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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 (mousike; "(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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  • Final rehearsal for the world premiere in the Neue Musik-Festhalle in Munich
    Final rehearsal for the world premiere in the Neue Musik-Festhalle in Munich
  • Walter Bache
    Walter Bache
  • Image 4Hey Y'all is the second studio album by American singer Elizabeth Cook, released on August 27, 2002, by the Warner Bros. record label. The album was the first time its executive producer Richard Dodd worked in country music. A majority of the songs were written by Cook and songwriter Hardie McGehee, who shared a music publisher. Prior to Hey Y'all, Cook had independently released her debut studio album The Blue Album (2000) and performed over 100 times at the Grand Ole Opry. She signed a deal with Atlantic Records, but was later transferred to Warner Bros. after AOL-Time Warner closed Atlantic's Nashville office. Hey Y'all was Cook's debut on a major record label.A country album, Hey Y'all includes influences from other genres like gospel, honky-tonk, and pop. The lyrics focus on Cook's childhood and personal life, as well as on more sexual topics. It was recorded at Javeline Studios, the Hum Depot, and Vital Recording in Nashville and Sound Kitchen in Franklin, Tennessee. Reviewers attributed a twangy quality to Cook's voice, which they likened to that of other country singers, including Dolly Parton. (Full article...)
    Hey Y'all is the second studio album by American singer Elizabeth Cook, released on August 27, 2002, by the Warner Bros. record label. The album was the first time its executive producer Richard Dodd worked in country music. A majority of the songs were written by Cook and songwriter Hardie McGehee, who shared a music publisher. Prior to Hey Y'all, Cook had independently released her debut studio album The Blue Album (2000) and performed over 100 times at the Grand Ole Opry. She signed a deal with Atlantic Records, but was later transferred to Warner Bros. after AOL-Time Warner closed Atlantic's Nashville office. Hey Y'all was Cook's debut on a major record label.

    A country album, Hey Y'all includes influences from other genres like gospel, honky-tonk, and pop. The lyrics focus on Cook's childhood and personal life, as well as on more sexual topics. It was recorded at Javeline Studios, the Hum Depot, and Vital Recording in Nashville and Sound Kitchen in Franklin, Tennessee. Reviewers attributed a twangy quality to Cook's voice, which they likened to that of other country singers, including Dolly Parton. (Full article...)
  • Image 5Smiley Smile is the 12th studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on September 18, 1967. It reached number 9 on UK record charts, but sold poorly in the US, peaking at number 41—the band's lowest chart placement to that point. Critics and fans generally received the album and its lead single, "Heroes and Villains", with confusion and disappointment. "Good Vibrations" and "Gettin' Hungry" were also released as singles, but the former was issued a year earlier, while the latter was not credited to the band.Conceived as a simplified version of their then-forthcoming album Smile, Smiley Smile contrasts significantly with its stripped-down approach and lo-fi production. Following principal songwriter Brian Wilson's declaration that most of the original Smile tapes would be abandoned, the majority of recording sessions lasted for only six weeks at his makeshift home studio using what was predominantly radio broadcasting equipment, a detuned piano, electronic bass, melodica, found objects for percussion, and a Baldwin theater organ. The unconventional recording process juxtaposed an experimental party-like atmosphere with short pieces of music edited together in a disjointed manner, combining the engineering methods of "Good Vibrations" with the loose feeling of Beach Boys' Party! (1965). (Full article...)
    Smiley Smile is the 12th studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, released on September 18, 1967. It reached number 9 on UK record charts, but sold poorly in the US, peaking at number 41—the band's lowest chart placement to that point. Critics and fans generally received the album and its lead single, "Heroes and Villains", with confusion and disappointment. "Good Vibrations" and "Gettin' Hungry" were also released as singles, but the former was issued a year earlier, while the latter was not credited to the band.

    Conceived as a simplified version of their then-forthcoming album Smile, Smiley Smile contrasts significantly with its stripped-down approach and lo-fi production. Following principal songwriter Brian Wilson's declaration that most of the original Smile tapes would be abandoned, the majority of recording sessions lasted for only six weeks at his makeshift home studio using what was predominantly radio broadcasting equipment, a detuned piano, electronic bass, melodica, found objects for percussion, and a Baldwin theater organ. The unconventional recording process juxtaposed an experimental party-like atmosphere with short pieces of music edited together in a disjointed manner, combining the engineering methods of "Good Vibrations" with the loose feeling of Beach Boys' Party! (1965). (Full article...)
  • Image 6"Touch Me I'm Sick" is a song by the American alternative rock band Mudhoney. It was recorded in April 1988 at Seattle's Reciprocal Recording studio with producer Jack Endino. "Touch Me I'm Sick" was released as Mudhoney's debut single by independent record label Sub Pop on August 1, 1988. The song's lyrics, which feature dark humor, are a sarcastic take on issues such as disease and violent sex.When it was first released, "Touch Me I'm Sick" was a hit on college radio. Its heavily distorted and fuzzy guitars, snarling vocals, blunt bass line and energetic drumming contributed to a dirty sound that influenced many local musicians, and helped develop the nascent Seattle grunge scene. According to AllMusic, "the song's raw, primal energy made it an instant anthem which still stands as one of [grunge's] all-time classics". A staple of Mudhoney's live shows, it remains the band's most recognizable song. (Full article...)
    "Touch Me I'm Sick" is a song by the American alternative rock band Mudhoney. It was recorded in April 1988 at Seattle's Reciprocal Recording studio with producer Jack Endino. "Touch Me I'm Sick" was released as Mudhoney's debut single by independent record label Sub Pop on August 1, 1988. The song's lyrics, which feature dark humor, are a sarcastic take on issues such as disease and violent sex.

    When it was first released, "Touch Me I'm Sick" was a hit on college radio. Its heavily distorted and fuzzy guitars, snarling vocals, blunt bass line and energetic drumming contributed to a dirty sound that influenced many local musicians, and helped develop the nascent Seattle grunge scene. According to AllMusic, "the song's raw, primal energy made it an instant anthem which still stands as one of [grunge's] all-time classics". A staple of Mudhoney's live shows, it remains the band's most recognizable song. (Full article...)
  • Portrait of Mozart, aged 13, in Verona, 1770, attributed to Giambettino Cignaroli
    Portrait of Mozart, aged 13, in Verona, 1770, attributed to Giambettino Cignaroli
  • Image 8Almost There is the first studio album by the American Christian rock band MercyMe. Produced by Pete Kipley, it was released on August 14, 2001, by INO Records. After releasing six albums as an unsigned band, they decided to pursue a record contract because it became too difficult to sell albums, book shows, and manage themselves. The band was assigned to work with Kipley, who had not produced a major project before. Four songs on the album had previously appeared on their self-released albums; the rest were newly recorded songs. Critics have characterized the music on the album as contemporary worship and pop rock, with a more radio-friendly sound than the band's self-released albums.Almost There received critical acclaim from music critics, who praised the album's songwriting; "I Can Only Imagine" received particular compliments. Critics were more divided on the album's sound. Some felt the album was "innovative" or "fresh", while others felt it was middle-of-the-road or derivative. CCM Magazine listed it in their 25th anniversary edition as one of '100 Albums You Need to Own'. (Full article...)
    Almost There is the first studio album by the American Christian rock band MercyMe. Produced by Pete Kipley, it was released on August 14, 2001, by INO Records. After releasing six albums as an unsigned band, they decided to pursue a record contract because it became too difficult to sell albums, book shows, and manage themselves. The band was assigned to work with Kipley, who had not produced a major project before. Four songs on the album had previously appeared on their self-released albums; the rest were newly recorded songs. Critics have characterized the music on the album as contemporary worship and pop rock, with a more radio-friendly sound than the band's self-released albums.

    Almost There received critical acclaim from music critics, who praised the album's songwriting; "I Can Only Imagine" received particular compliments. Critics were more divided on the album's sound. Some felt the album was "innovative" or "fresh", while others felt it was middle-of-the-road or derivative. CCM Magazine listed it in their 25th anniversary edition as one of '100 Albums You Need to Own'. (Full article...)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (top left) and The Five (counter-clockwise from bottom left): Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (top left) and The Five (counter-clockwise from bottom left): Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Image 10The Ecstatic is the fourth album by American rapper Mos Def, released on June 9, 2009, by the independent record label Downtown Records. After venturing further away from hip hop with an acting career and two poorly received albums, Mos Def signed a recording contract with Downtown and recorded The Ecstatic primarily at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. He worked with producers such as Preservation, Mr. Flash, Oh No, and Madlib, the latter two of whom reused instrumentals they had produced on Stones Throw Records. The work of Stones Throw rapper MF Doom was also cited by Mos Def as an influence, while singer Georgia Anne Muldrow, formerly of the record label, performed as one of the album's few guest vocalists, along with rappers Slick Rick and Talib Kweli.The album has been described by music journalists as a conscious and alternative hip hop record with an eccentric, internationalist quality. Mos Def's raps about global politics, love, war, spirituality, and social conditions are informed by the zeitgeist of the late 2000s, Black internationalism, and Pan-Islamic ideas, incorporating a number of Islamic references throughout the album. Its loosely structured, lightly reverbed songs use unconventional time signatures and samples taken from a variety of international musical styles, including Afrobeat, soul, Eurodance, jazz, reggae, Latin, and Middle Eastern music. Mos Def titled the album after one of his favorite novels, Victor LaValle's The Ecstatic (2002), believing its titular phrase evoked his singular musical vision. For the album's front cover, a still from Charles Burnett's 1978 film Killer of Sheep was reproduced in red tint. (Full article...)
    The Ecstatic is the fourth album by American rapper Mos Def, released on June 9, 2009, by the independent record label Downtown Records. After venturing further away from hip hop with an acting career and two poorly received albums, Mos Def signed a recording contract with Downtown and recorded The Ecstatic primarily at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. He worked with producers such as Preservation, Mr. Flash, Oh No, and Madlib, the latter two of whom reused instrumentals they had produced on Stones Throw Records. The work of Stones Throw rapper MF Doom was also cited by Mos Def as an influence, while singer Georgia Anne Muldrow, formerly of the record label, performed as one of the album's few guest vocalists, along with rappers Slick Rick and Talib Kweli.

    The album has been described by music journalists as a conscious and alternative hip hop record with an eccentric, internationalist quality. Mos Def's raps about global politics, love, war, spirituality, and social conditions are informed by the zeitgeist of the late 2000s, Black internationalism, and Pan-Islamic ideas, incorporating a number of Islamic references throughout the album. Its loosely structured, lightly reverbed songs use unconventional time signatures and samples taken from a variety of international musical styles, including Afrobeat, soul, Eurodance, jazz, reggae, Latin, and Middle Eastern music. Mos Def titled the album after one of his favorite novels, Victor LaValle's The Ecstatic (2002), believing its titular phrase evoked his singular musical vision. For the album's front cover, a still from Charles Burnett's 1978 film Killer of Sheep was reproduced in red tint. (Full article...)
  • Image 11Halo 3 Original Soundtrack is the official soundtrack to Bungie's first-person shooter video game Halo 3. Most of the original music was composed by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, but also includes a bonus track, "LvUrFR3NZ", which was the winning entry in a contest held before the soundtrack's release. The 2-CD set was released on November 20, 2007.For the next game in the Halo trilogy, O'Donnell added new themes as well as bringing back and expanding old ones, some of which had never been recorded with a full orchestra before. The score made extensive use of the piano, an instrument which O'Donnell used frequently for composition but that had not been featured in previous Halo music. In addition to scoring the game, the music was used for promotional advertisements and trailers preceding Halo 3's release. The game's score and its soundtrack were generally well received. The soundtrack reached the Billboard 200 chart, and also broke the top twenty best-selling soundtracks and independent albums listings. The score was nominated for X-Play's "Best of 2007" awards, under best original soundtrack. (Full article...)
    Halo 3 Original Soundtrack is the official soundtrack to Bungie's first-person shooter video game Halo 3. Most of the original music was composed by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, but also includes a bonus track, "LvUrFR3NZ", which was the winning entry in a contest held before the soundtrack's release. The 2-CD set was released on November 20, 2007.

    For the next game in the Halo trilogy, O'Donnell added new themes as well as bringing back and expanding old ones, some of which had never been recorded with a full orchestra before. The score made extensive use of the piano, an instrument which O'Donnell used frequently for composition but that had not been featured in previous Halo music. In addition to scoring the game, the music was used for promotional advertisements and trailers preceding Halo 3's release. The game's score and its soundtrack were generally well received. The soundtrack reached the Billboard 200 chart, and also broke the top twenty best-selling soundtracks and independent albums listings. The score was nominated for X-Play's "Best of 2007" awards, under best original soundtrack. (Full article...)
  • Image 12"Smells Like Teen Spirit" is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It is the opening track and lead single from the band's second album, Nevermind (1991), released on DGC Records. The unexpected success of the song propelled Nevermind to the top of several albums charts at the start of 1992, an event often marked as the point when grunge entered the mainstream."Smells Like Teen Spirit" was Nirvana's biggest hit in most countries, charting high on music industry charts around the world in 1991 and 1992, including topping the charts of Belgium, France, New Zealand and Spain. The song garnered widespread critical acclaim, including topping the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll. The song was dubbed an "anthem for apathetic kids" of Generation X, but Nirvana grew uncomfortable with the attention it brought them. In the years since Kurt Cobain's death, listeners and critics have continued to praise "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as one of the greatest songs of all time. (Full article...)
    "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is a song by American rock band Nirvana. It is the opening track and lead single from the band's second album, Nevermind (1991), released on DGC Records. The unexpected success of the song propelled Nevermind to the top of several albums charts at the start of 1992, an event often marked as the point when grunge entered the mainstream.

    "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was Nirvana's biggest hit in most countries, charting high on music industry charts around the world in 1991 and 1992, including topping the charts of Belgium, France, New Zealand and Spain. The song garnered widespread critical acclaim, including topping the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll. The song was dubbed an "anthem for apathetic kids" of Generation X, but Nirvana grew uncomfortable with the attention it brought them. In the years since Kurt Cobain's death, listeners and critics have continued to praise "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as one of the greatest songs of all time. (Full article...)
  • Image 13"All About That Bass" is the debut single of American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, released on June 30, 2014, through Epic Records. The song was included on Trainor's first extended play (EP) Title (2014) and her studio album of the same name (2015). Written by Trainor and producer Kevin Kadish, "All About That Bass" is a bubblegum pop, doo-wop and hip hop track. Trainor, who as a teenager struggled with her negative body image, was inspired to write the song to promote self-acceptance.Some music critics praised "All About That Bass"'s production and memorable message, while others called it a novelty song and criticized the failure of its lyrics to empower every body type. The song was nominated for awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. It was the best-selling song by a female artist during the 2010s in the United States, and was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It also reached number one in 58 countries and received multi-platinum certifications in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom, becoming the fourth best-selling song of 2014 with 11 million copies sold worldwide. (Full article...)
    "All About That Bass" is the debut single of American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, released on June 30, 2014, through Epic Records. The song was included on Trainor's first extended play (EP) Title (2014) and her studio album of the same name (2015). Written by Trainor and producer Kevin Kadish, "All About That Bass" is a bubblegum pop, doo-wop and hip hop track. Trainor, who as a teenager struggled with her negative body image, was inspired to write the song to promote self-acceptance.

    Some music critics praised "All About That Bass"'s production and memorable message, while others called it a novelty song and criticized the failure of its lyrics to empower every body type. The song was nominated for awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. It was the best-selling song by a female artist during the 2010s in the United States, and was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It also reached number one in 58 countries and received multi-platinum certifications in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom, becoming the fourth best-selling song of 2014 with 11 million copies sold worldwide. (Full article...)
  • Image 14Ghostbusters II is a 1989 American supernatural comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts. It is the sequel to the 1984 film Ghostbusters and the second film in the Ghostbusters franchise. Set five years after the events of the first film, the Ghostbusters have been sued and put out of business after the destruction caused during their battle with the deity Gozer. When a new paranormal threat emerges, the Ghostbusters reunite to combat it and save the world.After the phenomenal success of Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures wanted a sequel but struggled to overcome objections from the cast and crew. As with the first film, Aykroyd and Ramis collaborated on the script, which went through many variations. The pair wanted to convey a message about the consequences of negative human emotions in large cities. They settled on the idea of negative feelings creating a mass of supernatural slime beneath New York City that empowers malevolent spirits. With a budget of $30–40 million, filming took place between November 1988 and March 1989 in New York City and Los Angeles. Production was rushed compared to the original film's 13-month cycle; large sections of the film were scrapped after poorly received test screenings. New scenes were written and filmed during re-shoots between March and April 1989, only two months before its release. (Full article...)
    Ghostbusters II is a 1989 American supernatural comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts. It is the sequel to the 1984 film Ghostbusters and the second film in the Ghostbusters franchise. Set five years after the events of the first film, the Ghostbusters have been sued and put out of business after the destruction caused during their battle with the deity Gozer. When a new paranormal threat emerges, the Ghostbusters reunite to combat it and save the world.

    After the phenomenal success of Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures wanted a sequel but struggled to overcome objections from the cast and crew. As with the first film, Aykroyd and Ramis collaborated on the script, which went through many variations. The pair wanted to convey a message about the consequences of negative human emotions in large cities. They settled on the idea of negative feelings creating a mass of supernatural slime beneath New York City that empowers malevolent spirits. With a budget of $30–40 million, filming took place between November 1988 and March 1989 in New York City and Los Angeles. Production was rushed compared to the original film's 13-month cycle; large sections of the film were scrapped after poorly received test screenings. New scenes were written and filmed during re-shoots between March and April 1989, only two months before its release. (Full article...)
  • Wagner in 1871, by Franz Hanfstaengl
    Wagner in 1871, by Franz Hanfstaengl
    signature written in ink in a flowing script

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