Music is the science of arranging sounds from varying sources in time to create a specific composition as in the case of melody, rhythm, harmony, and melodic timbre. It is among the universal human cultural values of all human cultures. It can be described as being a basic human right, since music is an expression of emotion that has no boundaries. History has shown us that music has evolved over time into many diverse forms. Some have survived, such as the folk music of Africa, the classical forms of European music, as well as indigenous North American Indian music.
The twentieth century witnessed a major evolution in the field of music. A number of popular styles developed in this period. The first styles developed were folk music, Romanticism, and Expressionism. While these styles started off as efforts to express individual artists’ individual creative impulses, they later developed as a result of the growing need of listeners for familiar and rhythmic sounds.
During the last century, the field of ethnomusicology has given a more concrete definition to music. The term was first used by E.E. Homer from his famous epics. He distinguished three main types of sound in nature. These are noise, tone, and beat. Following him, other ethnomusicologists like Edward Sapir added another five types.
With such definitions in hand, ethnomusicologists were able to better describe the evolution of music. They were able to link the evolution of music to a particular socio-cultural environment, such as language, norms, and ideals. For instance, music differs according to its regional dialect, which shows how ethnomusicology could also apply to musical traditions. This approach however, goes beyond the scope of this article.
Today, many would agree that classical composers did not invent rock and roll. The group itself did not produce the first rock tune. What it did was adopt and incorporate elements from other styles into what is now known as “rock”. Many musical genres have emerged from this rock and roll. Most notable among them are folk, punk rock, jazz, metal, and classical. Nowadays, many ethnomusicologists believe that classical music and punk rock were shaped by the same influences, but developed in different ways.
Most ethnomusicologists believe that classical music began as something different from the sounds created by the various cultural groups. Therefore, they theorize that its development did not start with any one single composer. Instead, the evolution of classical music began when different composers found ways to express their creativity within the constraints of classical rules. Afterward, these composers combined their expressive ideas into new sounds and changed them into recognizable sounds. Thus, classical music became a rich, detailed, poetic form.
During the punk rock era, many musicians adopted an abrasive approach to making music. In contrast to the beauty and intricacy of classical music, this style of music was characterized by aggressive melodies, complex chords, fast tempo, and non-traditional structure. Unlike classical music, punk rock lyrics often use offensive and expletive terms. The musical genres often referred to as being related to the punk rock era include heavy metal, Gothic, industrial, neo-classical, noise, and classic pop/rock.
Today, a number of ethnomusicologists believe that the diversity of music today results from the different influences that artists brought into the limelight. This can account for the similarities between many different styles of music that exist today. Another theory put forth is that a single influence, such as the blues, pushed music towards an abrasive sound that is still used today. This type of music borrows from a number of other styles such as jazz, gospel, country, and even classical music. It makes use of sounds that cannot be categorized and it has become a highly popular form of music.