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What is music?

The tunes we hum while waiting for the morning coffee, the enthusiastic mating chirps from cicada, or the concoction of traffic and construction sounds downtown...are they all equally musical? Do we find one more musical than another? Why?


"Music is organized sound" - Edgard Varese


When we set the speakers to max volume at the summer cookout, we proudly display that playlist on Spotify we have been saving for just the occasion. We shush everyone else in the car to scream out to that one song when it hits on the radio. What about these pieces that appeal to us so much? Why don't we all share the same taste in the same music? Could it be sociocultural background that influenced our taste? Maybe something sounds good because we are familiar with it, or have been exposed to similar sounds that we feel accustomed to its appeal. Or maybe the aesthetic is so far removed from familiarity that the exoticism attracts like a magnet. Does personal experience shape musical preference? Do the memories associated with events that occurred with a piece music define it?


If music is a learned association of cognitive patterns, can we learn to appreciate all types of organized sound?


The battle of tonality is not over. There exists infinite possibilities of combinations of sounds and rhythms. Sometimes the absolute relinquishing of control can produce music of the utmost pure nature. Had we been raised with such types of sounds, would we develop intimate fondness toward it?



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