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The Importance of Music

The study of music has been controversial since its beginnings in the nineteenth century, with varying and contradictory views. It has been claimed that the various modes of music can mould the human personality in a variety of ways. Various theories based on psychology and aesthetics are presented here. These perspectives are often in conflict, but they all agree on some important elements.

Music is one of the most important elements of human societies, and it permeates every society. Its diverse styles have made it an ideal medium for forming alliances with other forms of expression, including words and physical movement. In addition to being a primary component of rituals and drama, music has long been credited with being able to reflect human emotion. Music has also been used in many fields, from psychotherapy and geriatrics to commercialism and advertising.

The importance of music in religious life was not lost on the early Greeks, who valued music for its religious utility. However, they were wary of its sensual element, and were particularly concerned that the melody did not overshadow the words. These ideas were later reinforced by Greek philosophers, including St. Thomas Aquinas. They believed that music echoed the order of the heavens and reflected the moral order of the universe.

Ancient Greeks played the lyre and double pipe. Lyres had three distinct forms, called chelys, lyra, and kollopes. The chelys or lyra had a tortoise-shell body and strings attached at the bottom. The kollopes, or tuning bob, was a cylindrical metal bar which twisted around a horizontal bar. The chelys or lyra was used as a musical instrument for after-dinner symposia.

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