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Allegory of Music, by François Boucher, 1764
Allegory of Music, by François Boucher, 1764

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

In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form or cultural activity include the creation of works of music (songs, tunes, symphonies, and so on), the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, and the aesthetic examination of music. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music in two parts: melodies, as tones ordered horizontally, and harmonies as tones ordered vertically. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."

The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Indeed, throughout history, some new forms or styles of music have been criticized as "not being music", including Beethoven's Grosse Fuge string quartet in 1825, early jazz in the beginning of the 1900s and hardcore punk in the 1980s. There are many types of music, including popular music, traditional music, art music, music written for religious ceremonies, and work songs such as chanteys. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions—such as Classical music symphonies from the 1700s and 1800s—through to spontaneously played improvisational music such as jazz, and avant-garde styles of chance-based contemporary music from the 20th and 21st centuries. (Full article...)

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  • Image 2The Final Cut is the 12th studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 21 March 1983 in the United Kingdom and on 2 April in the United States through Harvest and Columbia Records. It comprises unused material from the previous Pink Floyd album, The Wall (1979), alongside new material recorded throughout 1982.The Final Cut was the last Pink Floyd album to feature founding member Roger Waters, who departed from the band in 1985. It is also the only Pink Floyd album not to feature founding member and keyboardist Richard Wright, who left the band after the Wall sessions. The recording was plagued by conflict; guitarist David Gilmour felt many of the tracks were not worthy of inclusion, but Waters accused him of failing to contribute material himself. Drummer Nick Mason's contributions were mostly limited to sound effects. (Full article...)
    The Final Cut is the 12th studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 21 March 1983 in the United Kingdom and on 2 April in the United States through Harvest and Columbia Records. It comprises unused material from the previous Pink Floyd album, The Wall (1979), alongside new material recorded throughout 1982.

    The Final Cut was the last Pink Floyd album to feature founding member Roger Waters, who departed from the band in 1985. It is also the only Pink Floyd album not to feature founding member and keyboardist Richard Wright, who left the band after the Wall sessions. The recording was plagued by conflict; guitarist David Gilmour felt many of the tracks were not worthy of inclusion, but Waters accused him of failing to contribute material himself. Drummer Nick Mason's contributions were mostly limited to sound effects. (Full article...)
  • Image 3"R U Professional" is a 2009 satirical song by the American indie rock band The Mae Shi, inspired by a July 2008 outburst by actor Christian Bale on the set of Terminator Salvation. Bale was filming with actress Bryce Dallas Howard when he berated director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, for walking into his line of sight. An audio recording of the incident appeared on website TMZ on February 2, 2009. The Mae Shi composed and recorded the song later in the same day, and released it the next day. The group stated that the piece was created to honor Bale. The song parodies Bale by sampling his voice from the 2008 diatribe. The chorus incorporates Bale's use of the word professional from his flare-up. The lyrics reference several films the actor starred in, including Newsies, Swing Kids, American Psycho, and The Dark Knight.The song was made available on YouTube and via download on MediaFire the next day. "R U Professional" received a generally positive reception, and was praised as an effective parody of Bale's on-set disturbance. MTV compared its style to new wave groups like Devo. The Los Angeles Times described it as a lively pop music tribute to the actor. USA Today categorized the song as fun dance music and called it creatively motivated. The Toronto Sun wrote positively of its creative lyrics and use of audio from the Bale oration. El País classed the piece as an electropop song that contributed to the viral spread of the Bale rant online. Dose placed the song within the genre of an electro jam session. Publications including The A.V. Club and Pitchfork Media were impressed with the group's ability to compose and release the song twenty-four hours after the audio of the incident appeared online. The Irish Independent wrote that they thought the group may have used a melody they already had and adapted it for the song to release it so quickly. (Full article...)
    "R U Professional" is a 2009 satirical song by the American indie rock band The Mae Shi, inspired by a July 2008 outburst by actor Christian Bale on the set of Terminator Salvation. Bale was filming with actress Bryce Dallas Howard when he berated director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, for walking into his line of sight. An audio recording of the incident appeared on website TMZ on February 2, 2009. The Mae Shi composed and recorded the song later in the same day, and released it the next day. The group stated that the piece was created to honor Bale. The song parodies Bale by sampling his voice from the 2008 diatribe. The chorus incorporates Bale's use of the word professional from his flare-up. The lyrics reference several films the actor starred in, including Newsies, Swing Kids, American Psycho, and The Dark Knight.

    The song was made available on YouTube and via download on MediaFire the next day. "R U Professional" received a generally positive reception, and was praised as an effective parody of Bale's on-set disturbance. MTV compared its style to new wave groups like Devo. The Los Angeles Times described it as a lively pop music tribute to the actor. USA Today categorized the song as fun dance music and called it creatively motivated. The Toronto Sun wrote positively of its creative lyrics and use of audio from the Bale oration. El País classed the piece as an electropop song that contributed to the viral spread of the Bale rant online. Dose placed the song within the genre of an electro jam session. Publications including The A.V. Club and Pitchfork Media were impressed with the group's ability to compose and release the song twenty-four hours after the audio of the incident appeared online. The Irish Independent wrote that they thought the group may have used a melody they already had and adapted it for the song to release it so quickly. (Full article...)
  • Zappa performing live at Ekeberghallen in Oslo, Norway, 1977
    Zappa performing live at Ekeberghallen in Oslo, Norway, 1977
  • Smetana, c. 1878
    Smetana, c. 1878
  • André Messager, 1921
    André Messager, 1921
  • Soprano part from opening chorus with text in Bach's own hand, Thomaskirche, Leipzig, 1724/1725
    Soprano part from opening chorus with text in Bach's own hand, Thomaskirche, Leipzig, 1724/1725
  • Fauré in 1907
    Fauré in 1907
  • Ravel in 1925
    Ravel in 1925
  • Image 12Maya (stylised as ΛΛ Λ Y Λ) is the third studio album by British rapper M.I.A., released on 7 July 2010 on her own label, N.E.E.T. Recordings, through XL Recordings and Interscope Records. Songwriting and production for the album were primarily handled by M.I.A., Blaqstarr and Rusko. M.I.A.'s long-time associates Diplo, Switch and her brother Sugu Arulpragasam also worked on the album, which was mainly composed and recorded at M.I.A.'s house in Los Angeles. The album's tracks centre on the theme of information politics and are intended to evoke what M.I.A. called a "digital ruckus"; with the album, elements of industrial music were incorporated into M.I.A.'s sound for the first time. A deluxe edition was released simultaneously, featuring four bonus tracks.Critics' opinions of the album were generally favourable although divided, with both its musical style and lyrical content each attracting praise and criticism. In its first week of release, the album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 21, becoming her highest-charting album in the UK. It also became her highest-charting album in the US, reaching number nine on the Billboard 200, and debuted in the top 10 in Finland, Norway, Greece and Canada. M.I.A. promoted the album by releasing a series of tracks online, including "XXXO", "It Takes a Muscle" and "Born Free", the latter of which was accompanied by a short film-music video, which generated controversy due to its graphic imagery. She also performed at music festivals in the US and Europe to coincide with the album's release. During her promotion of the album, she became embroiled in a dispute with Lynn Hirschberg of The New York Times. (Full article...)
    Maya (stylised as ΛΛ Λ Y Λ) is the third studio album by British rapper M.I.A., released on 7 July 2010 on her own label, N.E.E.T. Recordings, through XL Recordings and Interscope Records. Songwriting and production for the album were primarily handled by M.I.A., Blaqstarr and Rusko. M.I.A.'s long-time associates Diplo, Switch and her brother Sugu Arulpragasam also worked on the album, which was mainly composed and recorded at M.I.A.'s house in Los Angeles. The album's tracks centre on the theme of information politics and are intended to evoke what M.I.A. called a "digital ruckus"; with the album, elements of industrial music were incorporated into M.I.A.'s sound for the first time. A deluxe edition was released simultaneously, featuring four bonus tracks.

    Critics' opinions of the album were generally favourable although divided, with both its musical style and lyrical content each attracting praise and criticism. In its first week of release, the album entered the UK Albums Chart at number 21, becoming her highest-charting album in the UK. It also became her highest-charting album in the US, reaching number nine on the Billboard 200, and debuted in the top 10 in Finland, Norway, Greece and Canada. M.I.A. promoted the album by releasing a series of tracks online, including "XXXO", "It Takes a Muscle" and "Born Free", the latter of which was accompanied by a short film-music video, which generated controversy due to its graphic imagery. She also performed at music festivals in the US and Europe to coincide with the album's release. During her promotion of the album, she became embroiled in a dispute with Lynn Hirschberg of The New York Times. (Full article...)
  • Image 14The Sei pezzi per pianoforte ("Six pieces for piano"), P 044, is a set of six solo piano pieces written by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi between 1903 and 1905. These salon pieces are eclectic, drawing influence from different musical styles and composers, particularly music of earlier periods. The pieces have various musical forms and were composed separately and later published together between 1905 and 1907 in a set under the same title for editorial reasons; Respighi had not composed them conceiving them as a suite, and therefore did not intend to have uniformity among the pieces. The set, under Bongiovanni, became his first published works. Five of the six pieces are derived from earlier works by Respighi, and only one of them, the "Canone", has an extant manuscript.The "Valse Caressante" displays elements of French salon; lyricism and Baroque are highlighted in the "Canone"; the most popular of the set, the "Notturno", shows signs of Impressionism; the "Minuetto" is reminiscent of the Classical era; the "Studio" is molded after Chopin's Études; The "Intermezzo-Serenata", resembling Fauré's music, demonstrates Respighi's Romanticism. (Full article...)
    The Sei pezzi per pianoforte ("Six pieces for piano"), P 044, is a set of six solo piano pieces written by the Italian composer Ottorino Respighi between 1903 and 1905. These salon pieces are eclectic, drawing influence from different musical styles and composers, particularly music of earlier periods. The pieces have various musical forms and were composed separately and later published together between 1905 and 1907 in a set under the same title for editorial reasons; Respighi had not composed them conceiving them as a suite, and therefore did not intend to have uniformity among the pieces. The set, under Bongiovanni, became his first published works. Five of the six pieces are derived from earlier works by Respighi, and only one of them, the "Canone", has an extant manuscript.

    The "Valse Caressante" displays elements of French salon; lyricism and Baroque are highlighted in the "Canone"; the most popular of the set, the "Notturno", shows signs of Impressionism; the "Minuetto" is reminiscent of the Classical era; the "Studio" is molded after Chopin's Études; The "Intermezzo-Serenata", resembling Fauré's music, demonstrates Respighi's Romanticism. (Full article...)
  • Image 15One Hot Minute is the sixth studio album by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on September 12, 1995 by Warner Bros. Records. The worldwide success of the band's previous album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) caused guitarist John Frusciante to become uncomfortable with their popularity, eventually quitting mid-tour in 1992. Following a series of short-term replacements, the band hired guitarist Dave Navarro in 1993; it was his only studio album with the band. Recording for the album took place at the Sound Factory in Hollywood from June 1994 to February 1995. It marked the second collaboration between the band and producer Rick Rubin. A departure from the funk of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, One Hot Minute is characterized by heavy metal riffs and psychedelic rock influences, primarily due to the influence of Navarro, formerly of Jane's Addiction. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who had resumed addictions to cocaine and heroin in 1994 after being sober for more than five years, approached his lyricism with a reflective outlook on drugs and their harsh effects. As such, the lyrics reflect mostly dark and melancholy themes. Bassist Flea sang lead vocals on "Pea". (Full article...)
    One Hot Minute is the sixth studio album by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on September 12, 1995 by Warner Bros. Records. The worldwide success of the band's previous album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) caused guitarist John Frusciante to become uncomfortable with their popularity, eventually quitting mid-tour in 1992. Following a series of short-term replacements, the band hired guitarist Dave Navarro in 1993; it was his only studio album with the band. Recording for the album took place at the Sound Factory in Hollywood from June 1994 to February 1995. It marked the second collaboration between the band and producer Rick Rubin.

    A departure from the funk of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, One Hot Minute is characterized by heavy metal riffs and psychedelic rock influences, primarily due to the influence of Navarro, formerly of Jane's Addiction. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who had resumed addictions to cocaine and heroin in 1994 after being sober for more than five years, approached his lyricism with a reflective outlook on drugs and their harsh effects. As such, the lyrics reflect mostly dark and melancholy themes. Bassist Flea sang lead vocals on "Pea". (Full article...)

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