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The Theory of Music
Music has always been a part of human life. It is associated with emotions, and is a vital adjunct to ceremonies and rituals. For example, music has been used in psychotherapy, advertising, and geriatrics.
The study of music has been a hotly debated topic since the 19th century. While many theorists agree that it is an auditory phenomenon, there is a wide variety of opinions about how it can be explained.
Aristotle, for example, believed that music had the power to mold humans. He saw music as the reflection of divine harmony. However, he also believed that it had an acoustical aspect.
Plato, on the other hand, viewed music as a department of ethics. Moreover, he treated earthly music as the shadow of the ideal.
Similarly, Stoics and Epicureans placed music in service of virtue and moderation. They also credited human listeners with making music possible.
Aristoxenus, a pupil of Aristotle, denied the possibility of mathematical considerations in music. Instead, he emphasized its emotional effect.
Rene Descartes, a faithful Platonist, suggested that musical tone be defined by regular vibrations. He also prescribed simple melodies, and temperate rhythms.
Another major school of thought, the composer-critics, emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These composers exploited the distinctive sonorities of instruments.
In the 20th century, the symbolists and expressionists made significant contributions to the theory of music. Symbolists, for example, incorporated formalist and psychological elements in their compositions. Expressionists, on the other hand, used music to convey moral imperatives.