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Broadly speaking, music is the artful or entertaining arrangement of sound
and silence. The actual definition of music is hotly contested, and sounds
accepted as music vary according to historical era and culture, but it is
usually held that the sounds must at least be consciously organized, either
by an individual or a group.
Most music is made up, at least in part, of musical notes with definite
pitches. Different notes played one at a time constitute a melody, while
notes played at the same time make chords and harmony. Unpitched notes are
often provided by percussion. The temporal organisation of these elements is rhythm.
Music is extremely time related, not only in beats and rhythm but also in
frequency and frequency patterns and harmonics. Some of these harmonic
patterns are named "upper and lower harmonics". Humans usually enjoy music
or sounds with "even order" harmonics in the like the sound of a bell, and
tend to dislike music and sounds with "odd or random order" harmonics, like
hitting a cardboard box with a flyswatter, however this is not always the
case, and all harmony may be pleasant to someone. Also a musical song can
associate a very old memory or a recent time to very specific date,
sometimes when no other method of memory recall can.
Music can be written in advance of a performance by a composer or
songwriter. In such cases, the musician or musicians playing the piece (who
may or may not also be the people who wrote it) broadly follow the
instructions the composer has given them, which may be written down using
musical notation in the form of sheet music. Alternatively, the music may be
more-or-less made up by the performers as they go along (improvisation).
Music can be performed by a single musician, or several may band together to
form a musical ensemble such as a rock band or orchestra. The music they
make can be heard through several media; the most traditional way is to hear
it live, in the presence of the musicians. Live music can also be broadcast
over the radio or television, although this experience is closer to playing
back a sound recording or watching a music video. Sometimes, live
performances incorporate prerecorded sounds; for example, a DJ uses records
for scratching. Of course, you can also create music yourself, by singing,
playing a musical instrument, or composing. Modern beginners usually try the
guitar or the piano as a first instrument.
Deaf people can experience music by feeling the vibrations in their body;
the most famous example of a deaf musician is the composer Ludwig van
Beethoven, who composed many famous works even after he had completely lost
his hearing. In more modern times, Evelyn Glennie, who has been deaf since
the age of twelve, is a highly acclaimed percussionist.
People take music lessons when they want to learn to play music. Musicology
is a broad field charged with the historical and scientific study of music,
including music theory and music history.
Since music is an ancient art, an extremely large number of musical genres
have evolved. Among the larger genres are classical music, popular music and
folk music. The term world music is applied to a wide range of music with an
"ethnic" element. Ethnomusicology is the study of these genres in an