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For other uses, see Music (disambiguation).
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Music lesson Staatliche Antikensammlungen 2421.jpg
A painting on an Ancient Greek vase depicts a music lesson (c. 510 BC).
Medium Sound
Originating culture various
Originating era Paleolithic
Performing arts
Major forms
Ballet Dance Music Opera Theatre
Minor forms
Circus skills Magic Mime Puppetry Speech
Comedy Drama Epic Lyrical Romance Tragedy Tragicomedy Satire
v t e
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are
pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts te
mpo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and t
exture. The word derives from Greek µ??s??? (mousike; "art of the Muses").[1]
The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary a
ccording to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized com
positions (and their recreation in performance), through improvisational music t
o aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the
dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometime
s open to personal interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within the ar
ts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, and auditory art. I
t may also be divided among art music and folk music. There is also a strong con
nection between music and mathematics.[2] Music may be played and heard live, ma
y be part of a dramatic work or film, or may be recorded.
To many people in many cultures, music is an important part of their way of life
. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizonta
lly as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony
of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is
often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cag
e thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise,
only sound."[3] Musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez summarizes the relativist, pos
t-modern viewpoint: "The border between music and noise is always culturally def
inedwhich implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always
pass through the same place; in short, there is rarely a consensus ... By all a
ccounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what mus
ic might be."[4]
Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Prehistoric eras
1.2 Ancient Egypt
1.3 Asian cultures
1.4 References in the Bible
1.5 Antiquity
1.5.1 Ancient Greece
1.6 The Middle Ages
1.7 The Renaissance
1.8 The Baroque
1.9 Classicism
1.10 Romanticism
1.11 20th- and 21st-century music
2 Performance
2.1 Aural tradition
2.2 Ornamentation
3 Production
3.1 Composition
3.2 Notation
3.3 Improvisation
3.4 Theory
4 Philosophy and aesthetics
5 Psychology
5.1 Cognitive neuroscience of music
5.2 Cognitive musicology
5.3 Psychoacoustics
5.4 Evolutionary musicology
5.5 Culture in music cognition
6 Sociology
7 Media and technology
7.1 Internet
8 Business
9 Education
9.1 Non-professional
9.2 Academia
9.3 Ethnomusicology
10 Music therapy
11 See also
12 References
13 Further reading
14 External links
Further information: History of music
Prehistoric eras
Main article: Prehistoric music
Prehistoric music can only be theorized based on findings from paleolithic archa
eology sites. Flutes are often discovered, carved from bones in which lateral ho
les have been pierced; these are thought to have been blown at one end like the
Japanese shakuhachi. The Divje Babe flute, carved from a cave bear femur, is tho
ught to be at least 40,000 years old. Instruments such as the seven-holed flute
and various types of stringed instruments, such as the Ravanahatha, have been re
covered from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites.[5] India has on
e of the oldest musical traditions in the worldreferences to Indian classical mus
ic (marga) are found in the Vedas, ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition.[6]
The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was foun
d in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BC.[7] The Hurrian song, foun
d on clay tablets that date back to approximately 1400 BC, is the oldest survivi
ng notated work of music.
Ancient Egypt
Main article: Music of Egypt
Musicians of Amun, Tomb of Nakht, 18th Dynasty, Western Thebes
The ancient Egyptians credited one of their gods, Thoth, with the invention of m
usic, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world. The
earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments
dates to the Predynastic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in
the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes and double clarinets were played.[8] Percussi
on instruments, lyres and lutes were added to orchestras by the Middle Kingdom.
Cymbals[9] frequently accompanied music and dance, much as they still do in Egyp
t today. Egyptian folk music, including the traditional Sufi dhikr rituals, are
the closest contemporary music genre to ancient Egyptian music, having preserved
many of its features, rhythms and instruments.[10][11]
Asian cultures
Gangubai Hangal
See also: Music of Iran, Music of Afghanistan, Music of Tajikistan, Music of Sri
Lanka and Music of Uzbekistan
Indian classical music is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world.[12]
The Indus Valley civilization has sculptures that show dance[13] and old musica
l instruments, like the seven holed flute. Various types of stringed instruments
and drums have been recovered from Harrappa and Mohenjo Daro by excavations car
ried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.[14] The Rigveda has elements of present Indian
music, with a musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting.[15
] Indian classical music (marga) is monophonic, and based on a single melody lin
e or raga rhythmically organized through talas.Silappadhikaram by Ilango Adigal
gives so much information about how new scale can be formed by modal shift of to
nic from existing scale.[16] Hindustani music was influenced by the Persian perf
ormance practices of the Afghan Mughals. Carnatic music popular in the southern
states, is largely devotional; the majority of the songs are addressed to the Hi
ndu deities. There are a lot of songs emphasising love and other social issues.
Asian music covers the music cultures of Arabia, Central Asia, East Asia, South
Asia, and Southeast Asia. Chinese classical music, the traditional art or court
music of China, has a history stretching over around three thousand years. It ha
s its own unique systems of musical notation, as well as musical tuning and pitc
h, musical instruments and styles or musical genres. Chinese music is pentatonic
-diatonic, having a scale of twelve notes to an octave (5 + 7 = 12) as does Euro
pean-influenced music. Persian music is the music of Persia and Persian language
countries: musiqi, the science and art of music, and muzik, the sound and perfo
rmance of music (Sakata 1983).
References in the Bible
Main article: History of music in the biblical period
"David with his harp" Paris Psalter,
c. 960, Constantinople
Music and theatre scholars studying the history and anthropology of Semitic and
early Judeo-Christian culture have discovered common links in theatrical and mus
ical activity between the classical cultures of the Hebrews and those of later G
reeks and Romans. The common area of performance is found in a "social phenomeno
n called litany," a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supp
lications. The Journal of Religion and Theatre notes that among the earliest for
ms of litany, "Hebrew litany was accompanied by a rich musical tradition:"[17]
"While Genesis 4.21 identifies Jubal as the "father of all such as handle the ha
rp and pipe," the Pentateuch is nearly silent about the practice and instruction
of music in the early life of Israel. Then, in I Samuel 10 and the texts that f
ollow, a curious thing happens. "One finds in the biblical text," writes Alfred
Sendrey, "a sudden and unexplained upsurge of large choirs and orchestras, consi
sting of thoroughly organized and trained musical groups, which would be virtual
ly inconceivable without lengthy, methodical preparation." This has led some sch
olars to believe that the prophet Samuel was the patriarch of a school, which ta
ught not only prophets and holy men, but also sacred-rite musicians. This public
music school, perhaps the earliest in recorded history, was not restricted to a
priestly classwhich is how the shepherd boy David appears on the scene as a mins
trel to King Saul."[17]
Western cultures have had a major influence on the development of music. The his
tory of the music of the Western cultures can be traced back to Ancient Greece t
Ancient Greece
Music was an important part of social and cultural life in Ancient Greece. Music
ians and singers played a prominent role in Greek theater.[18] Mixed-gender chor
uses performed for entertainment, celebration, and spiritual ceremonies.[19] Ins
truments included the double-reed aulos and a plucked string instrument, the lyr
e, principally the special kind called a kithara. Music was an important part of
education, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek musical litera
cy created a flowering of music development. Greek music theory included the Gre
ek musical modes, that eventually became the basis for Western religious and cla
ssical music. Later, influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe, and the B
yzantine Empire changed Greek music. The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest survivin
g example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from an
ywhere in the world.
The Middle Ages
Léonin or Pérotin
Breves dies hominis
The medieval era (476 to 1400) started with the introduction of chanting into Ro
man Catholic Church services. Western Music then started becoming more of an art
form with the advances in music notation. The only European Medieval repertory
that survives from before about 800 is the monophonic liturgical plainsong of th
e Roman Catholic Church, the central tradition of which was called Gregorian cha
nt. Alongside these traditions of sacred and church music there existed a vibran
t tradition of secular song. Examples of composers from this period are Léonin, Péro
tin and Guillaume de Machaut.
The Renaissance
T.L. de Victoria
Amicus meus
Allegory of Music, by Filippino Lippi
Renaissance music (c. 1400 to 1600) was more focused on secular themes. Around 1
450, the printing press was invented, and that helped to disseminate musical sty
les more quickly and across a larger area. Thus, music could play an increasingl
y important role in daily life. Musicians worked for the church, courts and town
s. Church choirs grew in size, and the church remained an important patron of mu
sic. By the middle of the 15th century, composers wrote richly polyphonic sacred
music. Prominent composers from this era are Guillaume Dufay, Giovanni Pierluig
i da Palestrina, Thomas Morley, and Orlande de Lassus. However, musical activity
shifted to the courts. Kings and princes competed for the finest composers.
Many leading important composers came from the Netherlands, Belgium, and norther
n France and are called the Franco-Flemish composers. They held important positi
ons throughout Europe, especially in Italy. Other countries with vibrant musical
lives include Germany, England, and Spain.
The Baroque
J.S. Bach
Toccata and Fugue
The Baroque era of music took place from 1600 to 1750, as the Baroque artistic s
tyle flourished across Europe; and during this time, music expanded in its range
and complexity. Baroque music began when the first operas were written and when
contrapuntal music became prevalent. German Baroque composers wrote for small e
nsembles including strings, brass, and woodwinds, as well as choirs, pipe organ,
harpsichord, and clavichord. During this period several major music forms were
defined that lasted into later periods when they were expanded and evolved furth
er, including the fugue, the invention, the sonata, and the concerto.[20] The la
te Baroque style was polyphonically complex and ornamental and rich in its melod
ies. Composers from the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frider
ic Handel, and Georg Philipp Telemann.
W.A. Mozart
Symphony 40 g-moll
The music of the Classical Period (1750 to 1830) looked to the art and philosoph
y of Ancient Greece and Rome, to the ideals of balance, proportion and disciplin
ed expression. It has a lighter, clearer and considerably simpler texture, and t
ended to be almost voicelike and singable. New genres were discovered. The main
style was the homophony,[21] where prominent melody and accompaniment are clearl
y distinct.
Importance was given to instrumental music. It was dominated by further evolutio
n of musical forms initially defined in the Baroque period: the sonata, the conc
erto, and the symphony. Others main kinds were trio, string quartet, serenade an
d divertimento. The sonata was the most important and developed form. Although B
aroque composers also wrote sonatas, the Classical style of sonata is completely
distinct. All of the main instrumental forms of the Classical era were based on
the dramatic structure of the sonata.
One of the most important evolutionary steps made in the Classical period was th
e development of public concerts. The aristocracy would still play a significant
role in the sponsorship of musical life, but it was now possible for composers
to survive without being its permanent employees. The increasing popularity led
to a growth in both the number and range of the orchestras. The expansion of orc
hestral concerts necessitated large public spaces. As a result of all these proc
esses, symphonic music (including opera, ballet and oratorio) became more extrov
The best known composers of Classicism are Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Christoph
Willibald Gluck, Johann Christian Bach, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, L
udwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. Beethoven and Schubert are also consider
ed to be composers in evolution towards Romanticism.
R. Wagner
Die Walküre
Romantic music (c. 1810 to 1900) turned the rigid styles and forms of the Classi
cal era into more passionate and expressive pieces. It attempted to increase emo
tional expression and power to describe deeper truths or human feelings. The emo
tional and expressive qualities of music came to take precedence over technique
and tradition. Romantic composers grew in idiosyncrasy, and went further in the
syncretism of different art-forms (such as literature), history (historical figu
res), or nature itself with music. Romantic love was a prevalent theme in many w
orks composed during this period. In some cases the formal structures from the c
lassical period were preserved, but in many others existing genres, forms, and f
unctions were improved. Also, new forms were created that were deemed better sui
ted to the new subject matter. Opera and ballet continued to evolve.[18]
In 1800, the music developed by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert introduc
ed a more dramatic, expressive style. In Beethoven's case, motifs, developed org
anically, came to replace melody as the most significant compositional unit. Lat
er Romantic composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvorák, and Gustav M
ahler used more elaborated chords and more dissonance to create dramatic tension
. They generated complex and often much longer musical works. During Romantic pe
riod tonality was at its peak. The late 19th century saw a dramatic expansion in
the size of the orchestra, and in the role of concerts as part of urban society
. It also saw a new diversity in theatre music, including operetta, and musical
comedy and other forms of musical theatre.[18]
20th- and 21st-century music
Main article: 20th-century music
Double bassist Reggie Workman, tenor saxophone player Pharoah Sanders, and drumm
er Idris Muhammad performing in 1978
With 20th-century music, there was a vast increase in music listening as the rad
io gained popularity and phonographs were used to replay and distribute music. T
he focus of art music was characterized by exploration of new rhythms, styles, a
nd sounds. Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and John Cage were all influentia
l composers in 20th-century art music. The invention of sound recording and the
ability to edit music gave rise to new sub-genre of classical music, including t
he acousmatic [22] and Musique concrète schools of electronic composition.
Jazz evolved and became an important genre of music over the course of the 20th
century, and during the second half of that century, rock music did the same. Ja
zz is an American musical artform that originated in the beginning of the 20th c
entury in African American communities in the Southern United States from a conf
luence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigr
ee is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation,
and the swung note.[23] From its early development until the present, jazz has
also incorporated music from 19th- and 20th-century American popular music.[24]
Jazz has, from its early-20th-century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres,
ranging from New Orleans Dixieland (1910s) to 1970s and 1980s-era jazz-rock fus
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed in the 1960s from 1950s ro
ck and roll, rockabilly, blues, and country music.[25] The sound of rock often r
evolves around the electric guitar or acoustic guitar, and it uses a strong back
beat laid down by a rhythm section of electric bass guitar, drums, and keyboard
instruments such as organ, piano, or, since the 1970s, analog synthesizers and
digital ones and computers since the 1990s. Along with the guitar or keyboards,
saxophone and blues-style harmonica are used as soloing instruments. In its "pur
est form," it "has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy mel
ody."[26] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it branched out into different subg
enres, ranging from blues rock and jazz-rock fusion to heavy metal and punk rock
, as well as the more classical influenced genre of progressive rock and several
types of experimental rock genres.
Main article: Performance
Chinese Naxi musicians
Performance is the physical expression of music. Often, a musical work is perfor
med once its structure and instrumentation are satisfactory to its creators; how
ever, as it gets performed, it can evolve and change. A performance can either b
e rehearsed or improvised. Improvisation is a musical idea created without preme
ditation, while rehearsal is vigorous repetition of an idea until it has achieve
d cohesion. Musicians will sometimes add improvisation to a well-rehearsed idea
to create a unique performance.
Many cultures include strong traditions of solo and performance, such as in Indi
an classical music, and in the Western art-music tradition. Other cultures, such
as in Bali, include strong traditions of group performance. All cultures includ
e a mixture of both, and performance may range from improvised solo playing for
one's enjoyment to highly planned and organised performance rituals such as the
modern classical concert, religious processions, music festivals or music compet
itions. Chamber music, which is music for a small ensemble with only a few of ea
ch type of instrument, is often seen as more intimate than symphonic works.
Aural tradition
Many types of music, such as traditional blues and folk music were originally pr
eserved in the memory of performers, and the songs were handed down orally, or a
urally (by ear). When the composer of music is no longer known, this music is of
ten classified as "traditional." Different musical traditions have different att
itudes towards how and where to make changes to the original source material, fr
om quite strict, to those that demand improvisation or modification to the music
. A culture's history may also be passed by ear through song.
Main article: Ornament (music)
In a score or on a performer's music part, this sign indicates that the musician
should perform a trilla rapid alternation between two notes. About this sound Pl
ay (help·info)
The detail included explicitly in the music notation varies between genres and h
istorical periods. In general, art music notation from the 17th through the 19th
century required performers to have a great deal of contextual knowledge about
performing styles. For example, in the 17th and 18th century, music notated for
solo performers typically indicated a simple, unadorned melody. However, perform
ers were expected to know how to add stylistically appropriate ornaments, such a
s trills and turns. In the 19th century, art music for solo performers may give
a general instruction such as to perform the music expressively, without describ
ing in detail how the performer should do this. The performer was expected to kn
ow how to use tempo changes, accentuation, and pauses (among other devices) to o
btain this "expressive" performance style. In the 20th century, art music notati
on often became more explicit and used a range of markings and annotations to in
dicate to performers how they should play or sing the piece.
In popular music and jazz, music notation almost always indicates only the basic
framework of the melody, harmony, or performance approach; musicians and singer
s are expected to know the performance conventions and styles associated with sp
ecific genres and pieces. For example, the "lead sheet" for a jazz tune may only
indicate the melody and the chord changes. The performers in the jazz ensemble
are expected to know how to "flesh out" this basic structure by adding ornaments
, improvised music, and chordal accompaniment.
Jean-Gabriel Ferlan performing at a 2008 concert at the collège-lycée Saint-François X
Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasu
re, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the mar
ketplace. Amateur musicians compose and perform music for their own pleasure, an
d they do not derive their income from music. Professional musicians are employe
d by a range of institutions and organisations, including armed forces, churches
and synagogues, symphony orchestras, broadcasting or film production companies,
and music schools. Professional musicians sometimes work as freelancers, seekin
g contracts and engagements in a variety of settings.
There are often many links between amateur and professional musicians. Beginning
amateur musicians take lessons with professional musicians. In community settin
gs, advanced amateur musicians perform with professional musicians in a variety
of ensembles, such as concert bands, orchestras, and other ensembles. In some ca
ses, amateur musicians attain a professional level of competence, and they are a
ble to perform in professional performance settings. A distinction is often made
between music performed for the benefit of a live audience and music that is pe
rformed for the purpose of being recorded and distributed through the music reta
il system or the broadcasting system. However, there are also many cases where a
live performance in front of an audience is recorded and distributed (or broadc
Main article: Musical composition
An old songbook showing a composition
"Composition" is often classed as the creation and recording of music via a medi
um by which others can interpret it (i.e., paper or sound). Many cultures use at
least part of the concept of preconceiving musical material, or composition, as
held in western classical music. Even when music is notated precisely, there ar
e still many decisions that a performer has to make. The process of a performer
deciding how to perform music that has been previously composed and notated is t
ermed interpretation. Different performers' interpretations of the same music ca
n vary widely. Composers and song writers who present their own music are interp
reting, just as much as those who perform the music of others or folk music. The
standard body of choices and techniques present at a given time and a given pla
ce is referred to as performance practice, whereas interpretation is generally u
sed to mean either individual choices of a performer, or an aspect of music that
is not clear, and therefore has a "standard" interpretation.
In some musical genres, such as jazz and blues, even more freedom is given to th
e performer to engage in improvisation on a basic melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic
framework. The greatest latitude is given to the performer in a style of perfor
ming called free improvisation, which is material that is spontaneously "thought
of" (imagined) while being performed, not preconceived. Improvised music usuall
y follows stylistic or genre conventions and even "fully composed" includes some
freely chosen material. Composition does not always mean the use of notation, o
r the known sole authorship of one individual. Music can also be determined by d
escribing a "process" that creates musical sounds. Examples of this range from w
ind chimes, through computer programs that select sounds. Music from random elem
ents is called Aleatoric music, and is associated with such composers as John Ca
ge, Morton Feldman, and Witold Lutoslawski.
Music can be composed for repeated performance or it can be improvised: composed
on the spot. The music can be performed entirely from memory, from a written sy
stem of musical notation, or some combination of both. Study of composition has
traditionally been dominated by examination of methods and practice of Western c
lassical music, but the definition of composition is broad enough to include spo
ntaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African drumm
ers such as the Ewe drummers.
Main article: Musical notation
Sheet music is written representation of music. This is a homorhythmic (i.e., hy
mn-style) arrangement of a traditional piece entitled "Adeste Fideles", in stand
ard two-staff format for mixed voices. About this sound Play (help·info)
Notation is the written expression of music notes and rhythms on paper using sym
bols. When music is written down, the pitches and rhythm of the music is notated
, along with instructions on how to perform the music. The study of how to read
notation involves music theory, harmony, the study of performance practice, and
in some cases an understanding of historical performance methods. Written notati
on varies with style and period of music. In Western Art music, the most common
types of written notation are scores, which include all the music parts of an en
semble piece, and parts, which are the music notation for the individual perform
ers or singers. In popular music, jazz, and blues, the standard musical notation
is the lead sheet, which notates the melody, chords, lyrics (if it is a vocal p
iece), and structure of the music. Scores and parts are also used in popular mus
ic and jazz, particularly in large ensembles such as jazz "big bands."
In popular music, guitarists and electric bass players often read music notated
in tablature (often abbreviated as "tab"), which indicates the location of the n
otes to be played on the instrument using a diagram of the guitar or bass finger
board. Tabulature was also used in the Baroque era to notate music for the lute,
a stringed, fretted instrument. Notated music is produced as sheet music. To pe
rform music from notation requires an understanding of both the rhythmic and pit
ch elements embodied in the symbols and the performance practice that is associa
ted with a piece of music or a genre. In improvisation, the performer often play
s from music where only the chord changes are written, requiring a great underst
anding of the music's structure and chord progressions.
Main article: Musical improvisation
Musical improvisation is the creation of spontaneous music. Improvisation is oft
en considered an act of instantaneous composition by performers, where compositi
onal techniques are employed with or without preparation. Improvisation is a maj
or part of some types of music, such as blues, jazz, and jazz fusion, in which i
nstrumental performers improvise solos and melody lines. In the Western art musi
c tradition, improvisation was an important skill during the Baroque era and dur
ing the Classical era; solo performers and singers improvised virtuoso cadenzas
during concerts. However, in the 20th and 21st century, improvisation played a s
maller role in Western Art music. In Indian classical music, spontaneous improvi
sation is a core component and an essential criteria of any performance.
Main article: Music theory
Music theory encompasses the nature and mechanics of music. It often involves id
entifying patterns that govern composers' techniques and examining the language
and notation of music. In a grand sense, music theory distills and analyzes the
parameters or elements of music rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, str
ucture, form, and texture. Broadly, music theory may include any statement, beli
ef, or conception of or about music.[27] People who study these properties are k
nown as music theorists. Some have applied acoustics, human physiology, and psyc
hology to the explanation of how and why music is perceived. Music has many diff
erent fundamentals or elements. These are, but are not limited to: pitch, beat o
r pulse, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, allocation of voices, timbre or color
, expressive qualities (dynamics and articulation), and form or structure.
Pitch is a subjective sensation, reflecting generally the lowness or highness of
a sound. Rhythm is the arrangement of sounds and silences in time. Meter animat
es time in regular pulse groupings, called measures or bars. A melody is a serie
s of notes sounding in succession. The notes of a melody are typically created w
ith respect to pitch systems such as scales or modes. Harmony is the study of ve
rtical sonorities in music. Vertical sonority refers to considering the relation
ships between pitches that occur together; usually this means at the same time,
although harmony can also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic struct
ure. Notes can be arranged into different scales and modes. Western music theory
generally divides the octave into a series of 12 notes that might be included i
n a piece of music. In music written using the system of major-minor tonality, t
he key of a piece determines the scale used. Musical texture is the overall soun
d of a piece of music commonly described according to the number of and relation
ship between parts or lines of music: monophony, heterophony, polyphony, homopho
ny, or monody.
Timbre, sometimes called "Color" or "Tone Color" is the quality or sound of a vo
ice or instrument.[28] Expressive Qualities are those elements in music that cre
ate change in music that are not related to pitch, rhythm or timbre. They includ
e Dynamics and Articulation. Form is a facet of music theory that explores the c
oncept of musical syntax, on a local and global level. Examples of common forms
of Western music include the fugue, the invention, sonata-allegro, canon, stroph
ic, theme and variations, and rondo. Popular Music often makes use of strophic f
orm often in conjunction with Twelve bar blues. Analysis is the effort to descri
be and explain music.
Philosophy and aesthetics
Main articles: Philosophy of music and Aesthetics of music
Philosophy of music is the study of fundamental questions regarding music. The p
hilosophical study of music has many connections with philosophical questions in
metaphysics and aesthetics. Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are
What is the definition of music? (What are the necessary and sufficient conditio
ns for classifying something as music?)
What is the relationship between music and mind?
What does musical history reveal to us about the world?
What is the connection between music and emotions?
What is meaning in relation to music?
Traditionally, the aesthetics of music explored the mathematical and cosmologica
l dimensions of rhythmic and harmonic organization. In the eighteenth century, f
ocus shifted to the experience of hearing music, and thus to questions about its
beauty and human enjoyment (plaisir and jouissance) of music. The origin of thi
s philosophic shift is sometimes attributed to Baumgarten in the 18th century, f
ollowed by Kant. Through their writing, the ancient term 'aesthetics', meaning s
ensory perception, received its present day connotation. In recent decades philo
sophers have tended to emphasize issues besides beauty and enjoyment. For exampl
e, music's capacity to express emotion has been a central issue.
In the 20th century, important contributions were made by Peter Kivy, Jerrold Le
vinson, Roger Scruton, and Stephen Davies. However, many musicians, music critic
s, and other non-philosophers have contributed to the aesthetics of music. In th
e 19th century, a significant debate arose between Eduard Hanslick, a music crit
ic and musicologist, and composer Richard Wagner. Harry Partch and some other mu
sicologists, such as Kyle Gann, have studied and tried to popularize microtonal
music and the usage of alternate musical scales. Also many modern composers like
Lamonte Young, Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca paid much attention to a scale cal
led just intonation.
It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect
, and psychology; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. The phil
osopher Plato suggests in the Republic that music has a direct effect on the sou
l. Therefore, he proposes that in the ideal regime music would be closely regula
ted by the state. (Book VII)
There has been a strong tendency in the aesthetics of music to emphasize the par
amount importance of compositional structure; however, other issues concerning t
he aesthetics of music include lyricism, harmony, hypnotism, emotiveness, tempor
al dynamics, resonance, playfulness, and color (see also musical development).
Main article: Music psychology
Modern music psychology aims to explain and understand musical behavior and expe
rience.[29] Research in this field and its subfields are primarily empirical; th
eir knowledge tends to advance on the basis of interpretations of data collected
by systematic observation of and interaction with human participants. In additi
on to its focus on fundamental perceptions and cognitive processes, music psycho
logy is a field of research with practical relevance for many areas, including m
usic performance, composition, education, criticism, and therapy, as well as inv
estigations of human aptitude, skill, intelligence, creativity, and social behav
Cognitive neuroscience of music
Main article: Cognitive neuroscience of music
The primary auditory cortex is one of the main areas associated with superior pi
tch resolution.
Cognitive neuroscience of music is the scientific study of brain-based mechanism
s involved in the cognitive processes underlying music. These behaviours include
music listening, performing, composing, reading, writing, and ancillary activit
ies. It also is increasingly concerned with the brain basis for musical aestheti
cs and musical emotion. The field is distinguished by its reliance on direct obs
ervations of the brain, using such techniques as functional magnetic resonance i
maging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), magnetoencephalography (
MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), and positron emission tomography (PET).
Cognitive musicology
Main article: Cognitive musicology
Cognitive musicology is a branch of cognitive science concerned with computation
ally modeling musical knowledge with the goal of understanding both music and co
gnition.[30] The use of computer models provides an exacting, interactive medium
in which to formulate and test theories and has roots in artificial intelligenc
e and cognitive science.[31]
This interdisciplinary field investigates topics such as the parallels between l
anguage and music in the brain. Biologically inspired models of computation are
often included in research, such as neural networks and evolutionary programs.[3
2] This field seeks to model how musical knowledge is represented, stored, perce
ived, performed, and generated. By using a well-structured computer environment,
the systematic structures of these cognitive phenomena can be investigated.[33]
Main article: Psychoacoustics
Further information: Hearing (sense)
Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of sound perception. More specifically,
it is the branch of science studying the psychological and physiological respons
es associated with sound (including speech and music). It can be further categor
ized as a branch of psychophysics.
Evolutionary musicology
Main article: Evolutionary musicology
Evolutionary musicology concerns the "origins of music, the question of animal s
ong, selection pressures underlying music evolution", and "music evolution and h
uman evolution".[34] It seeks to understand music perception and activity in the
context of evolutionary theory. Charles Darwin speculated that music may have h
eld an adaptive advantage and functioned as a protolanguage,[35] a view which ha
s spawned several competing theories of music evolution.[36][37][38] An alternat
e view sees music as a by-product of linguistic evolution; a type of "auditory c
heesecake" that pleases the senses without providing any adaptive function.[39]
This view has been directly countered by numerous music researchers.[40][41][42]
Culture in music cognition
Main article: Culture in music cognition
See also: Ethnomusicology
An individual's culture or ethnicity plays a role in their music cognition, incl
uding their preferences, emotional reaction, and musical memory. Musical prefere
nces are biased toward culturally familiar musical traditions beginning in infan
cy, and adults' classification of the emotion of a musical piece depends on both
culturally specific and universal structural features.[43][44] Additionally, in
dividuals' musical memory abilities are greater for culturally familiar music th
an for culturally unfamiliar music.[45][46]
Main article: Sociomusicology
This Song Dynasty (9601279) painting, entitled the "Night Revels of Han Xizai," s
hows Chinese musicians entertaining guests at a party in a 10th-century househol
Music is experienced by individuals in a range of social settings ranging from b
eing alone to attending a large concert. Musical performances take different for
ms in different cultures and socioeconomic milieus. In Europe and North America,
there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as a "high cultu
re" and "low culture." "High culture" types of music typically include Western a
rt music such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern-era symphonies, concer
tos, and solo works, and are typically heard in formal concerts in concert halls
and churches, with the audience sitting quietly in seats.
Other types of musicincluding, but not limited to, jazz, blues, soul, and countrya
re often performed in bars, nightclubs, and theatres, where the audience may be
able to drink, dance, and express themselves by cheering. Until the later 20th c
entury, the division between "high" and "low" musical forms was widely accepted
as a valid distinction that separated out better quality, more advanced "art mus
ic" from the popular styles of music heard in bars and dance halls.
However, in the 1980s and 1990s, musicologists studying this perceived divide be
tween "high" and "low" musical genres argued that this distinction is not based
on the musical value or quality of the different types of music.[citation needed
] Rather, they argued that this distinction was based largely on the socioeconom
ics standing or social class of the performers or audience of the different type
s of music.[citation needed] For example, whereas the audience for Classical sym
phony concerts typically have above-average incomes, the audience for a rap conc
ert in an inner-city area may have below-average incomes.[citation needed] Even
though the performers, audience, or venue where non-"art" music is performed may
have a lower socioeconomic status, the music that is performed, such as blues,
rap, punk, funk, or ska may be very complex and sophisticated.
When composers introduce styles of music that break with convention, there can b
e a strong resistance from academic music experts and popular culture. Late-peri
od Beethoven string quartets, Stravinsky ballet scores, serialism, bebop-era jaz
z, hip hop, punk rock, and electronica have all been considered non-music by som
e critics when they were first introduced.[citation needed] Such themes are exam
ined in the sociology of music. The sociological study of music, sometimes calle
d sociomusicology, is often pursued in departments of sociology, media studies,
or music, and is closely related to the field of ethnomusicology.
Media and technology
Further information: Computer music
The music that composers make can be heard through several media; the most tradi
tional way is to hear it live, in the presence of the musicians (or as one of th
e musicians), in an outdoor or indoor space such as an amphitheatre, concert hal
l, cabaret room or theatre. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio, tel
evision or the Internet. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a pe
rformance, while others focus on producing a recording that mixes together sound
s that were never played "live." Recording, even of essentially live styles, oft
en uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings considered better t
han the actual performance.
As talking pictures emerged in the early 20th century, with their prerecorded mu
sical tracks, an increasing number of moviehouse orchestra musicians found thems
elves out of work.[47] During the 1920s live musical performances by orchestras,
pianists, and theater organists were common at first-run theaters.[48] With the
coming of the talking motion pictures, those featured performances were largely
eliminated. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) took out newspaper adver
tisements protesting the replacement of live musicians with mechanical playing d
evices. One 1929 ad that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press features an image of a
can labeled "Canned Music / Big Noise Brand / Guaranteed to Produce No Intellec
tual or Emotional Reaction Whatever"[49]
Since legislation introduced to help protect performers, composers, publishers a
nd producers, including the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 in the United State
s, and the 1979 revised Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Arti
stic Works in the United Kingdom, recordings and live performances have also bec
ome more accessible through computers, devices and Internet in a form that is co
mmonly known as Music-On-Demand.
In many cultures, there is less distinction between performing and listening to
music, since virtually everyone is involved in some sort of musical activity, of
ten communal. In industrialized countries, listening to music through a recorded
form, such as sound recording or watching a music video, became more common tha
n experiencing live performance, roughly in the middle of the 20th century.
Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds. For example, a disc
jockey uses disc records for scratching, and some 20th-century works have a sol
o for an instrument or voice that is performed along with music that is prerecor
ded onto a tape. Computers and many keyboards can be programmed to produce and p
lay Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) music. Audiences can also become
performers by participating in karaoke, an activity of Japanese origin centered
on a device that plays voice-eliminated versions of well-known songs. Most kara
oke machines also have video screens that show lyrics to songs being performed;
performers can follow the lyrics as they sing over the instrumental tracks.
The advent of the Internet has transformed the experience of music, partly throu
gh the increased ease of access to music and the increased choice. Chris Anderso
n, in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
, suggests that while the economic model of supply and demand describes scarcity
, the Internet retail model is based on abundance. Digital storage costs are low
, so a company can afford to make its whole inventory available online, giving c
ustomers as much choice as possible. It has thus become economically viable to o
ffer products that very few people are interested in. Consumers' growing awarene
ss of their increased choice results in a closer association between listening t
astes and social identity, and the creation of thousands of niche markets.[50]
Another effect of the Internet arises with online communities like YouTube and F
acebook, a social networking service. Such sites simplify connecting with other
musicians, and greatly facilitate the distribution of music. Professional musici
ans also use YouTube as a free publisher of promotional material. YouTube users,
for example, no longer only download and listen to MP3s, but also actively crea
te their own. According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, in their book W
ikinomics, there has been a shift from a traditional consumer role to what they
call a "prosumer" role, a consumer who both creates and consumes. Manifestations
of this in music include the production of mashes, remixes, and music videos by
Main article: Music industry
The music industry refers to the business industry connected with the creation a
nd sale of music. It consists of record companies, labels and publishers that di
stribute recorded music products internationally and that often control the righ
ts to those products. Some music labels are "independent," while others are subs
idiaries of larger corporate entities or international media groups. In the 2000
s, the increasing popularity of listening to music as digital music files on MP3
players, iPods, or computers, and of trading music on file sharing sites or buy
ing it online in the form of digital files had a major impact on the traditional
music business. Many smaller independent CD stores went out of business as musi
c buyers decreased their purchases of CDs, and many labels had lower CD sales. S
ome companies did well with the change to a digital format, though, such as Appl
e's iTunes, an online store that sells digital files of songs over the Internet.
Main article: Music education
A Suzuki violin recital with students of varying ages.
The incorporation of music training from preschool to post secondary education i
s common in North America and Europe. Involvement in music is thought to teach b
asic skills such as concentration, counting, listening, and cooperation while al
so promoting understanding of language, improving the ability to recall informat
ion, and creating an environment more conducive to learning in other areas.[52]
In elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as the reco
rder, sing in small choirs, and learn about the history of Western art music. In
secondary schools students may have the opportunity to perform some type of mus
ical ensembles, such as choirs, marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, or or
chestras, and in some school systems, music classes may be available. Some stude
nts also take private music lessons with a teacher. Amateur musicians typically
take lessons to learn musical rudiments and beginner- to intermediate-level musi
cal techniques.
At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs can recei
ve credit for taking music courses, which typically take the form of an overview
course on the history of music, or a music appreciation course that focuses on
listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In addition, mos
t North American and European universities have some type of musical ensembles t
hat non-music students are able to participate in, such as choirs, marching band
s, concert bands, or orchestras. The study of Western art music is increasingly
common outside of North America and Europe, such as the Indonesian Institute of
the Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, or the classical music programs that are avai
lable in Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time
, Western universities and colleges are widening their curriculum to include mus
ic of non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali (e.g. Gamelan mu
Musicology is the study of the subject of music. The earliest definitions define
d three sub-disciplines: systematic musicology, historical musicology, and compa
rative musicology or ethnomusicology. In contemporary scholarship, one is more l
ikely to encounter a division of the discipline into music theory, music history
, and ethnomusicology. Research in musicology has often been enriched by cross-d
isciplinary work, for example in the field of psychoacoustics. The study of musi
c of non-western cultures, and the cultural study of music, is called ethnomusic
ology. Students can pursue the undergraduate study of musicology, ethnomusicolog
y, music history, and music theory through several different types of degrees, i
ncluding a B.Mus, a B.A. with concentration in music, a B.A. with Honors in Musi
c, or a B.A. in Music History and Literature. Graduates of undergraduate music p
rograms can go on to further study in music graduate programs.
Graduate degrees include the Master of Music, the Master of Arts, the Doctor of
Philosophy (Ph.D.) (e.g., in musicology or music theory), and more recently, the
Doctor of Musical Arts, or DMA. The Master of Music degree, which takes one to
two years to complete, is typically awarded to students studying the performance
of an instrument, education, voice or composition. The Master of Arts degree, w
hich takes one to two years to complete and often requires a thesis, is typicall
y awarded to students studying musicology, music history, or music theory. Under
graduate university degrees in music, including the Bachelor of Music, the Bache
lor of Music Education, and the Bachelor of Arts (with a major in music) typical
ly take three to five years to complete. These degrees provide students with a g
rounding in music theory and music history, and many students also study an inst
rument or learn singing technique as part of their program.
The PhD, which is required for students who want to work as university professor
s in musicology, music history, or music theory, takes three to five years of st
udy after the Master's degree, during which time the student will complete advan
ced courses and undertake research for a dissertation. The DMA is a relatively n
ew degree that was created to provide a credential for professional performers o
r composers that want to work as university professors in musical performance or
composition. The DMA takes three to five years after a Master's degree, and inc
ludes advanced courses, projects, and performances. In Medieval times, the study
of music was one of the Quadrivium of the seven Liberal Arts and considered vit
al to higher learning. Within the quantitative Quadrivium, music, or more accura
tely harmonics, was the study of rational proportions.
Zoomusicology is the study of the music of non-human animals, or the musical asp
ects of sounds produced by non-human animals. As George Herzog (1941) asked, "do
animals have music?" François-Bernard Mâche's Musique, mythe, nature, ou les Dauphi
ns d'Arion (1983), a study of "ornitho-musicology" using a technique of Nicolas
Ruwet's Langage, musique, poésie (1972) paradigmatic segmentation analysis, shows
that bird songs are organised according to a repetition-transformation principle
. Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1990), argues that "in the last analysis, it is a human
being who decides what is and is not musical, even when the sound is not of huma
n origin. If we acknowledge that sound is not organised and conceptualised (that
is, made to form music) merely by its producer, but by the mind that perceives
it, then music is uniquely human."
Music theory is the study of music, generally in a highly technical manner outsi
de of other disciplines. More broadly it refers to any study of music, usually r
elated in some form with compositional concerns, and may include mathematics, ph
ysics, and anthropology. What is most commonly taught in beginning music theory
classes are guidelines to write in the style of the common practice period, or t
onal music. Theory, even of music of the common practice period, may take many o
ther forms. Musical set theory is the application of mathematical set theory to
music, first applied to atonal music. Speculative music theory, contrasted with
analytic music theory, is devoted to the analysis and synthesis of music materia
ls, for example tuning systems, generally as preparation for composition.
Main article: Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for
the Bureau of American Ethnology (1916)
In the West, much of the history of music that is taught deals with the Western
civilization's art music. The history of music in other cultures ("world music"
or the field of "ethnomusicology") is also taught in Western universities. This
includes the documented classical traditions of Asian countries outside the infl
uence of Western Europe, as well as the folk or indigenous music of various othe
r cultures. Popular styles of music varied widely from culture to culture, and f
rom period to period. Different cultures emphasised different instruments, or te
chniques, or uses for music. Music has been used not only for entertainment, for
ceremonies, and for practical and artistic communication, but also for propagan
There is a host of music classifications, many of which are caught up in the arg
ument over the definition of music. Among the largest of these is the division b
etween classical music (or "art" music), and popular music (or commercial music
including rock music, country music, and pop music). Some genres do not fit neat
ly into one of these "big two" classifications, (such as folk music, world music
, or jazz music).
As world cultures have come into greater contact, their indigenous musical style
s have often merged into new styles. For example, the United States bluegrass st
yle contains elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish, Irish, German and African inst
rumental and vocal traditions, which were able to fuse in the United States' mul
ti-ethnic society. Genres of music are determined as much by tradition and prese
ntation as by the actual music. Some works, like George Gershwin's Rhapsody in B
lue, are claimed by both jazz and classical music, while Gershwin's Porgy and Be
ss and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story are claimed by both opera and the Bro
adway musical tradition. Many current music festivals celebrate a particular mus
ical genre.
Indian music, for example, is one of the oldest and longest living types of musi
c, and is still widely heard and performed in South Asia, as well as internation
ally (especially since the 1960s). Indian music has mainly three forms of classi
cal music, Hindustani, Carnatic, and Dhrupad styles. It has also a large reperto
ire of styles, which involve only percussion music such as the talavadya perform
ances famous in South India.
Music therapy
Main article: Music therapy
Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and
all of its facetsphysical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritualto h
elp clients to improve or maintain their health. In some instances, the client's
needs are addressed directly through music; in others they are addressed throug
h the relationships that develop between the client and therapist. Music therapy
is used with individuals of all ages and with a variety of conditions, includin
g: psychiatric disorders, medical problems, physical handicaps, sensory impairme
nts, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, communication disorders, inter
personal problems, and aging. It is also used to: improve learning, build self-e
steem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other
health-related activities.
One of the earliest mentions of music therapy was in Al-Farabi's (c. 872 950) tr
eatise Meanings of the Intellect, which described the therapeutic effects of mus
ic on the soul.[53][verification needed] Music has long been used to help people
deal with their emotions. In the 17th century, the scholar Robert Burton's The
Anatomy of Melancholy argued that music and dance were critical in treating ment
al illness, especially melancholia.[54] He noted that music has an "excellent po
wer expel many other diseases" and he called it "a sovereign remedy agains
t despair and melancholy." He pointed out that in Antiquity, Canus, a Rhodian fi
ddler, used music to "make a melancholy man merry, ...a lover more enamoured, a
religious man more devout." [55][56][57] In November 2006, Dr. Michael J. Crawfo
rd[58] and his colleagues also found that music therapy helped schizophrenic pat
ients.[59] In the Ottoman Empire, mental illnesses were treated with music.[60]
See also
Portal icon Music portal
Main articles: Outline of music and Index of music articles
Music-specific disorders
Lists of musicians
List of musicology topics
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ancholy, by Democritus Junior
Jump up ^ "Humanities are the Hormones: A Tarantella Comes to Newfoundland. What
should we do about it?" by Dr. John Crellin, MUNMED, newsletter of the Faculty
of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1996.
Jump up ^ Aung, Steven K.H., Lee, Mathew H.M., "Music, Sounds, Medicine, and Med
itation: An Integrative Approach to the Healing Arts," Alternative & Complementa
ry Therapies, Oct 2004, Vol. 10, No. 5: 266270.
Jump up ^ Dr. Michael J. Crawford page at Imperial College London, Faculty of Me
dicine, Department of Psychological Medicine.
Jump up ^ Crawford, Mike J.; Talwar, Nakul, et al. (November 2006). "Music thera
py for in-patients with schizophrenia: Exploratory randomised controlled trial".
The British Journal of Psychiatry (2006) 189 (5): 405409. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.105
.015073. PMID 17077429. "Music therapy may provide a means of improving mental h
ealth among people with schizophrenia, but its effects in acute psychoses have n
ot been explored"
Jump up ^ Treatment of Mental Illnesses With Music Therapy A different approach
from history
Further reading
Colles, Henry Cope (1978). The Growth of Music : A Study in Musical History, 4th
ed., London ; New York : Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-316116-8 (1913 edit
ion online at Google Books)
Harwood, Dane (1976). "Universals in Music: A Perspective from Cognitive Psychol
ogy". Ethnomusicology 20 (3): 52133. doi:10.2307/851047.
Small, Christopher (1977). Music, Society, Education. John Calder Publishers, Lo
ndon. ISBN 0-7145-3614-8
External links
Find more about Music at Wikipedia's sister projects
Definitions and translations from Wiktionary
Media from Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
Textbooks from Wikibooks
Learning resources from Wikiversity
BBC Blast Music For 1319-year-olds interested in learning about, making, performi
ng and talking about music.
The Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary, with definitions, pronunciations,
examples, quizzes and simulations
The Music-Web Music Encyclopedia, for musicians, composers and music lovers
Dolmetsch free online music dictionary, complete, with references to a list of s
pecialised music dictionaries (by continent, by instrument, by genre, etc.)
Musical Terms Glossary of music terms from Naxos
"On Hermeneutical Ethics and Education: Bach als Erzieher", a paper by Prof. Mig
uel Ángel Quintana Paz in which he explains the history of the different views hol
d about music in Western societies, since the Ancient Greece to our days.
Monthly Online Features From Bloomingdale School of Music, addressing a variety
of musical topics for a wide audience
Arts and Music Uplifting Society towards Transformation and Tolerance Articles m
eant to stimulate people's awareness about the peace enhancing, transforming, co
mmunicative, educational and healing powers of music.
Scientific American, Musical Chills Related to Brain Dopamine Release
[show] v t e
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Lists of music genres and styles
Categories: EntertainmentMusicPerforming arts
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