Music’s evolution

Ancient humans was mimicking nature: replaying bird songs, animal roars, started combine sounds with emotions and developed first music. Rocks, wooden sticks, even grass was used to help them improve their music and became first musical instruments. Humans start to change, and music evolved together with them.

Language changed before existed music. People start to sing about seen places and people. They was playing melodies by flutes and harps – one of the first evolved music instruments. Music became big part of human lives, was invented more and more music instruments such as ancient lyres, clarinets, trumpets and one of the most popular instruments even in our days – guitar. People start to accompanied vocals with instruments and record music on a paper.

Ancient Greeks felt passion for music, every free person needed to study music’s theory, philosophy. They even had a music competitions where people was playing bagpipes, double flutes, seven holed flutes. Competitions were taking place in ancient theaters which ones created foundation for our day theaters. Then came Middle Ages bringing us vocal church music. Knights and travelers musicians represented secular music enriching it with new musical genres as hymn, Gregorian chant (approved music of the church), motet. Liturgical drama as well appeared in Middle ages. It have been performed in various religious holidays and usually was short act with a music and chants. Liturgical drama along with the ancient Greek theater contributed to the emergence of the opera.

Polyphony and church music was dominating in Renaissance, but was created a lot of secular music as well. Formed polyphony music culture centers – polyphony schools. In Italy appeared new music gender – madrigal. It usually was a love songs and has been sung in all nobility feasts. Instrumental music became very popular in Renaissance. People was creating new musical instruments and improving old ones. Churches continued to use pipe organs. In XV – XVI century was created new keyboard instruments such as harpsichord and clavichord. Lute was one of the most popular string instruments at that time.

About XVII century came splendid and majestic Baroque. In Baroque music was understandable as feeling and experience expression. Big part of music was still polyphonic, but next to it appeared homophony (obvious melody with accompaniment). Baroque brought us first opera – theatrical style gender where word, act and music blends together. First opera “Euridice” was created 1600 in Italy by J. Peri and G. Caccini. Later appeared one more music genre – oratorio. It was similar to opera, but without acting, costumes or decorations. After while people got tired from majestic Baroque style and started to look for something simple and natural. That’s how came Classical period. Classical music was clear, symmetric. Homophony took the biggest part in it. Opera was yet very important and instrumental music started to play bigger part in classical music. Was created one of the biggest those days novelties – grand piano. Most important instrumental music’s genre were concert, symphony, string quartet. J. Haydn shaped structure of these genres and his ideas was continued by V.A. Mozart and L. van Beethoven.

In XIX century people started to resist to strict and accurate classical music and created a new romantic music where they could express the value of humans personality and feelings. Lots of Romantic period composers was writing music with ethnically shades, they were disappointed with life and dreamed about better one. Melody and harmony was very important in romantics music. Famous composers from Romantic period includes Schumann, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Strauss.

The Twentieth-Century was invention and technology time. Compositors tried to be original, create something new and unseen. But there was people who wanted to save romantic period traditions and incorporate them in modern music. It formed new modernism directions – impressionism, expressionism, neoclassicism. Famous modernism compositors were K. Debussy, A. Schoenberg, I. Stravinsky. Second century side brings us different modernism directions – avant-garde, minimalism and postmodernism. XX century gave us three very important music genres which ones we are enjoying now, it’s jazz, rock and techno music. Now we just need to wait and see what music will bring us next.

Most popular music genres in the world

Music is one of those things that can bring together like-minded people. The music genre you are listening to affects your personality and way of thinking, so people who like the same music usually have a lot in common. Nowadays the list of music genres and subgenres is almost endless and also all the genres has mixed throughout the time so it’s quite hard to label yourself as a fan of specific music genre, but here is a list of most popular music genres in the word.

The most popular music genre almost since its origins is rock music, because of the large amount of rock bands all over the world. As it was mentioned before, most popular music genres nowadays have a lot of subgenres and rock is no exception. It has developed in many forms. Most popular subgenres of rock music are classical rock, alternate rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, indie rock etc. All of these subgenres have typical rock music features such as pronounced sound of electric guitar and simple rhythms in a 4/4 meter, but each one of them has something unique.

The next one is pop music. From lot of aspects, it can be called the most popular music genre in the world, because this kind of music is played almost anywhere and pop music songs are usually well known. Unlike other genres, pop music has no specific characteristics beside simple, catchy rhythm and beat. As a pop music is considered all kind of music, that is created for mass audience.

Nowadays very popular is also EDM or electronic dance music. It is played in nightclubs, so it has gained large popularity among young people. Just like disco music in the 80s, the electronic dance music is an integral part of nightlife and parties. EDM in lot of cases is just a remix of songs from other genres. These remixes are made to be more rhythmic and suitable for dancing.

Still one of the most popular music genres is hip-hop. It reached the highest point in popularity at the 90s, but still there are a lot of hip-hop artists that are popular all over the world and this kind of music are played a lot. The ideology and also performance of hip-hop music has changed a lot throughout years, but the main characteristics as rapping, rhythmic beats and pot-valiant attitude has remained.

Of course, heavy metal has a lot of fans. Actually it is considered to be the subgenre of rock music, but as it is so different and independent, we allow separating it from rock music. Some of the most popular bands in the world represent exactly this music genre so the count of heavy metal fans beats lot of other genres. The drumming, distortion sounds and guitar souls with heavy beats are what characterize metal.

R&B or rhythm and blues is another genre that has changed throughout years, but has remained its popularity. At the beginning it was African American music that was all about the racism and social inequality, but nowadays the themes of R&B covers such themes as love, relationship etc. This genre has influence from many other genres, so it is quite varied, but the most typical characteristics of R&B is variable rhythm and smooth particular melody.

The last one in this list is country music. Although there are not so many world famous country singers as in other genres, it is quite popular and is known all over the world. This music genre formed in USA southern states in the 40s as music of different ethnic groups, so it was very fragmented, but nowadays it has spread and it has some similar characteristics. Usually it covers such themes as relationship and typical musical instrument used in country music is acoustic guitar.

How music affects our brain?

Although many people don’t notice it, music is an important part of everyday life. We automatically put on music while doing lot of things for example driving a car, working, exercising, relaxing, partying etc. It just seems self explanatory, but actually music has a huge impact on our brain and body, that’s why we have this need of music.

Music affects different parts of brain at the same time, that’s why we react to music in many ways. For example, such part of brain as amygdale is responsible for the emotional reactions to music. Motor cortex is responsible for need to dance or tap the feats. Auditory cortex is responsible for analyzing the tones of music. Hippocampus is responsible for memorizing the music. Also other parts of brain are responsible for some reaction to music, but different people may have different reactions.

To see clearly the effect of music lets evaluate diametrically opposed music types. One of the ways how we can divide music in opposite parts is happy and sad music. Even short fragments of highly sad or happy music can affect us. Studies has showed that the expression of humans face changes after hearing short fragment of sad or happy music. That means music can perceive emotions that we are not actually feeling. However, music can also remind of real emotions. This is the reason why some people think that sad music is depressing and some consider it more as inspiring and enjoyable.

The different effect of music can also be observed when choosing music for activities. While doing physical work, music can help and inspire, but while doing creative or very complicated work, music feels disturbing. That is because high noise makes our perception and ability of thinking weaker. Brain is engaged with music, so we are struggling to do the other works that needs a lot of thinking to do. Quiet and harmonic music, however can even help us to think, because than brain are not fully occupied and the tones of music can influence the creativity.

Type of music we are listening to also affects our personality. Music really can influence the way of thinking and different music genres affect people characteristics. For example, if you are regularly listening to aggressive music, you will feel anger and these emotions won’t just disappear when you turn off the music. You will become more aggressive and maybe even violent. If you listen to very emotional music, you will carry these emotions with you all the time and become very sensitive. However, music can affect different people differently. For some the aggressive music can be only an energy boost, because not everyone perceives music in direct way.

So now you see that the choice of music is not just a matter of taste. It can really influence the way you live your life, so be very careful whit it. Maybe some negative aspects of your personality or treatment to others is just the result of music choice.

Basic elements of music

Every sound is created by a vibration of an object. Our ears perceive these vibrations and based on the frequency and length of sound waves, the nerves in our ears send different the signals to our brain. That is how we hear all the sounds, but music is different from other sounds, because it has certain elements that controls and sorts these vibrations and makes it pleasant and harmonic.

One of these elements is rhythm. That means music has some specific, regular pattern. It is not just random collection of sounds. Every sounds has its place and they are all put is specific order that usually repeats. That means all the beats are grouped together. These groups of beats are called meters. Meters make these patterns and that is what makes music organized. Rhythm is one of the most important aspects that separate different music genres.

Next one is melody. Basically, melody is notes put in specific pattern. Notes are actually the height of sound. That means the height of sounds is ordered in harmonic way. There can be simple melodies that contain only single scale and also melodies with many chromatic notes.

Then there is also a texture of music. It is rhythm and melody put together. These both elements together make the musical piece sound in specific way. For example if the melody is complicated and there are many instruments playing at the same time, texture is considered as thick. The single melody is dense. Texture also refers to width to highest and lowest notes.

Timbre is what describes the uniqueness of the instrument pay or voice of the singer. The same note in the same frequency can sound very different played on different musical instruments. Also the technique of instrument play can affect the timbre, so if the two different people will play the same instrument, it will not sound exactly the same. It also refers to voice – every person sounds different when singing the same song.

Expression is what makes music different without changing the rhythm or melody. It can be done by adding some effects to the voice or instrument play. For example musician can make notes longer or shorter, also can change the intonation of the notes or change a pitch a little bit. That can give musical piece different sense.

And the last one is form or composition. That is the overall structure of the song. You probably have noticed that most of the songs have versus and chorus and they are arranged in specific order. There can also be different forms, for example only versus or even something completely different. The most common forms have specific names for example, strophic form, binary form, rondo form, developmental form etc.

These elements are what make music different from all the other sounds. They make music catchy, favorable and pleasure. If music not like that, it is just bunch of sounds put together.