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Music and Culture

Music and Culture

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Music and culture are inextricably linked. Music describes a form of art generated through the manipulation of sound. Culture is both the integrated system of beliefs and behaviors exercised by a society of persons and the aesthetic taste expressed by that society. Music as an art form and a mode of expression can be found in every human culture on the planet.

An outside observer can learn much about a particular culture by studying its music. For example, some cultures may prefer the use of particular forms of instruments. The use of these instruments might reflect the society's local natural resources or the society's aesthetic sound preferences. African music often incorporates many different types and styles of drums and tonal voice performances. In addition, some cultures have developed particular musical forms. For example, European cultures developed the vocal and instrumental demands associated with the performance of opera. The performance of opera within other cultures demonstrates how one culture may choose to appreciate and assimilate the music practices of another culture.

Music also accompanies different cultural rites. For example, an observer may use the involvement of music within major life events, such as wedding ceremonies or funerals. Participants within a ceremony might be assigned a particular musical role or duty to fulfill. The lack of musical accompaniment to an event may also hold some significance.

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