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an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.
the tones or sounds employed, occurring in single line (melody) or multiple lines (harmony), and sounded or to be sounded by one or more voices or instruments, or both.
work or compositions for singing or playing.
the written or printed score of a composition.
such scores collectively.
any sweet, pleasing, or harmonious sounds or sound:
the music of the waves.
appreciation of or responsiveness to sounds or harmonies:
Music was in his very soul.
Fox Hunting. the cry of the hounds.
face the music, to meet, take, or accept the consequences of one’s mistakes, actions, etc.:
He’s squandered his money and now he’s got to face the music.
Contemporary Examples

“I had already achieved my childhood dream,” he says of his success in music; it was time to do something different.
Shooting the Stars With Fashion Photographers Markus and Indrani Abigail Pesta November 24, 2012

Keith Richards is most famous for his music and one-time drug use.
Keith Richards Wins Mailer Award
 Allison Yarrow November 3, 2011

The band is well aware of this, and of how changing dynamics affected the music.
Interpol on the Arrogance of Believing Their Own Myth and Life After Carlos D. Melissa Leon September 7, 2014

But the music, these days, is really more of a backdrop when it comes to Coachella.
Coachella, Oasis For Douchebags and Trust Fund Babies, Should Be Avoided At All Costs Marlow Stern April 11, 2014

I gotta say—I think this past year was pretty bad for music.
Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness Marlow Stern January 6, 2015

Historical Examples

Of all the arts it was music that cast over Lilla the strongest spell.
Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman

The silence remained unbroken, until Paralus asked for music.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

Tedcastle bows involuntarily to the great teacher and master of music.
Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

A gentle strain of music, scarcely audible, seemed to make reply.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

When it entered, the drum beat a Saracen rhythm and there was music again.
Castellinaria Henry Festing Jones

an art form consisting of sequences of sounds in time, esp tones of definite pitch organized melodically, harmonically, rhythmically and according to tone colour
such an art form characteristic of a particular people, culture, or tradition: Indian music, rock music, baroque music
the sounds so produced, esp by singing or musical instruments
written or printed music, such as a score or set of parts
any sequence of sounds perceived as pleasing or harmonious
(rare) a group of musicians: the Queen’s music
(informal) face the music, to confront the consequences of one’s actions
music to one’s ears, something that is very pleasant to hear: his news is music to my ears

mid-13c., musike, from Old French musique (12c.) and directly from Latin musica “the art of music,” also including poetry (also source of Spanish musica, Italian musica, Old High German mosica, German Musik, Dutch muziek, Danish musik), from Greek mousike (techne) “(art) of the Muses,” from fem. of mousikos “pertaining to the Muses,” from Mousa “Muse” (see muse (n.)). Modern spelling from 1630s. In classical Greece, any art in which the Muses presided, but especially music and lyric poetry.

The use of letters to denote music notes is probably at least as old as ancient Greece, as their numbering system was ill-suited to the job. Natural scales begin at C (not A) because in ancient times the minor mode was more often used than the major one, and the natural minor scale begins at A.

Music box is from 1773, originally “barrel organ;” music hall is from 1842, especially “hall licensed for musical entertainment” (1857). To face the music “accept the consequences” is from 1850; the exact image is uncertain, one theory ties it to stage performers, another to cavalry horses having to be taught to stay calm while the regimental band plays. To make (beautiful) music with someone “have sexual intercourse” is from 1967.

Related Terms

bubblegum music, chin music, elevator music, face the music, rap song, soul

language, music
A series of languages for musical sound synthesis from Bell Labs, 1960’s. Versions: Music I through Music V.
[“An Acoustical Compiler for Music and Psychological Stimuli”, M.V. Mathews, Bell Sys Tech J 40 (1961)].
[Jargon File]

Jubal was the inventor of musical instruments (Gen. 4:21). The Hebrews were much given to the cultivation of music. Their whole history and literature afford abundant evidence of this. After the Deluge, the first mention of music is in the account of Laban’s interview with Jacob (Gen. 31:27). After their triumphal passage of the Red Sea, Moses and the children of Israel sang their song of deliverance (Ex. 15). But the period of Samuel, David, and Solomon was the golden age of Hebrew music, as it was of Hebrew poetry. Music was now for the first time systematically cultivated. It was an essential part of training in the schools of the prophets (1 Sam. 10:5; 19:19-24; 2 Kings 3:15; 1 Chr. 25:6). There now arose also a class of professional singers (2 Sam. 19:35; Eccl. 2:8). The temple, however, was the great school of music. In the conducting of its services large bands of trained singers and players on instruments were constantly employed (2 Sam. 6:5; 1 Chr. 15; 16; 23;5; 25:1-6). In private life also music seems to have held an important place among the Hebrews (Eccl. 2:8; Amos 6:4-6; Isa. 5:11, 12; 24:8, 9; Ps. 137; Jer. 48:33; Luke 15:25).

In addition to the idiom beginning with music also see: face the music


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