extensions of musical expression and positions with regard to the ability of music to communicate extra-musical content, terms such as absolute music , program music and symphonic poetry emerged , around which an irreconcilable discussion broke out between the warring parties. At the same time was popular music more and more independent and grown since the end of the 19th century under the influence, among others, the African-American folk music to a separate branch that eventually jazz, pop and rock music spawned a variety each highly differentiated single genre. At the turn of the 20th century, music history research on the one hand met with greater interest and, on the other hand, sound recording allowed the technical reproduction of music, this gained in all its known historical, social and ethnic forms a presence and availability that continues to this day, thanks to mass media , recently increased by the digital revolution . This and the stylistic pluralism of modernism that began around 1910 , during which New Music reacted to changed social functions or only created it itself, justified a blurring of the previously traditional boundaries between genres, styles and categories of light and serious music, for example in emerging forms such as third stream , digital hardcore , crossover and world music . The musical thinking of postmodernism tends, in turn, to an aesthetic universalism that includes the extra-musical - multimedia or in the sense of a total work of art - or to new models of thought, as they have grown in cultures and philosophies outside the West.

Concept and concept history

Like the Latin musica, the word “music” is derived from the Greek μουσική τέχνη ( mousikḗ téchnē : “art of the muses , musical art , muse art”, especially “musical art, music”). The term music has seen several changes in meaning over the past millennia. From the art unit μουσική broke away in the 4th century BC. The musica , whose conception was initially that of a theory-capable, mathematically determined science. Regardless of the rest of the development towards fine art, this persisted into the 17th, and in Protestant circles into the 18th century. Until the decisive change in meaning that introduced today's concept of music, the term musica is not to be understood solely as “music theory”; its variety of definitions only arises from the perception of individual epochs, their classifications and differentiations.

Word origin and word history

The ancient Greek adjective mousikós (-ḗ, -ón) (μουσικός (-ή, -όν), from moûsa μοῦσα 'muse') first appeared in the female form in 476 BC in Pindar's first Olympic ode . The adjective mousikós (μουσικός) flowed as musicus (-a, -um) , concerning the music, musically; also: concerning poetry, poetic ', musicus (-i, m.) , musician, sound artist; also: Dichter ', musica (-ae, f.) and musice (-es, f.) ' Musenkunst, Musik (in the sense of the ancients, with the epitome of poetry) 'and musicalis (-e) ' musical 'in Latin Language a.

The Greek μουσική and the Latin musica finally entered the theoretical literature as technical terms . From there, almost all European languages ​​and Arabic took over the term in different spellings and accents . There are only a few languages ​​of their own, for example hudba in Czech and Slovak , glazba in Croatian , and Chinese yīnyuè (音乐), Korean ŭmak / eumak (음악), Japanese Ongaku (音 楽), Anglo-Saxon swēgcræft , Icelandic tónlist, Dutch toonkunst (besides muziek ), Danish tonekunst (next music ), norwegian tonekunst (next musikk ), swedish tonkonst (next music ). In the German language initially only the basic word appeared, Old High German mûseke and Middle High German mûsik . From the 15th century, derivatives such as musician or making music were formed. It was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the accent changed under the influence of French musique on the second syllable, as it is still valid today in standard German .

History of definition

The music aesthetician Eduard Hanslick defined music as “a language that we speak and understand but are unable to translate”. The question of what music is or not is is as old as thinking about music itself. Despite the numerous historical attempts to arrive at a general and fundamental concept of music, there was and is no single definition. The previous definitions each focused on one component of the music phenomenon. The history of definitions is marked by many contradictions: music as a rational, numerical science, music as emotional art, music in the Apollonian or Dionysian understanding, music as pure theory or pure practice - or as a unity of both components.


The music literature of antiquity produced numerous attempts at definition, which, however, are characterized by the fact that they put the musical material, the scale , and its mathematical foundations in the center and understood them as the nature of the tone structure.

middle Ages

Cassiodorus , who contributed to the development of the Seven Liberal Arts by combining ancient science and Christian faith , defined music as "(...) disciplina, quae de numeris loquitur" ("Music is knowledge that is expressed through numbers"). Alkuin and Rabanus Maurus followed this logical- rational understanding . Isidore von Sevilla spoke of “Musica est peritia modulationis sono cantique consistens” (“Music consists of the experience of the sounding rhythm and the song”). Dominicus Gundisalvi , Robert Kilwardby , Bartholomaeus Anglicus , Walter Odington and Johannes Tinctoris received this judgment, which is more sound and sensory .

Augustine's definition of the term underwent a major change in the Middle Ages through the treatise Dialogus de musica attributed to Odo von Cluny . He expanded the view to include a theological component by citing “concordia vocis et mentis” , the “unity between voice and spirit”, as the central point of making music. The idea was picked up by Philippe de Vitry . An anonymous treatise from the Middle Ages leads from "Musica est scientia veraciter canendi" ("Music is the science of true singing") that the sincerity of the singer is more important than theoretical knowledge and practical skill. This was found again in Johannes de Muris and Adam von Fulda .

Early modern age

The definitions Augustine and Boëthius continued to apply throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. At the same time, an interpretation related to music practice emerged, which became popular as "Musica est ars recte canendi" ("Music is the art of singing correctly") - although in the numerous papers also debite ("due"), perite ( "Knowledgeable"), certe ("sure") or rite ("according to custom or custom"). She appears u. a. with Johann Spangenberg , Heinrich Faber , Martin Agricola , Lucas Lossius , Adam Gumpelzhaimer and Bartholomäus Gesius , whose music-theoretical guides were used for teaching in Latin schools up to the 17th century , with singing being the main focus. Daniel Friderici quoted it as the German guiding principle music is the right art of singing in his Musica Figuralis (1619).

18th and 19th centuries

The rationalism of the 18th century is evident in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 's conceptualization : "Musica est exercitium arithmeticae occultum nescientis se numerare animi" ("Music is a hidden art of arithmetic of the mind that is unconscious of counting").

At the end of the 18th century, at the beginning of the Viennese Classicism and on the eve of the French Revolution , the rationalist concept of music replaced its diametrical opposite: a subjective , purely emotional definition prevailed. Whereas musicians such as composers and theorists had previously defined the term, the essential definitions from the artist's perspective were now provided by poets such as Wilhelm Heinse , Novalis , Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder and Jean Paul as the aesthetics merged into the romantic unity of the arts . The focus was on personal experience and feelings.

This is how Johann Georg Sulzer put it : "Music is a sequence of tones that arise from passionate feelings and consequently depict them." Heinrich Christoph Koch's phrase "Music is the art of expressing sensations through tones " is a model for the entire century . This seemed hardly changed from Gottfried Weber to Arrey von Dommer . The popular view that music is a “language of feelings”, which is still popular to the present day, has been widely recognized. The founder of historical musicology Johann Nikolaus Forkel expressed himself in this way, as did the composers Carl Maria von Weber , Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut and Richard Wagner . Wagner's concept of the total work of art shaped the further development.

Eduard Hanslick (1865)

During the transition from idealism to irrationalism it was noticeable that the music was elevated to the metaphysical and transcendent. So called Johann Gottfried Herder music a "revelation of the invisible" for Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling she was "nothing but the rhythm and the harmony he had heard of the visible universe itself" .

Echoes of the rationalist view are also present in 19th century musical thought. As early as 1826, Hans Georg Nägeli had called music a "moving play of tones and rows of tones" . In 1854, Eduard Hanslick found in the music- aesthetic basic writing From musical-beautiful to the concise formula that the content and object of music are only "sounding forms" . Before the dispute over program music against absolute music , he became the spokesman for an aesthetic party.

From the 20th century

Arnold Schönberg (1948)
Igor Stravinsky

Ernst Kurth's turn to the irrational forces of music was still under the influence of the 19th century in his late work, Romantic Harmonics and its Crisis in Wagner's “ Tristan (1920): “Music is the projected radiation of far more powerful primal processes whose forces revolve in the inaudible . What is commonly referred to as music is really just its fading away. Music is a force of nature in us, a dynamic of volitional impulses. ” In 1926 , Hans Pfitzner's musical thinking was still rooted in the spirit of late Romanticism , especially in Schopenhauer's view: “ Music [is] the image of the world itself, that is, of the will by reproducing its innermost emotions. "

In stylistic pluralism from modern times onwards, no valid statements can be made about the nature of music, since the composers individually decide on their aesthetic views. Since then they have based their definition of music on their own composition practice. Arnold Schönberg referred in his theory of harmony (1913) to the ancient idea of ​​a mimetic art, but at the same time assigned it the status of the highest and most extreme spirituality.

“At the lowest level, art is a simple imitation of nature. But soon it is an imitation of nature in the broader sense of the term, that is, not just an imitation of external but also of internal nature. In other words: it then does not just represent objects or occasions that make an impression, but above all these impressions themselves. At its highest level, art is exclusively concerned with the reproduction of inner nature. Its purpose is only to imitate the impressions that have now entered into connections to new complexes and new movements through association with one another and with other sensory impressions. "

- Arnold Schönberg : Harmony

In contrast, Igor Stravinsky categorically denied the expressiveness of music. Its neoclassical definition ties in with the medieval conception of music as a principle of world order.

“Because I am of the opinion that music is essentially incapable of 'expressing' anything, whatever it may be: a feeling, an attitude, a psychological state, a natural phenomenon or whatever. The 'expression' is never one has been an intrinsic property of music, and in no way is its raison d'etre dependent on 'expression'. If, as is almost always the case, the music seems to express something, it is illusion and not reality. (...) The phenomenon of music is given for the sole purpose of establishing an order between things and, above all, of establishing an order between people and time. "

- Igor Stravinsky : Chroniques de ma vie

General definitions were seldom made after 1945. On the one hand, since the beginning of the modern era , attempts to determine what was going on had always referred exclusively to art music and largely ignored popular music - dance and salon music , operetta and musical , jazz , pop , rock music and electronic music styles such as techno and industrial, etc. On the other hand, the trend continued towards designs that some composers only undertook for themselves, sometimes only for individual works . These definitions were sometimes based on anchoring in the transcendental, e.g. B. Karlheinz Stockhausen , but occasionally also under the influence of Happening , Fluxus , Zen and other intellectual ideas radical redefinitions up to "non-music" or the idea of ​​music of the actually imaginable, as z. B. John Cage put it: "The music I prefer, even to my own or anybody elses's, is what we are hearing if we are just quiet." ("The music I prefer, my own or the music of others, is what we hear when we are just silent.")

Classifications of the concept of music

According to modern understanding, the term music is sounding and perceptible sound . However, this meaning only emerged in a process that lasted for over two millennia and produced a variety of classifications that reflect the respective understanding of the world at the time of its creation.


Like the first definitions, the first distinctions between theory and practice had their origins in antiquity . The pair of terms goes back to Aristoxenus in the 4th century BC. BC back. Plutarch made a further differentiation of the theoretical components with the subdivision into harmony (as the relationship between the tones, the melody is meant), rhythm and metrics . While Plutarch's classification was still in use until the 16th century, the comparison of Aristoxenus is still valid today.

A further subdivision was made by Aristeides Quintilianus . He introduces acoustics as a theory of sound in the theoretical area and music education in the practical area . He attributed melodies and rhythms to musical practice, which he also expanded to include the teaching of the human voice and musical instruments .

Middle Ages and early modern times

The spherical harmony found its last and most extensive description in Johannes Kepler's Harmonices mundi (1619). From the planetary movements he calculated tone ratios, from the speeds of the bodies in the apses numerical ratios, each corresponding to an interval:
Mercury : small decimals - Venus : Diësis - Earth : semitone - Mars : fifth - Jupiter : minor third - Saturn : major third

At the transition to the early Middle Ages , Boethius divided music into three parts. The first is the musica mundana , the idea , known since Pythagoras, of an inaudible but conceivable music of the spheres as cosmological numerical relationships of the planetary orbits . The second is the musica humana , which acts as a divine harmony of body and soul. The third is the musica instrumentalis , the actually sounding and audible music - this in turn is divided into the instrumentum naturale , i.e. H. the vocal music produced by the “natural instrument” and the instrumentum artificiale , i.e. the instrumental music that produces the “artificial sound tools”.

Around 630, Isidore of Seville classified the sounding music into three areas according to the type of tone generation: first, the musica harmonica , vocal music, second, the musica rhythmica , the music of string and percussion instruments , third, the musica organica , the music of the wind instruments . He gave the terms harmony and rhythm for the first time a second meaning that went beyond Plutarch.

At the end of the 8th century, Regino von Prüm reclassified music by combining its parts into two larger areas. This is on the one hand the musica naturalis , the harmony of spheres and body-soul produced by God's creation as well as the sung music, on the other hand the musica artificialis of the artificial sound generator invented by man , i.e. H. all types of instruments. In the 9th / 10th In the 19th century, Al-Fārābī unified the previous systematics into the pair of theory and practice; he only counted speculative music viewing as theory, i.e. in the broader sense all music philosophy , and practice all other areas that relate to active music practice with its technical foundations. The medieval classifications were received well into the 17th century, a processing of Boëthius even afterwards, as in Pietro Cerone , Athanasius Kircher or Johann Mattheson .

In addition to the main systematics, classifications also appeared in literature from the Middle Ages onwards that attempted to organize the individual areas of music according to other aspects. The following pairs of opposites appeared:

  • musica plana or musica choralis (monophonic music) versus musica mensuralis or musica figuralis (polyphonic music)
  • musica recta or musica vera (music from the diatonic set of notes) versus musica falsa or musica ficta (music from the chromatic set of notes)
  • musica regulata (art music) versus musica usualis (everyday, i.e. folk music )

A first sociological approach was around 1300 the distinction of Johannes de Grocheo , who divided music into three areas:

  • musica simplex vel civilis vel vulgaris pro illitteratis , the "simple, bourgeois, folk music for the uneducated", d. H. any form of secular music
  • musica composita vel regularis vel canonica pro litteratis , the "regularly and artistically composed music for the educated", d. H. the early polyphony
  • musica ecclesiastica , church music, d. H. the Gregorian chant

From the 16th century

In the 16th century the terms musica reservata and musica poetica appeared , the former as a term for the new style of expression in Renaissance music , the latter as a term for composition . Together with the new forms musica theoretica and musica practica , this established itself within a tripartite division based on ancient models. At the same time, it marks the first steps towards a re-evaluation of the composer , who was previously considered to be a skilful “composer” and who is now gradually rising to a creative artistic personality in the social fabric.

The theorists of the 16th century, first and foremost Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg , Jakob Adlung and Jean-Jacques Rousseau , initially pursued the ancient distinction between theory and practice. They divided the theory into four subjects, acoustics, canonics (the study of forms and proportions), grammar (the study of intervals ) and aesthetics ; they divided the practice into composition and execution, i.e. production and reproduction of the musical work of art.

Lexicography and terminology

The linguist Kaspar von Stieler introduced the most common German-language terms into lexicography with his dictionary Der Teutschen Sprache Genealogy and Fortwachs (1691) . Buzzwords such as church music , chamber music and table music were listed here for the first time. The diverse compounds on the basic word music in relation to instrumentation ( harmony music ) , function ( film music ) or technology ( serial music ) originated here. At this point, the use of language also changed, which always meant sounding, sensually perceivable music in the basic word music and now finally departed from the theoretical concept of musica . As a further contribution to the terminology , Johann Gottfried Walther worked out a large number of definitions in the Musicalisches Lexikon (1732), such as B. the historical terms musica antica and musica moderna or the ethnological musica orientalis and musica occidentalis .

Musical material

The source material of sounding music are sound events , i. H. Tones ( periodic oscillations ), noises (non-periodic oscillations), in individual cases noise (oscillations with statistically normal frequency changes ) and bang (impulsive, non-periodic energy boost without tone character). They are at the same time their naturally occurring basis, which arises without human intervention, but can also be created willingly by humans and their individual parameters can be changed.

None of the parameters should be viewed independently of the others. In the conscious control of the individual sizes, tones and sounds are created , in the narrower sense the materials from which principles of order emerge that can be used to create any complex space-time structures: melody , rhythm , harmony . From them, in turn, musical works ultimately emerge in a creative process .

On the one hand, the musical material is subject to physical laws, such as the overtone series or numerical ratios , and on the other hand, due to the way it is generated with the human voice , with musical instruments or with electrical tone generators, it has certain tonal characteristics .

In addition to the ordered acoustic material, the music contains the second elementary component, the spiritual idea, which - like form and content - does not stand next to the material, but rather forms a holistic form with it. Tradition and history emerge from dealing with the spiritual figure.


Main article: Musicology

As a curriculum, musicology comprises those scientific disciplines in the humanities , cultural , social and scientific- technical context, the content of which is the research and reflective representation of music in its various historical, social, ethnic or national manifestations. The subject of musicology is all forms of music, its theory, its production and reception, its functions and effects as well as its appearance, from the musical source material sound to complex individual works.

Since the 20th century, musicology has been divided into three sub-areas, historical musicology , systematic musicology and music ethnology . This structure is not always strictly adhered to. While on the one hand ethnomusicology can also be assigned to the systematic branch, on the other hand practical areas are referred to as applied musicology.

Historical research areas in musicology tend to be idiographical , that is, they describe the object in historical change, the systematic ones tend to be nomothetic , i.e. H. they seek to make general statements that are independent of space and time. Regardless of this, the scientific paradigms of the two areas are not to be regarded as absolute, since historical musicology also tries to recognize laws over the course of time, while systematics and ethnology take the historical changes in their subjects into account.

Historical musicology encompasses all sub-disciplines of musical historiography and is mainly devoted to the development of sources on European art, folk and popular music. Systematic musicology, on the other hand, is more strongly influenced than its historically oriented parallel branch by the humanities and social sciences, natural and structural sciences, and uses their epistemological and empirical methods.

The ethnomusicology deals with the music existing in the customs of the ethnic groups . Of interest are both the musical cultures of indigenous peoples who do not have writing and notation, as well as - from a historical point of view - the music of the advanced cultures and their influences. Important research topics are sound systems , rhythms, instruments, theory, genres and forms of music against the background of religion, art, language, sociological and economic order. In view of migration and globalization , inter- and transcultural phenomena are also taken into account.

Beyond the canon of musicological disciplines, music is the subject of research z. B. in mathematics and communication science , medicine and neuroscience , archeology , literature and theater studies . A distinction must be made in each individual case whether it is music as the research object of other sciences or whether musicology investigates non-musical areas. Music therapy occupies a special position, combining medical and psychological knowledge and methods with those of music education.

Music as a system of signs

Music can also be viewed as a system of signs, among other things. In this way, music can communicate intended meanings in active, understanding listening. Hearing represents a structuring process in which the listener distinguishes iconic , indexical and symbolic sign qualities and processes them cognitively . On the one hand, this is based on people's primal experiences of hearing and assigning sound events pictorially - e.g. B. Thunder as a threatening natural event - and to reflect emotionally, on the other hand on the aesthetic appropriation of the acoustic environment. This ranges from the functionalization of the clay structures as signals to the symbolic transcendence of entire works .

Music and language

The view of the origin of music from the origin of the language or their common origin from one origin is based on cultural anthropology . It is rooted in the ideas at the beginning of cultures. Reflections of the early non-scripted cultures can also be found in the present among primitive peoples , sometimes in animistic or magical form. The formula mentioned at the beginning of the Gospel of John "In the beginning was the word" ( Joh 1,1  LUT ) describes one of the oldest thoughts of mankind, the origin of word and sound from a divine act of creation. It occurs in almost all high cultures , in Egypt as the cry or laughter of the god Thoth , in Vedic culture as the immaterial and inaudible sound of the world, which is the original substance, which is gradually transformed into matter and becomes the created world. The creation myths often trace the materialization of the phonetic material of the word and language.

Overlaps of music and language can be found in some areas; both have structure and rhetoric . There is no syntax in the classical sense of music and semantics is usually only due to additional linguistic elements, or can arise from encryption within its written form. But the latter is not necessarily audible. Music is therefore not a language, but only language-like.

A main difference between the two is the ability to express and communicate semantic content. Music cannot convey denotations . It is language only in the metaphorical sense; it does not communicate anything that is designated . Rather, it is a game with tones (and rows of tones). In order to “understand” music aesthetically, the listener has to understand the internal musical definition processes that organize the music as a system, e. B. recognize dissonances in need of resolution depending on a tonal context . Where there is a linguistic similarity, as in music based on regular rhetoric in the sense of the liberal arts in the Middle Ages and in the Baroque , the listener can basically hear the same music as music without understanding or knowledge of the rules and without knowledge of a symbolic context. Musical thinking and poetic thinking are autonomous.

Structural differences

Audio file / audio sample A fallacy ? / i is not a statement that could logically be “true” or “false”. It only builds up a context of meaning within the music.

There is also no syntactic order that would be semantically supported in music. There are neither logical connections nor true or false "statements" on the basis of which one can formulate an aesthetic judgment about their meaning. Logical statements can always be made in the form of language, while musical "statements" can only be made within music through music. So realized z. For example, a chord progression that ends in a fallacy has no extra-musical meaning, but only acquires its meaning within the musical syntax within which it establishes relationships.

The sign systems of language and music are therefore fundamentally different. While language says , the music shows that it processes sensory impressions into ideas , which it in turn presents to the sensual experience. While the language, u. a. With the help of definitions, aiming at clarity , the arts pursue the opposite goal: not the material meanings, but the potential human values ​​are the semantic field of art, which extends to all possible connotations . So, in order to understand it aesthetically at all, music needs an interpretation.

Music is often understood as the “language of feelings”. She is able to describe emotions, affects and states of motivation and to make them accessible to the listener through expression patterns. However, these are not linguistic signs either, as they ultimately appear as a continuum in an “emotional space”, depending on their psychophysiological basis. H. occur not only as different emotional qualities, but in interactions and ambivalent states and processes. The gesture of their expression is not an expansionless logical structure - as it is present in the pair of concepts of the signifying and the signified - but of a temporal nature. It can be structured in terms of time, but also through overlapping emotions, e.g. B. in the emotional continuum "joy + sadness → anger". An upswing can already have grief in it or vice versa. The basic principle that makes gestural forms the meaning of musical signs is an analog coding that uses indexical or iconic signs for expression - they do not correspond to a single cognitive content, but to a class of cognitive correlates . This can also be seen in the case of several settings of the same text that are perceived to be differently appropriate, just as, conversely, the same music can be placed under several texts that each appear more or less suitable.

Icon and index

Audio file / audio sample Mannheim sigh ? / i , popular means of expression in the pre-classical period

The reference relations icon and index can basically be transferred to music. However, they cannot always be categorized . The same sign, the cuckoo call, appears as a falling third or fourth , in the musical context with different meanings: iconic as an acoustic image in the folk song Cuckoo, Cuckoo, calls from the forest , indexically as an expression of the experience of nature at the end of the scene at the brook from Ludwig van Beethoven 6th symphony , finally symbolic for the whole of nature at the beginning of the first movement of Gustav Mahler's 1st symphony .

The most noticeable forms of indexical sign usage are prosodic features , the intonation or coloring of the voice as used in the singing itself. This also includes stylizations such as the “sigh” of the Mannheim School , a clay figure made of a falling small second , which appears very often in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's work and was already considered a sign of (emotional) pain in the baroque doctrine of affect .

Iconic signs can be found above all in descriptive music, in program music as well as in film music . In the latter, the process known as Mickey Mousing is primarily used to synchronously imitate the visual characters of the film. There are also examples of the iconic use of signs in the doctrine of affect, e.g. B. in the word-tone relationship , according to which high or low tones stood for "heaven" and "hell".


The widest range of signs is symbolic . It is no longer a question of images, but rather a representation of symbols based on convention . It is not semiotically meaningful, but conveys a content that is mostly extra-musical. This can apply to all elements of music: to the key of C major , which in the 1st scene of the 2nd act of Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck expresses the banality of money, to an interval like the tritone , which is called “Diabolus in Musica “Has stood for evil since the Middle Ages, on the single tone d ', which in Bernd Alois Zimmermann's work for deus , d. H. God stands, or a rhythm that embodies fate in the final movement of Mahler's 6th Symphony . It is not possible to listen out without prior knowledge of the symbolic content. Entire musical works such as national , national and corporate anthems also have a symbolic content.

In individual cases, symbolic content is used as ciphers , e.g. B. as a sequence of notes BACH , which was used musically by Johann Sebastian Bach himself and by many other composers, or in Dmitri Shostakovich's name sign D-Es-CH , which the composer used thematically in many of his works.

A mannerist fringe phenomenon of symbolism is eye music , which transports the symbolic content of the music not through its sound, but through the notation , in which the musical quality of symbols is visualized so that they are only revealed to the reader of a score .


Signals are a special case in the border area between music and acoustic communication. They are generally used to a information to transmit and trigger a desired action. The quality of their drawing has to attract attention, for example through high volume or high frequencies . If they are to provide precise information on a bindingly defined action, they must be clearly distinguishable. In the narrower (musical) sense, this applies above all to military and hunting signals . However, semantizations can also be found in this area. The hunting signal fox dead, for example, which gives the hunting party information, is composed of musical images. An iconic description of the jumping of the fox and the fatal shot is followed by a stylized lament for the dead and the symbolic Halali . The signal begins with a three-time initial bell that prompts you to cross. The following verse is rung twice for the death of a woman and three times for the death of a man. The repetition of the beginning marks the end of the message. Other acoustic signal forms such as tower bubbles or bells also use simple rhythmic or melodic designs. In a broader sense, this character quality also occurs with sequential horns or ring tones .

Drawing process

In a metaphysical universality as formulated by Charles S. Peirce for the process of semiosis , i.e. H. for the interaction of sign, object and interpreter , the musical signs can belong to different modes of being . In the ontological or phenomenological framework, they are or appear in different categories analogous to a transcendental deduction : as being, iconic or indexical as a carrier of a function or in a dimension related to the human being, as a symbol beyond the human dimension, and finally as transcendent.

thing in itself Being and function Being and meaning Meaning without being
4th as overtone Tempered fourths on the piano Quarts as a tone cipher (e.g. as a monogram a – d for “ Antonín Dvořák ” in his 6th symphony) Fourth in the harmony of the spheres
Birdsong in nature Imitated birdsong as a lure Bird song as a symbol of nature, e.g. B. in Beethoven's 6th symphony Birdsong on the Day of Judgment as a sign of reconciliation (in Mahler's 2nd Symphony )
Audio file / audio sample Ludwig van Beethoven: 1st symphony, 4th movement ? / i . The scale rises step by step, the composer builds up tension: he leaves the listener in the dark about the key for a long time.

Not all appearances or art structures reach the level of transcendence; it is only the last conceivable stage towards which the process of semiosis tends. The categorization is never to be viewed statically, signs can be used in a musical context, i.e. H. also change their quality in the flow of time or give them a different functionality. At the beginning of the final movement of Beethoven's 1st Symphony , the listener takes up an asemantic tone figure that always begins on the same keynote and increases with each new entry; the “scale”, which is not initially determined in its key, since it can have both the tonic and the dominant reference, is functionalized with the onset of the faster main tempo as a motivic component of the first theme . However, the listener can only make this assignment retrospectively from the auditory impression, so that he cognitively processes the semiotic process only from the context of a larger unit.

Music and visual arts

Although ostensibly music as a pure contemporary art and transitory, i. H. In contrast to the static-permanent spatial arts, painting , sculpture , drawing , graphics and architecture appear temporarily , as they are shaped by their spatial and non-temporal ideas and have also influenced them with their perceptions of temporality and proportion. Terms such as “tone space”, “ tone color ” or “hue”, “high / low” tones and “light / dark” sounds and similar synaesthetic expressions , the ambiguity of “composition” in musical thinking and in that of the visual arts are part of the ubiquitous description vocabulary . The experience that an acoustic effect such as reverberation or echo only occurs in connection with the room is part of the primal possession of humans. Since the earliest theoretical approaches, parallels between acoustic and spatial-visual art forms have been identified.

There are also similarities between music and the visual arts in terms of art historical epochs, for example in connection with the Baroque era . Since no clear delimitation of the epochs can be made, the terms form theory (music) and art style are used.

Music and architecture

Ferruccio Busoni
Iannis Xenakis (1975)

The idea of ​​the relationship between music and architecture has existed since ancient times . It is based on common mathematical principles. The Pythagoreans understood the interval proportions as an expression of a cosmic harmony . In their opinion, music was a mode of numerical harmony that also yields consonant intervals in vibrating strings if their lengths are in simple integer ratios. The proportions of numbers were considered an expression of beauty until the early modern times , just like the arts that use numbers, measurements and proportions were considered suitable for creating beautiful things in antiquity and the Middle Ages . Vitruvius's architectural theoretical writing De architectura libri decem made explicit reference to ancient music theory , which he described as the basis for understanding architecture.

Medieval architecture took up ancient ideas in a Christian sense. The Gothic often showed interval proportions in the main dimensions of the church buildings. The temple of Solomon was exemplary , its shape u. a. Peter saw Abelardus as a consonant. Complex mathematical phenomena such as the golden ratio and the Fibonacci sequence were also interpreted in Christian terms. They appear equally in Filippo Brunelleschi's dome design of Santa Maria del Fiore and in Guillaume Dufay's motet Nuper rosarum flores (1436). The work for the consecration of the Duomo of Florence shows the same numerical proportions in the course of the voice and work structure that determined the architecture of the dome.

During the Renaissance, the theorist Leon Battista Alberti defined a theory of architecture based on the Vitruvian theory of proportions. He developed ideal proportions for room sizes and heights, area subdivisions and room heights. Andrea Palladio's Quattro libri dell'architettura (1570) systematized this theory of proportions on the basis of thirds , which were first recognized as consonant intervals in Gioseffo Zarlino's Le istituzioni armoniche (1558). This brought about a change in harmony that extends to the present day .

Under the influence of modern music aesthetics , the musical numerical reference gradually faded into the background in architectural theory. The taste judgment as a criterion of the aesthetic assessment prevailed. It was not until the 20th century that numerical proportions, as architectural and musical parameters, once again took on the rank of constructive elements. In the architectural field, this was Le Corbusier's Modulor system. His pupil Iannis Xenakis developed the architectural idea in New Music in the composition Métastasis (1953/54) . He then implemented the compositional design in the design of the Philips Pavilion at the Expo 58 in Brussels .

Synthetic art forms

Among the synthetic art forms that emerged after the end of the universally valid principle of harmony, Richard Wagner's concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk became important for the 19th century. The architecture assumed a serving position in the realization of the musical idea. She had the practical space environment for the unity of the arts, i.e. H. of musical drama . Wagner realized his claims in the festival theater built by Otto Brückwald in Bayreuth .

The Expressionism took the early 20th century on the art synthesis. The central vision of allowing people to overcome social boundaries led to many art designs, some of which were never realized. This included Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin's spherical “Temple” for the Mystery (1914), a work of revelation composed of word, sound, color, movement and fragrance.

The art movements of the second half of the 20th century integrated musical elements in multimedia forms, in "sound sculptures" and "sound architecture". Architecture was increasingly given a temporal component, music a spatial component. Karlheinz Stockhausen combined his ideas of spatial music in a ball auditorium, which he installed at the Expo '70 in Osaka . The listeners sat on a sound-permeable floor, surrounded by electronic music . The loudspeakers distributed in the room made it possible to move the sounds in the room.

Architecture and room acoustics

San Marco in Venice (Carlo Ponti, 1860s)
Altes Leipziger Gewandhaus (watercolor by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy , 1836)

The St. Mark's was one of the early experimental rooms for music. The composers researched the spatial effect of several sound bodies and implemented the results in new compositions.

The old Leipzig Gewandhaus consisted of only one upper floor. Nonetheless, from 1781 to 1884 it experienced the flourishing orchestral culture of German Romanticism.

The multi-choir developed in the 16th century , which was cultivated among the European music centers especially at the Venetian St. Mark's Basilica , used the effect of several ensembles in the room. Chamber music and church music separated according to instrumentation , rules of composition and presentation style. They adapted to the acoustics of their performance locations. To this end, the architecture developed its own room types, which were dedicated to music and created acoustically advantageous conditions for its performance. The first chambers were built in the princely palaces, later in castles and city apartments. This also changed listening behavior: music was heard for its own sake, free of functional ties and for pure enjoyment of art.

The public concert industry emerged in London towards the end of the 17th century . Music events no longer took place in ballrooms, taverns or churches, but in specially built concert halls . Although the halls only held a few hundred listeners at that time, had no fixed seating and served all kinds of festive occasions in addition to music, they already had significantly improved room acoustics , in which the orchestral music came into its own. The first building of the Leipzig Gewandhaus (1781) was exemplary . After its design as a narrow and long box hall with a stage podium and level parquet , many more halls were built in the 19th century that the culturally interested bourgeoisie used as places of music care.

In particular, the symphonic works of romantic music with their enlarged orchestra profited from the concert halls. The acoustics of these halls combined richness of sound with transparency ; the narrow design led to strong reflection of the side sound, the large room volume in relation to the interior area optimized the reverberation time to an ideal level of one and a half to two seconds. The size of the halls - they now held around 1,500 listeners - resulted from the fact that subscription concerts had established themselves as part of the city's cultural life. The most important concert venues of this era are the Great Hall of the Wiener Musikverein (1870), the New Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1884) and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (1888).

New technical possibilities and the need to consistently use halls economically changed architecture in the modern age. Cantilever balconies, artistically designed halls in asymmetrical or funnel shape and a capacity of up to 2,500 seats characterized the concert halls in the 20th century. The Philharmonie in Berlin and the Royal Festival Hall in London were two important representatives of new building types. The latter was the first concert hall to be built according to acoustic calculations. Since the 1960s there has been a trend towards building halls with variable acoustics that are suitable for different types of music.

Music and visual arts

WA Hartmann : Gate of Kiev (1866)

The manifold relationships between music and the visual arts have been drawn historically through the theoretical consideration of both arts as well as through practical work, which was reflected in mutual influences. Visual artists and composers increasingly included other art in their work, formed project-related working groups or created multimedia works together. A number of works of painting found their way into music: The Battle of the Huns (Liszt) , Pictures at an Exhibition , The Island of the Dead . This picture by Arnold Böcklin inspired Max Reger , Sergei Wassiljewitsch Rachmaninow and other composers to write symphonic poems . This contrasts with portraits of composers and countless genre images of musicians, which also serve as research material for iconography .

Parallel developments are not always evident. Only parts of the history of style found an equivalent in the opposite side. Art historical terms such as symbolism , impressionism or art nouveau can neither be clearly distinguished from one another nor easily transferred to music. If, for example, a comparison is drawn between the pictorial figures of Claude Monet and the “ impressionistic ” music of Claude Debussy and is explained by the blurring of the form or the representation of the atmosphere, this is in contradiction to Debussy's aesthetic. Likewise, parallel phenomena such as New Objectivity cannot be explained one-dimensionally, but only from their respective tendencies; while it was a demarcation from Expressionism in art and literature , it turned against Romanticism in music .

Ancient and Middle Ages

The ancient relationship between the arts clearly separated the metaphysical claims of music and the visual arts. The dual form of μουσική - on the one hand art, on the other hand the intellectual preoccupation with it - was valued as an ethical and educational asset. Painting, however, was considered bad and only produced bad, as Plato's Politeia explains, since it is only an art of imitation . The difference, which is by no means to be understood aesthetically, was based on the Pythagorean doctrine, which understood music to be a reflection of cosmic harmony in the form of interval proportions. So painting found no place in the Artes Liberales .

This view persisted into late antiquity. The Byzantine iconoclasm represented the most violent politically and religiously motivated rejection of art, which, however, did not affect music: as a reshaped symbol of the divine world order of measure and number, it found its way into Christian cult and the liturgy . The Middle Ages codified this separation and added the visual arts to the canon of Artes mechanicae .

From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

Leonardo's Vitruvian Man redefined the proportion of the arts. Painting was no longer the leading art of the Renaissance; no longer the cosmic , but the body proportions were the frame of reference. The upgrading of painting to fine art began in the Renaissance with reference to the creative work of visual artists. It was still placed under music, which in Leon Battista Alberti's art theory becomes a model for architecture, on the other hand it already stood above poetry . Leonardo da Vinci undertook the first scientification of painting , for whom she surpassed music, since her works can be permanently sensually experienced while music fades away. This process began against the background of secular humanism , which gave art neither a political nor a religious meaning.

The Age of Enlightenment finally placed the human being as the observing and feeling subject in the center. From this positioning of autonomous art over science, the understanding of art developed, which has prevailed up to the present day. The arts subsequently developed their own aesthetic theories.

18th and 19th centuries

Since Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten's Aesthetica (1750/58), art itself has moved closer to philosophy or is viewed as a separate philosophical discipline. With this, music lost its special position within the arts and was incorporated into the fine arts, which redefined their hierarchy through their own aesthetics. Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment (1790) also included it in the pleasant arts; H. As beautiful art it is now superior to painting, but as pleasant art it is subordinate to it because it means more enjoyment than culture.

A fundamental shift occurred in romantic aesthetics, which sought to fuse the arts and ideals of art. This becomes evident in Robert Schumann's parallelization of art views.

“The educated musician will be able to study a Raphael's Madonna with the same benefit as the painter can study a Mozart's symphony. Even more: for the sculptor every actor becomes a quiet statue, for him the works of the other become living figures; for the painter the poem becomes a picture, the musician transforms the painting into sounds. "

- Robert Schumann, From Master Raro's, Florestan's and Eusebius' Thinking and Poetry Booklet

The music in Arthur Schopenhauer's recourse to antiquity was uniqueness ; In The World as Will and Idea (1819) he denies its mimetic properties.

Art theories in the 19th and 20th centuries

In the late 19th century, art history and musicology were established in the humanities faculties . Music was thus separated from the visual arts and architecture in its academic view.

The symbolist and impressionist painting, music and literature and the beginning of abstraction changed the relationship through increasing reflection of the artists on the neighboring arts, which also included aspects of their own work. Paul Gauguin was influenced by a romantic understanding of music :

“Think also of the musical part that will play the role of color in modern painting in the future. The color is just as vibration as music is able to achieve what is the most general and yet least clear in nature: its inner power. "

- Paul Gauguin , letter to André Fontainas (1899)

Henri Matisse described his creative process as musical. With his work Über das Geistige in der Kunst (1912), Wassily Kandinsky redeemed Goethe's criticism that painting “(...) has long since lacked knowledge of the thoroughbass (...) [and] an established, approved theory of how it is the case in music ” . He interpreted it as a prophetic utterance heralding a kinship between the arts, especially music and painting. This is meant as a reference back to the cosmological principle as it appeared to the Pythagoreans for the metaphysical foundation of music, and at the same time as its extension to the visual arts. Paul Klee followed suit in his Bauhaus lectures in that he used musical terminology to explain the visual arts. Later he designed an art poetics based on questions of music theory.

The relationship between music and the visual arts after 1945 grew out of aesthetic theoretical approaches. The focus was on a systematic classification of the two arts. In his view, Theodor W. Adorno necessarily separated them into music as temporal art and painting as spatial art. He saw crossing borders as a negative tendency.

"As soon as one art imitates the other, it distances itself from it by denying the compulsion of its own material and degenerates into syncretism in the vague idea of ​​an undialectical continuum of arts in general."

- Theodor W. Adorno : About some relations between music and painting

He recognized that the arts are systems of signs and are of the same content that they allow art to convey. However, he thought the differences were more important than the similarities. For Nelson Goodman , the problems of art differentiation presented themselves as epistemological , so that he wanted to put a symbol theory in place of an aesthetic theory in general . As the boundary of the aesthetic to the non-aesthetic he looked at the difference of exemplification and denotation : either during the Visual Arts autographic because their works after the creative process are (which is also original and fake differ) is the two-phase music allographisch because their listed works require a performance first - although this distinction only extends to art.


Musicality encompasses a multi-graded field of characteristics of mutually dependent talents and learnable skills. It is not to be understood as an absolute measure as it can appear in many different active and passive forms. There are numerous test models for measuring musicality, of which u. a. the Seashore test is used as part of entrance exams. Basically, musicality is universally present in every person .

Music-related perception includes recognizing and differentiating pitches, tone durations and volume levels. The perfect pitch comes at the performance of the long-term memory is of particular importance. These skills also include the ability to grasp and retain melodies , rhythms , chords and timbres . With increasing experience in dealing with music, the ability to classify music stylistically and to evaluate it aesthetically develops . Practical musicality includes the productive skills of technically mastering the voice or a musical instrument and using them to create musical works artistically.

A musical disposition is a prerequisite for musicality to develop to an appropriate degree. However, it is not the cause of this, so that intensive support - for example at music high schools or through support for the gifted - enables the full expression of musicality to develop.

Aesthetic aspects

With the increasing complexity of its manifestations, music emerges as an art form that develops its own outlook and aesthetics . In the course of history - in Europe since the late Middle Ages on the border with the Renaissance - the individual work of the individual composer comes to the fore, which is now considered in music historiography in its temporal and social position. Since then, the musical work of art has been regarded as the will of expression of its creator, who thus refers to the musical tradition. His intentions are recorded in notation , and in some cases also additional comments, which musicians use as hints for interpretation. This can follow the intent of the composer, must it not; she can bring in her own suggestions as well as disregard the intention and function of the work - this happens, for example, when using symphonic works as ballet music or when performing film music in a concert setting.

Music does not always claim to be art. The folk music of all ethnicities in history hardly contains that unique and unmistakable that actually defines a work of art; it also has no set forms, but only manifestations of models and changes through oral tradition, Umsingen or Zersingen, similar to the children's song , the melodies over time. Even with improvisation there is no fixed form, it is unique, never to be repeated exactly and can hardly be written down. Nevertheless it is part of musical works in jazz and solo cadenza , in aleatoric it is the result of an “open” design intention , in the Indian models raga and tala as well as in the maqamāt of classical Arabic music an art music determined by strict rules, which in their entire temporal expansion and internal structure is not fixed, but is up to the musician and his intuition or virtuosity . In the 21st century, the term spontaneous composition is increasingly used for forms of improvisation .

Listening to and understanding music is a multi-stage aesthetic - semiotic process. The listener picks up the physical stimuli and establishes the relationships between their individual qualities such as pitch, duration, etc., in order to then recognize motifs and themes as smaller, period and sentence as larger orders and finally to grasp forms and genres . In addition, the sense and meaning of music can be derived from its structure of signs , which has language-like features without music being a language. This cognitive or cognitive understanding requires on the one hand the prior knowledge of the listener, who must have already dealt with the compositional, historical and social conditions of the work, on the other hand it depends on the intentional attitude towards the musical work. In addition, hearing is a sensual experience that creates a subjective and emotional turn to music, and thus an active process overall.

Areas of application and effect

Social and psychosocial aspects

Studies show that music can promote empathy and social and cultural understanding among listeners. In addition, musical rituals in families and peer groups increase the social cohesion among the participants.

According to current knowledge, the ways in which music develops this effect also include the simultaneity (synchronicity) of the reaction to music as well as imitation effects. Even young children develop more prosocial behavior towards people who move in sync with them.

See also: Music Psychology

Music education

Main article: Music education

Music pedagogy is a scientific discipline closely related to other pedagogical areas that encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of education , upbringing and socialization in relation to music. It takes up the knowledge and methods of general pedagogy , youth research and developmental psychology as well as several musicological sub-areas on the one hand, and the practice of making music and music practice on the other. Her goals are musical acculturation and the reflective use of music in the sense of an aesthetic education .

The basic ideas of school music originated from the youth music movement , whose strongest supporter Fritz Jöde promoted above all the common singing of folk songs and put practical music making before considering music. This happened after 1950 a. a. in Theodor W. Adorno criticism, who saw the social conditioning of the artwork and its critical function not sufficiently taken into account.

“The purpose of musical pedagogy is to increase students' abilities to such an extent that they will learn to understand the language of music and major works; that they can present such works to the extent necessary for understanding; to bring them to differentiate between qualities and levels and, by virtue of the precision of sensual perception, to perceive the spiritual that makes up the content of every work of art. Music pedagogy can only fulfill its function through this process, through the experience of the works, not through self-sufficient, as it were blind music-making. "

- Theodor W. Adorno : dissonances

As a result, the criticism opened up music lessons to many directions, including: a. for the ideas of the Enlightenment in the writings of the pedagogue Hartmut von Hentig . Ideas such as creativity and equal opportunities became just as important as a critical awareness of emancipated behavior in an increasingly acoustically overloaded environment. Popular music and music outside the European cultural area have also played a role since then. Musical adult education and music geragogy for old people represent new currents outside of school education .

Music therapy

Main article: Music therapy

Music therapy uses music in a targeted manner as part of a therapeutic relationship in order to restore, maintain and promote mental, physical and mental health . It is closely related to medicine , social sciences , education , psychology and musicology . The methods follow different (psycho) therapeutic directions such as depth psychological , behavioral , systemic , anthroposophic and holistic-humanistic approaches.

The use of music for therapeutic purposes has historically been subject to changing ideas about the concept of music, such as the respective ideas about health, illness and healing. The disaster-repelling and magical power of music was already of great importance among primitive peoples . It is mentioned in the Tanach in the healing of Saul through David's play on the kinnor ( 1 Sam 16,14 ff.  LUT ) and in ancient Greece as Kathartik , i.e. H. Purification of the soul. A distinction can be made between the assumption of magical-mythical, biological and psychological-culture-bound mechanisms of action. It should be noted in each case that methods are not easily applicable outside of their respective cultural-historical context.

The current areas of application of music therapy are partly in the clinical area, such as psychiatry , psychosomatics , neurology , neonatology , oncology , addiction treatment and in the various areas of rehabilitation . Areas of work can also be found in non-clinical areas such as curative education , in schools , music schools , in institutions for the elderly and the disabled and in early childhood support . Music therapy takes place in all age groups.

To practice the profession of music therapist requires a degree in a recognized course of study that is taught at state universities in numerous countries .

Media, technology and business

The media capture the fleetingly fading music, make it available to the world and posterity and allow music to emerge in the first place. As notes of a work of art, they are the subject of historical research and value judgment. There is an interaction between the media on the one hand, the performance and composition process and the perception of music on the other; The same applies to the technology that is used for production and reproduction and, in turn, influences the playing technique of the musical instruments. The production, marketing and distribution of music media have been the business goal of an entire industry since the beginning of the printing industry, which has been operating globally as a music industry since the 20th century and has an offer that is no longer manageable.


Main article: Notation (music)

Audio file / audio sample The Sinfonia da guerra ? / i at the end of Act II ofClaudio Monteverdi's opera Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria(c. 1640) in the composer's handwriting. A musical idea is preserved for posterity through notation and provides information about the creator and his idea.
The mensural notation regulated the timing of the individual voices among each other. Nevertheless, at this stage of polyphony, there was still no score-like summary of the parts. Excerpt from Johannes Ockeghem's fair Au travail suis

If music is not passed on orally, as is the case with folk music, it can be laid down in systems of signs that serve to visualize and clarify musical ideas: notations. A notation bridges time and space; it can be stored and reproduced, duplicated and distributed. It thus serves to provide insights into the creative process of a work and to understand its musical structures. At the same time, it creates one of the prerequisites for composing and realizing the composition idea, as the musical idea is recorded in the notation. Depending on its coding - letters, numbers, discrete or non-discrete graphic characters - a form of notation is able to store information with varying degrees of accuracy. A distinction is made here between result writings, which make an existing context available, and conceptual writings, which record newly invented relationships. The action scripts that prepare the musical text for the playing technique of a particular musical instrument include z. B. Tablatures for organ or lute music . The musical notation in use today still contains isolated elements of the campaign script. Notation can never fully capture a work in terms of its parameters , so that there is always room for maneuver in execution and interpretation; the historical performance practice tried on the basis of sources to make the execution possible faithfully within the meaning of the composer and his aesthetic views.

The first notations are known from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece . The neumes used in Byzantine and Gregorian chant were able to record the melodic movements of monophonic Christian music. They began to develop around the 8th century. The early neumes, however, still required knowledge of the melody and the rhythmic order; they were pure result writing. Around the year 1025, Guido von Arezzo introduced innovations that are still valid in modern notation today: staves in thirds apart and the clefs .

In the 13th century, polyphonic music required a more precise definition of the duration of the notes. The modal notation assigned fixed values ​​for the duration to the individual notes, the mensural notation assigned the proportions of the tone durations to one another against the background of the simultaneous clock system . This meant that tone durations could be represented exactly. The voices were notated individually, recorded separately in a choir book after the completion of a composition and then copied as individual parts for execution.

The standard notation used internationally today has been created since the 17th century. In particular, the precise recording of the durations has been expanded a few times since then. First the basic time measure was determined with tempo markings and time indications, after the invention of the metronome by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel in 1816 it was mechanically reproducible by a precise indication of the beats per minute. Following the example of Béla Bartók , composers also specify the performance times of individual sections in minutes and seconds. New types since the 20th century were graphic notation and recording forms for the production of electronic music .

Sheet music printing

In the 19th century, sheet music could be produced in large numbers as well as in good quality and became the main source of income for the now freelance composers. The Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel by Johannes Brahms was published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1862 .

Soon after Johannes Gutenberg's invention of printing with movable type around the year 1450, sheet music printing began . The first printed musical work can be traced back to 1457, and before 1500 Ottaviano dei Petrucci developed the printing technique with movable note types. Important printers and publishers such as Pierre Attaingnant and Jacques Moderne published the chansons , motets and dance pieces of their time in collective editions for the first time - they thus satisfied the public demand for secular music for entertainment and at the same time gained an economic advantage from the sale of large numbers. This also resulted in an increased supra-regional distribution of pieces of music.

Technical processes such as intaglio printing in the 16th century , engraving and lithography in the 18th century considerably improved the quality of the music printing and made it possible to reproduce both extensive and graphically complex music texts. Photo typesetting , offset printing and finally computer-controlled music notation programs expanded these possibilities again.

Reproductive technology

The label of the His-Master's-Voice record I kiss your hand, Madame (1929) , which Jack Smith published in Germany in 1928. The silent film of the same name with Harry Liedtke and Marlene Dietrich and the hit by Fritz Rotter (text) and Ralph Erwin (music) mutually increased their popularity: the media complemented each other in their marketing strategy.

The sound recording began in 1877 with Thomas Alva Edison's phonograph . This apparatus supported until the 1930s the ethnomusicology : alone Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodaly thus recorded thousands of folk songs in the field research in Eastern Europe and North Africa. In 1887 Emil Berliner developed the first record and the corresponding gramophone . With this device, which soon went into series production and popularized the shellac record as a storage medium, music of all genres found its way into households that did not play house music and used arrangements or excerpts for playing the piano . The invention and marketing of the record soon influenced the music itself; In 1928 Igor Stravinsky signed a contract with Columbia Records to authentically record his works.

Several technical steps improved the record. In 1948, polyvinyl chloride became established as a manufacturing material that allowed records with narrower grooves, significantly extended their playing time and increased the sound quality considerably, as the playback speed fell from 78 to 33 or 45 revolutions per minute. Stereophony , developed long before, led to stereo records in 1958 and to two-channel radio in the 1960s . This required a new generation of playback devices, stereos were sold in large numbers. High fidelity became the standard of sound fidelity . The direct editing process , in which the recording was not recorded on a tape as before , further increased the quality of the music reproduction. A new professional group also established itself: the DJ . In addition, tapes were also popular in the private sector, especially in the form of compact cassettes for playing and recording in the cassette recorder and for mobile use in the Walkman .

The compact disc as a storage medium came onto the market in 1982. It stands at the beginning of the digital media, with which music of the highest quality can be stored in a relatively small space. Another step towards digitization, which accompanied the general spread of computers , was the development of audio formats such as B. MP3 , which allows platform and device-independent use and is another distribution channel on the Internet in the form of downloadable music files.

Audiovisual media

In combination with audiovisual media, music works synergistically . Their connection with forms of expression such as drama or dance has existed in a ritual context since ancient times. The opera emerged from the connection with the drama . On the one hand, the connection with television creates a public for and interest in musical content, on the other hand it creates new genres such as television opera . In the film , the music takes on a variety of tasks, dramaturgical as well as supporting, compared to the visual statement. It intensifies the perception of action, implements the intentions of the film director and contributes to a sensual overall impression for the viewer. From a technical point of view, it must be exactly synchronized with the optical information of the film. The same applies to use in advertising. Another genre is the music video . In contrast to film music, it is the director's task here to dramatically visualize an existing piece of music. When mixed with other media, a music video usually serves to sell the corresponding music, although audiovisual art can also arise here.


Music was already a relevant topic in the mailbox networks and Usenet during the 1980s . Audio data compression and streaming media as well as higher data transmission rates ultimately made them an integral part of network culture . Due to its decentralized organization, the Internet is not only used for information and communication, but also continuously creates new content, some of which disappear again after a short time.

Streaming media include Internet radio stations that either transmit the terrestrial programs of conventional radio stations on the Internet or offer their own program that is only available via the Internet. Music programs are also transmitted through podcasting . Another possible use is the provision of downloadable files for music promotion . Artists, labels and distributors offer partly free, partly chargeable downloads, which can also be restricted in their type and frequency of use due to digital administration or are subject to copy protection . Individual artists also offer works exclusively on the Internet, so that there is no need to sell the "material" sound carriers. Free bonus tracks are also available or material that does not appear on phonograms.

Information and communication on music-related topics are provided by private homepages, fan pages, blogs and reference works in lexical form. Web portals play an important role in the music offering. While some portals list a range of hyperlinks , others serve the marketing of music in cooperation with the music industry. In addition, there are platforms that provide musicians with online storage space and a content management system for a small fee or free of charge in order to upload and offer their self-produced music. They serve the self-marketing of the artists as well as online collaboration and the formation of social networks through community building .

With file-sharing programs that access the Internet, music files are exchanged between Internet users in a peer-to-peer network. If these are not private copies of copyrighted material, this represents a punishable copyright infringement , which has already led the music industry or individual artists to lawsuits against file-sharing networks and their customers, as the sale through free downloads via P2P programs would be restricted.

Media and concept of work

The concept of the work plays a central role in the consideration of art; the historical musicology sees in him a fundamental cultural model for the assessment of individual modes of music, which is also influenced by them contemporary media. The concept of a work is based primarily on the written fixation of music in the musical text, written or printed. Since humanism, the “work”, also referred to as opus in music, has meant the self-contained, time-enduring individual creation of its author. Even if musical works that correspond to this definition already existed in the late Middle Ages , the term and its meaning for musical aesthetics only emerged and spread in the early modern period . In the foreword of his Liber de arte contrapuncti (1477), Johannes Tinctoris names the works of the great composers as subjects.

“Quorum omnium omnia fere opera tantam suavitudinem redolent, ut, mea quidem sententia, non modo hominibus heroibusque verum etiam Diis immortalibus dignissima censenda sint.”

"Almost all the works of all these [composers] smell so sweet that, at least in my opinion, they are to be considered very worthy not only by humans and demigods, but in fact also by the immortal gods."

- Johannes Tinctoris : Liber de arte contrapuncti

The idea of ​​the “opus perfectum et absolutum” (“completed and self-contained work”), which survived the lifetime of its creator (although it was not yet limited to compositions), goes back to the Rudimenta Musicae by Nikolaus Listenius , written in 1533 . The concept of the work, which emphasizes the originality and aesthetic content of music, began to solidify in the 19th century. In the modern age , the conception of work changed fundamentally. The conventional concept of the work is called into question through open forms and variable structures of the aleatoric , through graphic forms of notation and the idea of work in progress , which no longer attached anything complete to the work, but only viewed it as a step in the solution of compositional problems.

The difference is based on the contrast between Energeia ( Greek ἐνέργέια "working force") and Ergon (Greek ἔργον "work"). Music can be experienced as energeia in that which moves people and in them; At the same time, it can be experienced as Ergon, in which people encounter music outside of themselves. This explains why, on the one hand, elementary and trivial musical phenomena can have a moving effect, on the other hand, a work with an artistically very complex structure cannot necessarily do this. Music and work are not the same, the concept of work already implies an aesthetic evaluation. It is essentially a form of art observation in the 19th century, which does not apply to all of art music. This difference has come to light since the music of the Second Viennese School , in serial music , in jazz and in music in Happening and Fluxus . Most of music is utility music , is not written down and is integrated into social contexts. It does not have the object character of the work of art, but legitimizes itself through its effect.

The thinking of past centuries was determined more by the idea of ​​sounding music than energeia. Adams von Fulda De Musica (1490) calls the fleeting fading music the "true philosophy of death" . In the Critique of Judgment (1790), Immanuel Kant only grants it a transitory character; it disappears completely or, if it is repeated by the imagination, it is more annoying than pleasant. The Aristotelian philosophy regarded art with the concept of the work, but sounding music only as the practical realization of its ideas. It has no higher rank than sleeping or eating.

The work is created through writing and is connected to the person of its creator. It is unique, has a beginning and an end, is self-contained and therefore unchangeable. It retains its identity even if it is presented in different ways in different interpretations. In contrast to improvisation or music without writing, in which composition and interpretation coincide, it has a double existence in these two components. At the same time it is not only capable of tradition but also of history. The property of the work of art as new and unique allows a comparison between works under aspects such as epochs, generations or individual creators. This is both a prerequisite and an impetus for renewal and a starting point for new works. The comparability of works makes value judgments , analysis and interpretation possible and necessary.

Music industry

Main article: Music industry

Since 1945 the music industry has developed into a highly integrated , globally organized branch of business under the leadership of a few companies from the western industrialized countries . These dominate the consumer electronics and mass media sectors . The leading nations in the phonogram market - mostly compact disc sales - are the United States , Japan and Germany . In addition to the so-called major labels , which essentially dominate the market and form a supply oligopoly through concentration or centralization , a large number of independent labels work close to the base on niche markets. Regardless of this, there are also economic connections between majors and independents in the area of artist and repertoire support as well as in sales structures . For companies that stand between the two categories, the term “major indies” has become established.

The British punk band The Clash gained a large media audience in 1991 with the song Should I stay or should I go, which was released nine years earlier , when a commercial by the clothing manufacturer Levi's popularized it again. This required the acquisition of license rights.

Sound carriers represent the main product and thus the largest source of income for the music industry. The broadcast media, radio and television, distribute the products of the sound carrier manufacturers in their programs. As a result, on the one hand, the music industry is dependent on the media, which on the other hand are themselves dependent on what the industry has to offer and generate revenue through its use : as far as copyright and related rights apply to authors and artists, the media pay fees for use. The collecting societies monitor this use. They determine the amount of the remuneration that flows back to the authors and performers. Music television stations , which act as a marketing instrument for music videos for the purpose of sales promotion , are of considerable importance for popular music . In individual cases, the profits from the use of license rights can exceed the sales of the phonograms. These arise from trading in fan articles such as T-shirts, posters, postcards or stickers.

Print media are just as important . Until the mass production of the record , the core business rested on the music publishers , who mainly produced sheet music and distributed music , but today they mainly exercise copyright claims against the media. Furthermore, her work is in the trade with intellectual property rights , which must be observed in the duplication, marketing and exploitation of sound carriers. The importance of licensing and merchandising gained in importance, especially in the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of individual works of pop music generated several hundred million US dollars in sales as part of the purchase and resale of complete company  catalogs. In addition to the media, licensees are the advertising and consumer goods industries . The large corporations in the recording industry have their own companies for this purpose. In addition to record manufacturers, the music industry includes music production companies and recording studios , tour operators and artist agencies , wholesalers and retailers, and music magazines .

Music production

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was only known regionally during his lifetime; his musical work received less attention than his instrumental playing or his technical knowledge in the field of organ building . After his death, it took several decades to rediscover his works and to process his biography historically. Today his compositions and the underlying aesthetic views are the subject of innumerable scientific print media, his music is known to laypeople as well as professional musicians around the world thanks to regular performances and constantly newly produced sound carriers. Painting by Elias Gottlob Haußmann (1746)

In the age of mass media, music production is basically still possible as a process based on the division of labor. Whereas in the past the separation of composers and performing musicians predominated, electronic means of production and the use of computers mean that complete production can be achieved by a single person. The division of labor is based on the transmission of music in the form of notes, MIDI data, etc., so that composers and interpreters can act in a specialized manner. While in the production of "classical music" the focus is primarily on recordings that are true to the original and artistically high quality as possible, the technical means of production in the genres of light music are used much more consistently and in a more targeted manner. The use of funds as effects for their own sake can also be observed. An audio event that is as unique as possible is desired . While the activity of the arranger for sound used to play an important role in the field of entertainment and especially film music , with increasing digitization and the use of sampling technology, sound design is more in the foreground.

Musical instrument making has close ties to composition and production . For example, the history of piano music can only be understood in connection with the technical development of the instrument in the 19th century; Music was and is composed specifically for the instrument, whereby technical improvements of the piano - hammer and pedal mechanics, sound volume - were exploited by the composers. The sound improvements of the string instruments , the intonation security and the expansion of the pitch range of wood and brass instruments were also reflected in the practice of composition, which placed higher demands on the instrumentalists.

The combination of sounding Direction music and technology takes place in the work of the sound engineer or sound engineer or sound engineer . Ultimately, the music producer is responsible for the overall commercial, organizational and artistic management.

The musical product

The music industry operates in the context of cultural processes. Even if it tends to have monopolistic structures, its procedures are not exclusively business -oriented, as it has to take into account the creative process of making music in order to produce a product . Their economic power does not at the same time correspond to a cultural power that would be able to dominate the aesthetic value standards of the consuming society. Since the mid-1950s, for example, the relationship between the economic success of the products on offer has not changed in an inter-company respect, despite the increasing interlinking of concerts. Approximately 10% of the productions published annually are economically successful, with 3% making a profit and 7% only covering the costs; the remaining 90% of the publications cause losses. The opinion that is widespread in cultural studies discourse that the music industry is commercializing is opposed to the opinion that its main interest lies less in the shape of the work than in the commercial exploitation of its rights.

In contrast to the practice of traditional music culture, the musical product is inherent in the fact that it is only based on the carrier medium of a work performed once for its exploitation . As a rule, this work is composed once, interpreted once , recorded on the sound carrier and distributed. It is selected from the existing repertoire or, in light music, is often specially written, recorded , produced, marketed and distributed in retail outlets. Only then does the social reception process begin . Neither the production nor the reception of sound carriers can therefore be compared structurally with traditional cultural processes. Unlike in public musical life, however, which offers the public existing musical works by the institutions looking for them in a suitable repertoire, the music industry is going the opposite way. She tries to build a reception for the piece of music that is present on a sound carrier as controlled as possible. The decisive moment lies in the demand for the product, which determines the decisions of the sales policy. These are each designed differently in the various sectors (pop, classical, jazz, etc.).

Music and society

Music takes place in society . It is in constant and mutual dependence and influence on it: it is influenced by social factors in its production, composition and performance, and in its reception it again influences people and thus society. Music depends on the social roles of the people who invent, sing and play, hear, distribute, collect, buy, prefer or reject it; it is also dependent on the institutions that arise through music. Using ethical , aesthetic or other value judgments , it forms norms with regard to behavior towards it. It is able to constitute and change social groups .

Like language, music is an essential element of a culture and thus an expression of the individual and collective identity of a society, community or group. Music is therefore a carrier of this cultural identity, the sensitive cultural memory and the growing cultural diversity of a community.

Social history

Since the High Middle Ages , musical life has changed many times, both socially and technically. The cornerstones of this development are the transition from feudalism to class society , the rise of the bourgeoisie , and finally the emergence of mass society . In this change, not only the music changed, but also what was considered music, and ultimately its essence and function. The introduction of media represents the state of the basic technical equipment of society that produces, distributes and perceives music. These are essentially five steps: writing , letterpress , sound recording , electronic and digital media . They are the communication channels , regardless of the content and their social conditions. Only together with the codes do they develop productive powers.

There is a dialectical relationship between codes and media . If the codes make use of certain materials such as paper or electrical energy, they transform them into information that can be communicated. At the same time, the codes have to adapt to the medium. Codes are just as crucial as the carrier media for how art develops. This development is the result of social decisions - economic, political, legal, ideological and aesthetic - for the use of media and codes.

The way to a bourgeois musical culture

Adolph Menzel's painting Flute Concerto of Frederick the Great in Sanssouci (1852) depicts the scene in which the King of Prussia played together with his teacher Johann Joachim Quantz and the composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach . Even though the standing Friedrich “set the tone”, the ensemble play meant a social upgrading of the musicians around him.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Portrait of the Daughters of Catulle-Mendès at the Piano (1888) shows the middle-class household in the 19th century. The upbringing of the higher daughters naturally included instrumental lessons .

The foundations for European musical culture have existed since the late Middle Ages . The process of change started right up to the technical development of note printing and used the evolving notation possibilities up to the mensural notation . These means greatly improved the production and distribution of music and allowed practical control; the emerging contrapuntal regulation of the music, the qualification of harmonies in a system of consonances and dissonances and the voice guidance in the developing polyphony could be more easily determined and checked by a uniform graphic order. The general consequences of the differentiation were the distribution of roles in the areas of composition , interpretation and distribution.

The composer, as the autonomous creator of the musical work of art, stepped out of medieval anonymization as an individual, while the increasingly complex musical structures required a technically appropriate interpretation by the musician . There was a demand for music from churches and royal courts and encouraged the creation of new works. The bourgeoisie, as a politically and economically decisive stratum, followed suit. Goods in the Middle Ages, e.g. B. at minstrels and troubadours , composers always interpreters of their own works and occurred in a particular function, originated from the modern era one of labor market with differentiated professions: composer, singer, instrumentalist, publishers and distributors.

Initially, composers and interpreters were tied to the patronage of the church and courts, who demanded music, but also promoted music and resulted in patronage . The composer rose from the service provider to the prestige bearer of the prince, who was often connected to him through private music lessons. The church offered employment to numerous musicians and accepted their guild organization in the cities. In bourgeois society and in the beginning capitalism , the composer finally becomes a subject on the free market . He offers his works, which he creates without a client, to an anonymous audience of people interested in music. Publishers and retailers act as intermediaries and form the basis of a new branch of industry. On the other hand, this development of abstract market conditions also promoted “artistry”, i. H. the social role of the composer as a person no longer integrated into society who becomes more and more an outsider.

The parallel development in the field of light music, on the other hand, did not begin until the late 18th century. Until then, folk and entertainment musicians were socially disadvantaged urban minstrels or specialists within village society . There was still no division of labor, only oral tradition of music and a little differentiated function of music-making: folk musicians were involved in everyday life and the processes of the church year , but also took on the role of conveying information, for example through the moritats and bank singing . With industrialization came the demand for "professional" music in popular music.

The specifically bourgeois salon music also originated in the 19th century. It consisted largely of light arrangements of art music for wealthy households. Especially for the piano and small house music ensembles , easily playable and effective pieces were produced. They served as game material for music lessons. Carl Czerny's School of Fluency and other exercise music formed the equipment for the middle-class music teacher who appeared as a new profession.

Especially in the German Empire were singing clubs , as well as innovation Männerchöre forth. A repertoire of choral works that was printed and distributed across the region created social identity, and the German Singers Association's singing festivals became an expression of national cultural identity formation. Easier travel options, such as rail and steamboat travel, also favored these mass events. The virtuosity in the concert hall revitalized the music market and created the first internationally known stars such as Franz Liszt and Niccolò Paganini . The copyright law , which until the end of the 19th century fixed the expanding publishing and concert life of the European countries, strengthened the composer. Their income situation improved sustainably and for the first time they got control over their works and the compensation from their use. The composer's profession was thus also legally recognized and the focus of creative production was now finally in the hands of the artists themselves.

Public musical cultures

Heinrich Zille's pastel cloakroom in a suburban variety theater (1904) describes the counter-world below the bourgeois sphere. Civil art culture and popular music were completely separated from each other.
The Richard Wagner Festival Theater on the Green Hill in Bayreuth is a national identity symbol. It is supported by the Richard Wagner Foundation Bayreuth , which draws from public and private sources in order to hold the annual opera festival.

The invention of sheet music printing helped spread music faster and further, but editions were still quite small until the end of the 18th century. The sheet music printing was more of a means of documentation and medial communication of the music text to the interpreter. Notes have not yet found a broad group of buyers. However, freely available sheet music supports the emerging public music culture, particularly in Italian opera around the mid-17th century and in English concert music since the early 18th century. The bourgeois musical life began to develop socially and economically under their influence. Initially, inns and public halls were used as performance venues, later the first concert halls were built as specialized venues for concert music - with the assistance of the city's administrative authority.

The invention of lithography in 1796 immediately led to better quality printing results and larger editions of sheet music. Notes turned out to be profitable and a broad market grew. This also brought the merchandise character of music to the fore. In the middle of the 19th century the performances of music by composers who had already died exceeded those of those who were still alive for the first time. This is also an indication of the development of a specifically bourgeois canon and the evaluative aesthetic on which it is based.

In the domestic sphere, the piano played a special role. The most important characteristics of European art music - polyphony, counterpoint, modulation harmonics , well-tempered tuning of the chromatic tone system - can be learned and reproduced on this instrument in a sonically pleasant, technically simple and relatively inexpensive manner. Both piano and sheet music became the bearers of musical culture in the middle class. The prayer of a virgin, composed by Tekla Bądarzewska in 1856, is symptomatic . It belongs to an industrially produced, standardized music that was later considered the epitome of musical kitsch .

The development of the market in popular music was even more obvious. As early as the end of the 18th century, the major entertainment venues for the middle and lower classes began operating in the big cities : music halls in England, cafés in France, revue theaters and ballrooms in Germany , the minstrel shows in the USA and from France acquired vaudevilles . The music played there was used for dancing and singing, but not for enjoying art.

The bourgeois musical culture had largely adopted the content of its ecclesiastical and aristocratic forerunners. But they differed in their ideological relation. While music was a pleasant diversion for the princes and the church functionalized it religiously, the bourgeoisie sought education and edification in it and used it for representation. The citizens now acted as patrons, increasingly also the public sector. States, municipalities and private associations financed the construction and maintenance of opera and concert halls. Their goal was a public musical life that could provide education and upbringing to the bourgeoisie themselves.

Cultural policy began here . What was considered to be culturally valuable in the service of the general public also received funding apart from economic considerations. The value judgments were made by an increasingly closed subculture - universities, intellectuals, artists and critics - with a tendency towards self-referentiality , so that the social disintegration of art was further advanced. The forms of bourgeois, value-oriented culture were ultimately also adopted by the aristocratic rulers. As a counterbalance to the bourgeois sphere, the entertainment industry grew, maintained the tabloid theater and created the professional entertainer as a new occupation .

Forms of reception

These developments had consequences for the reception of art. Until the beginning of modern times, music was either functional, e.g. B. connected with work or worship, or had founded it as a dance and folk music community , so if the handling and use of music was the conventional approach, this changed to the performance of music. It was recorded as a work of art and for its own sake. She no longer had to share interest with other everyday things like work or sleep, but was listened to with great attention. This structural way of listening, which seeks to understand the musical work of art in its form and content, requires prior theoretical knowledge. This was accompanied by the distinction between art-music and “not” -art-music, i. H. the transfer of value judgments to musical genres. The ability to differentiate was stylized as an important social characteristic; Anyone who did not understand the bourgeois canon was considered uneducated. Light music is different: neither was it perceived as art, nor was it listened to in a concentrated manner. It was also heard while engaged in conversation, eating, dancing, as consuming a service.

The culture industry

The transistor radio Nordmende Transita from the 1960s was considered an exemplary product design. It was affordable, portable, and became a status symbol for many young people .
Frank Zappa , here at a performance in Oslo in 1977 , pursued a fundamentally different production aesthetic than the culture industry. By controlling all processes from composition to play and staging to marketing of his works, he exercised radical criticism.

At the end of the 19th century, a change in western society began, which accompanied the invention of sound recording. It emerged mass media , such as gramophone and gramophone records , radio and sound film . Electronic media began with the invention of the condenser microphone . Up until the Second World War, music was primarily conveyed through the media, through radio and music film.

After the Second World War, with the growing prosperity of broader social classes, the consumer society began to form. The demand for electrical accessories such as tape recorders and transistor radios increased, and television began to spread. With the electric industrialization, an industrial production of music in the real sense developed for the first time. All processes were now based on a division of labor, as it had been in the area of ​​entertainment before.

The bourgeois understanding of music in relation to art had not changed significantly since the 19th century. The music industry reshaped it. It largely took over the economization of the last century, the music makers became employees of a concentrating industry, which was dominated by record manufacturers and broadcasters. These two now decided which music was heard and received.

Little by little, the audience's expectations were reversed. The broader media availability of the offer, which was also no longer manageable in individual sectors of the “classic” sound carrier market, led to a lack of concentration and accelerated reception. This had an effect on popular music, on jazz , pop , rock with their numerous independent currents such as punk , metal , techno , hip-hop , country , blues , etc., which in the tension between further standardization on the one hand, increasing pressure to innovate originated on the other side.

Musical socialization

The musical preference for individual musical directions depends on many factors such as age, gender and socialization . Musical socialization means the development of values, norms and rules in relation to music and the development of musical competence.

There is a general interest in music among children and young people. Musical socialization determines how young people turn to music. The Windsbacher boys' choir at a concert

Musical socialization is voluntary action. Certain social institutions such as the family or the church can promote it, but it is only negatively sanctioned in a few cases (e.g. in the case of consumption and distribution of racist or politically radical music). Music pedagogy can influence socialization if the wearer shows an interest in it and is able to do so. In countries where school music has a weak position or does not exist, this is more difficult or even impossible. A normative socialization is supported by the public promotion of classical music and opera - the civic educational canon . Where this has a priority in the curriculum at regular schools , music schools and universities , it attracts the interest of the socialized.

Socialization in school and group

School conveys central values ​​and principles, which include aesthetic education . While singing together, which the youth music movement brought into the lower school types in the 1920s, was the main point of contact with music until the 1950s, the schools in general became increasingly competitive for access with the spread of electronic media to the music. As a rule, children have already gained sufficient experience with music at preschool age and school is no longer the first instance of enculturation .

An important social function of schools, however, is to bring young people of the same age together so that groups form. The majority of young people are involved in groups. Since listening to music, at least as a sideline, is one of the most frequent leisure activities among young people, orientation towards the perceived musical taste of others plays a role in initiating social contacts. Young people perceive taste in music as a personality trait.

Music is often discussed within the groups. Mutual adjustments in musical taste take place in order to avoid cognitive dissonance with regard to the group. In return, collectively shared knowledge is created that strengthens the cohesion of the group. Likewise, aversions to other styles of music, i. H. compared to the musical taste of distant groups, viewed similarly homogeneously.

Socialization through media

The audiovisual media became an influential enculturation factor in the second half of the 20th century. This shift not only affects the type of music that is heard, it primarily affects the way media is used. On the one hand, music is still listened to on the side, e.g. B. with homework, on the other hand, mobile playback devices (portable radio, walkman , MP3 player ) allow music to be played anywhere. It also shows that young people in particular do not listen to music in a group or as an audience, but often alone. This also speaks in favor of dealing with music in the sense of self-socialization.

The degree of influence of the media lies in the ever easier availability of music. Since listening to music is pleasurable, media use is efficient and rational. One socialization effect is that the individual media user cannot determine or overlook the offer and builds up knowledge structures about music determined by others. Another reason lies in subliminal stimuli that the user cannot or cannot completely control. These are mainly neurophysiologically significant effects such as facilitating or learning on the model , which produce a conditioning of the listener. Since they start at the deepest level of neural information processing, which eludes consciousness, they are correspondingly effective and cannot be prevented by education.

Musical worlds

Musical worlds mean what people experience as a natural environment and environment in relation to music. They represent the world view of the individual . They are shaped by everyday musical experience and, in turn, shape the everyday environment of people.

Music in everyday life

Music creates a home because it creates ties to socio-cultural spaces - in the real world, in medial communication, even in cyberspace. The South Indian Pakhawaj player Manoj Siva accompanies the singer Abhishek Raghuram at a concert of traditional Indian music in the Eastshore Unitarian Church in Bellevue (Washington)

The historical and social roots of music in everyday life are diverse. This applies to societies of all ethnicities and epochs and within them for numerous individual structures, since music on the one hand is a universal phenomenon and on the other hand differentiates societies inwardly. Music fulfills a basic need for care and emotional attention. It grants identification with the social group and with oneself, it satisfies the need for home and cultural affiliation . That is why it is part of the quality of life in everyday life, in which it unfolds its meaning from its use.

The cultural foundations of music roots in the European culture have remained different. The roots of medieval Christian music culture have receded behind the modern understanding of music in the estates and princes, this behind the bourgeois musical culture of the 19th century. Even the understanding of culture of this epoch has not remained unchanged; it has emerged in different and new forms, e.g. B. in the event culture of the 20th and 21st centuries or in new music , which only a small segment of the audience perceives. On the other hand, there is pop culture , which the majority of the audience receives.

The diversity of the musical offer reflects this situation, as it includes a spectrum of all types of music, analogous to the different life plans and cultural needs. But they can all meet the same basic needs in people of different social or cultural origins or from different generations.

For large parts, however, the cultural model of the bourgeoisie still remains exemplary, as it has a distinctive function in addition to the identity-creating function with which the citizen can differentiate himself from other social classes. On the other hand it was for the proletariat the 19th and for the middle and lower classes the 20th/21. In the twentieth century, participation in this cultural model is no longer necessarily desirable. The mass media haven't changed that either. Participation in different musical cultures is no longer tied to bourgeois places and situations such as going to a concert or the opera, but can be achieved through the media in every life situation.


Musical worlds lead to the formation of subcultures . They enable people to live out their cognitive and emotional designs in a fulfilling way. On the one hand, this affects youth cultures such as punk , hip-hop or gothic ; on the other hand, it also includes connoisseurs and lovers of early music , opera, etc. a. musical sub-areas. Subcultures represent communicative networks. Their members communicate by defining themselves primarily not only through a common taste in music, but also through clothing and lifestyle, group languages and common music-related activities such as music festivals . In this way they create and shape everyday cultural schemes. By including media in it, they re-constructed components of lifeworlds. In this control circuit, music takes on a function for the individualization of the individual and challenges him to his own social integration . It is indirectly involved in new constructions of communalization and creates new forms of identity formation. This, too, is a sign of musical self-socialization, especially since young people use active music-making as a highly relevant means of finding identity, for example through self-taught learning of musical instruments or starting a band.

Women and music

The role of women in music history as in contemporary music is the subject of extensive research. The second women's movement in the 1970s in particular brought the contributions of women to musical culture to the fore. It showed that much in the past had "been buried in a strange way".

The world's most important research center on this topic - the Women and Music Archive - is located in Frankfurt am Main. It was founded in 1979 by the conductor Elke Mascha Blankenburg (1943–2013).

See also


  • Guido Adler : Handbook of Music History. Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt, Frankfurt am Main 1924. (Reprint of the 2nd edition 1930. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1975, ISBN 3-423-04039-4 .)
  • Robert Lach: The music of the natural and oriental cultures. In: Guido Adler (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Musikgeschichte. Pp. 3-34.
  • Ulrich Michels: dtv atlas on music . Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich and Bärenreiter, Kassel / Basel / Tours / London 1977, ISBN 3-423-03022-4 .
  • Kurt Honolka (Hrsg.): Knaurs Weltgeschichte der Musik . 2 volumes. 2nd Edition. Droemersche Verlagsanstalt, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-426-03610-X .
  • Kurt Reinhard: Music in primeval times. In: Kurt Honolka (Hrsg.): Knaurs Weltgeschichte der Musik. Volume 1, pp. 9-23.
  • Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (Ed.): Meyers Taschenlexikon Musik . 3 volumes. Bibliographical Institute, Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1984, ISBN 3-411-01995-6 .
  • Vladimír Karbusický : Outline of musical semantics. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1986, ISBN 3-534-01785-4 .
  • Vladimír Karbusický (Ed.): Sense and Meaning in Music. Texts on the development of music semiotics. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1990, ISBN 3-534-02388-9 .
  • Marius Schneider : The historical foundations of musical symbolism. In: Vladimír Karbusický (Ed.): Sense and Meaning in Music. Texts on the development of music semiotics. Pp. 61-99.
  • Manfred Bierwisch : Gestural form as the meaning of musical signs. In: Vladimír Karbusický (Ed.): Sense and Meaning in Music. Texts on the development of music semiotics. Pp. 161-178.
  • Peter Faltin : Musical syntax: the meaningful role of sound relationships. In: Vladimír Karbusický (Ed.): Sense and Meaning in Music. Texts on the development of music semiotics. Pp. 152-160.
  • Heinz-Wilfried Burow: Music, media, technology. A manual. Laaber, Laaber 1998, ISBN 3-89007-441-3 .
  • Albrecht Riethmüller (Ed.): Language and Music. Perspectives of a relationship . (= Spectrum of music. Volume 5). Laaber, Laaber 1999, ISBN 3-89007-320-4 .
  • Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht: Music and Language. In: Albrecht Riethmüller: Language and Music. Perspectives of a relationship. Pp. 9-14.
  • Jaroslav Jiránek : About the specifics of language and music semantics. In: Albrecht Riethmüller: Language and Music. Perspectives of a relationship. Pp. 49-65.
  • The music in the past and present . General encyclopedia of music. Founded by Friedrich Blume. 2nd, revised edition edited by Ludwig Finscher. Bärenreiter, Kassel / Basel / London / New York / Prague, and JB Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 1998, in particular
    • Article music and architecture , material part Volume 6, Sp. 729–745
    • Article music and fine arts , material part Volume 6, Sp. 745–783
    • Article Musiké - musica - Musik , material part Volume 6, Sp. 1195–1213
    • Article music industry , part volume 6, Sp. 1343-1362
    • Article Musikmythen , material part Volume 6, Col. 1421–1440
  • Helga de la Motte-Haber / Hans Neuhoff (eds.): Music sociology. Laaber, Laaber 2007, ISBN 978-3-89007-565-5 .
  • Hans-Joachim Braun : Technology as reflected in the music of the early 20th century. In: History of Technology. Volume 59, Issue 2, 1992, pp. 109-131.



General dictionaries

  • Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (Ed.): Meyers Taschenlexikon Musik. in 3 volumes. Bibliographical Institute, Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1984, ISBN 3-411-01995-6 .
  • Marc Honegger, Günther Massenkeil (ed.): The great lexicon of music . 8 volumes. Herder, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1978–1983. (New edition: Zweiburgen Verlag, Weinheim 1992, ISBN 3-451-22921-8 )
  • Carl Dahlhaus , Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht (Ed.): Brockhaus-Riemann-Musiklexikon . 4 volumes and supplementary volume. 2nd Edition. Schott, Mainz / Piper, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7957-8400-X .
  • Roberto Braccini: Practical dictionary of music - German - Italian - English - French. Schott / Directmedia Publishing , Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-89853-523-1 .
  • Gerhard Dietel: Dictionary of Music. Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2006, Digital Library , Volume 139 (CD-ROM edition), ISBN 3-89853-539-8 .

Historical lexicons

  • Johannes Tinctoris : Terminorum musicae diffinitorium . Treviso 1495. Facsimile of the incunable with a German translation by Heinrich Bellermann and an afterword by Peter Gülke. Leipzig: German publishing house for music 1983, ISBN 3-7618-0707-4 .
  • Tomáš Baltazar Janovka : Clavis as thesaurum magnae artis musicae . Prague 1701. Reproduction Amsterdam: Knuf / Kassel: Bärenreiter 1973
  • Sébastien de Brossard : Dictionnaire de musique contenant une explication des termes grecs, latins, italiens, & français les plus usités dans la musique. Ballard, Paris 1703. Reprint Hilversum: Knuf 1965
  • Johann Gottfried Walther : Musical Lexicon or musical library . Leipzig 1732. New edition with commentary by Friederike Ramm. Kassel: Bärenreiter 2001, ISBN 3-7618-1509-3 .
  • James Grassineau / Sébastien de Brossard: A Musical Dictionary, being a Collection of Terms and Characters, as well ancient as modern; including the historical, theoretical, and practical parts of music. Wilcox, London 1740. 2nd edition 1769, 3rd edition 1784. Reproductions of 2nd edition 1740: New York 1966 / Woodbridge, Connecticut: Research Publications Inc. 1986
  • Johann Mattheson : Basis of an honor gate: where the most capable capellmasters, composers, music scholars, musicians, lives, Wercke, merits should appear / stated by Mattheson for further expansion. Self-published, Hamburg 1740
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau : Dictionnaire de Musique. Duchesne, Paris 1768. Reprint Hildesheim: Olms / New York: Johnson 1968. Microfiche edition Frankfurt am Main: Egelsbach / Washington: Hänsel-Hohenhausen 1998, ISBN 3-8267-2562-X .
  • Heinrich Christoph Koch : Musical lexicon, which encyclopaedically revises the theoretical and practical art of music, explains all old and new artificial words and describes the old and new instruments. Hermann, Frankfurt am Main 1802. Reprint Hildesheim: Olms 1964
  • François Henri Joseph Castil-Blaze: Dictionnaire de musique modern . 2 volumes. Paris 1821, 2nd edition 1825, 3rd edition Brussels: Académie de Musique 1829

areas of expertise


  • Herbert Gerigk : Technical dictionary of music. Sikorski, Hamburg 1957. Reprint Munich: Keysersche Verlags-Buchhandlung 1985
  • Vladimir Fédorov and International Association of Music Libraries (eds.): Terminorum Musicae Index Septem Linguis Redactus . 2 volumes.
  • Willi Apel: Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music . 2nd expanded edition, edited by Don Michael Randel. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press 1978, ISBN 0-674-37471-1 .
  • Heinrich Lindlar : Dictionary of Music. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-518-37952-6 .
  • Malte Korff: Small dictionary of music. Reclam, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-15-009770-3 .
  • Gerhard Dietel: Dictionary of Music . Kassel: Bärenreiter; Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-423-32519-4 .
  • Juan G. Roederer: Physical and psychoacoustic foundations of music. Springer, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-540-61370-6 .

Music theory

  • Hermann Grabner : General music theory. Klett, Stuttgart 1930. Reprint: Bärenreiter, Kassel. 23rd edition 2004, ISBN 3-7618-0061-4 .
  • Kurt Johnen : General music theory. Revised by Carlferdinand Zech. 20th edition. Reclam, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-15-007352-9 .
  • Lars Ulrich Abraham : Harmony I. The homophonic sentence. Gerig, Cologne 1965. Reprint: Laaber, Laaber 1986, ISBN 3-87252-044-X .
  • Lars Ulrich Abraham: Introduction to musical notation. Gerig, Cologne 1969.
  • Lars Ulrich Abraham, Carl Dahlhaus: Melody theory. Gerig, Cologne 1972. 2nd edition: Laaber, Laaber 1982, ISBN 3-921518-74-1 .
  • Hermann Grabner : Handbook of functional harmony theory. 2 volumes. Bosse, Regensburg 1974. 13th edition: Bosse, Kassel 2005, ISBN 3-7649-2112-9 .
  • Diether de la Motte : Musical analysis. 2 volumes. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1972. 8th edition 2007, ISBN 978-3-7618-0141-3 .
  • Diether de la Motte: Harmony. Bärenreiter, Kassel. DTV, Munich 1976. 13th edition 2004, ISBN 3-7618-4183-3 .
  • Diether de la Motte: counterpoint. A reading and work book. Bärenreiter, Kassel. DTV, Munich 1981. 5th edition 1994, ISBN 3-423-04371-7 .
  • Christoph Hempel: New general music theory. With questions and tasks for self-control. Beltz, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 3-407-77753-1 .
  • Wieland Ziegenrücker: General music theory with questions and tasks for self-control. German Publishing House for Music, Leipzig 1977; Paperback edition: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, and Musikverlag B. Schott's Sons, Mainz 1979, ISBN 3-442-33003-3 .


Music history

  • Steven Mithen : The singing Neanderthals - The origin of music, language, mind and body. London, 2006.
  • Jacques Handschin : An overview of music history. Räber, Luzern 1948. 5th edition Wilhelmshaven: Heinrichshofen's Verlag 2002, ISBN 3-7959-0321-1 .
  • Karl Heinrich Wörner : History of Music. A study and reference book. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1954. 8th edition 1993, ISBN 3-525-27812-8 .
  • Carl Dahlhaus and Hermann Danuser : New Handbook of Musicology . Laaber: Laaber; Wiesbaden: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft 1980 ff. New edition history of music . 7 volumes. Laaber: Laaber 2008, ISBN 978-3-89007-664-5 .
  • Carl Dahlhaus: Basics of the history of music. Musikverlag Hans Gerig, Cologne 1977, ISBN 3-87252-101-2 .

Music philosophy and aesthetics

Instrument science

  • Curt Sachs : Real Lexicon of Musical Instruments . Berlin 1913. New edition of the 2nd edition 1930: Hildesheim: Olms; Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel 1979
  • Hermann Erpf : Textbook of instrumentation and instrument science. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Athenaion, Potsdam 1935. Reprint Laaber: Laaber 1981

Popular music

Individual evidence

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  2. Reinhard p. 13.
  3. ^ Meyers Taschenlexikon Musik. Volume 2, p. 301 f.
  4. ^ Henry George Liddell & Robert Scott : A Greek-English Lexicon , 1940. Keyword μουσῐκή (sc. Τέχνη)
  5. ^ Wilhelm Pape : Concise dictionary of the Greek language . Braunschweig, 1914, Volume 2, p. 211, keyword μουσικός
  6. ^ Meyers Taschenlexikon Musik. Volume 2, p. 299.
  7. ^ Wilhelm Pape : Concise dictionary of the Greek language . Braunschweig, 1914, Volume 2, p. 210, keyword μοῦσα
  8. ^ Karl Ernst Georges: Comprehensive Latin-German concise dictionary. Hanover, 1918 (reprint: Darmstadt, 1998), Volume 2, Sp. 1068, keywords mūsicus and mūsica .
  10. Music
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  12. PONS compact dictionary German-Icelandic . 2008, p. 527.
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  15. Den Danske Ordbog (DDO): tone art , music
  16. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from September 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. : / musik ( Memento of the original from September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , tonekunst ( memento of the original from September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
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  20. a b c MGG-S, Volume 6, Col. 1198.
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Web links

Portal: Music  - Overview of Wikipedia content on music
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