Music can bring great pleasure and can be enjoyed by many in various forms – concerts, CD’s, computers, iPods or radio.

Make other activities more exciting, such as dancing or sports playing. Help people relax and unwind; enhance concentration; or convey messages.


Music comes from its Greek root musiike, which translates as the art of the muses – nine goddesses representing singing, poetry, dance, and comedy arts.

Music has long been used as a means to express feelings, communicate information, enrich communities and connect us to beauty – often all at the same time! Sometimes a piece of music can do all this simultaneously.

Folk or tribal music is the oldest type of music. This style includes singing and playing a wide array of instruments like flutes, violins, drums, harpsichords and hammered dulcimers. This genre was often played at bars or dance halls; religious ceremonies also often employed it. With the invention of printed sheet music during Renaissance periods it helped spread musical styles more rapidly than before.


Music serves a variety of functions: it can convey feelings and convey information; provide entertainment and recreation; foster spirituality and express culture. Furthermore, music serves as a means to convey ideas and messages across language barriers while stimulating memories and emotions for listeners and performers alike.

Music can create bonds between mother and child, unite members of choir or band, or soothe crowds during disaster or pandemic. According to Jeremy Montagu, it may have even been one of the earliest forms of social cohesion as early humans relied on sounds to coordinate group activities and establish hierarchies of submission and dominance.

Bring music into the classroom by challenging students to categorize different musical works as ceremonial, recreational, or artistic expression pieces and then select songs in each category for a program called the Purposes of Music.


Studies on the functions of music have been undertaken from exploratory approaches through questionnaires or interviews, to different theories; including explicit evolutionary claims as well as those without. As a result, many possible functions have been proposed; from those suggested by specific hypotheses to extensive collections drawn from literature research.

One study asked respondents about how their favorite music fulfilled different functions in their lives and compared these responses with preferences across two countries with differing cultural environments (India, which represents collectivism, and Germany, which represents individualism). Factor analyses narrowed these numerous functions down into seven main groups: background entertainment, prompting memories, diversion, emotion regulation, self-reflection and social bonding.


Musical technique refers to the skills used by instrumental and vocal musicians when performing music. This encompasses everything from accenting or diminishing pitches in notes, to phrasing, vibrato levels and extended instrument techniques such as sweep picking on guitar or slapping bass basses.

Musical techniques also include rhythm, which refers to the pattern of beats in a piece of music; polyrhythm, where multiple rhythms coexist within a song; and harmony – multiple melodies played or sung at once.

Music production techniques use techniques such as pitch shifting to produce unique sounds in songs. Pitch shifting, an audio effect which changes the pitch of voices or instruments, has even been employed in popular cartoon series like Alvin and the Chipmunks to give songs an electronically robotic sound.


Modern music psychology seeks to increase scientific understanding of any psychological aspect related to musical behavior such as listening, performing, creating, memorizing, analysing describing learning as well as applied social development attitudinal or therapeutic studies. It typically employs direct observations on human participants.

Questionnaire studies often result in long lists of possible musical functions, which are then pared down using factor analyses – this may depend on research literature or personal priorities of the author(s).

Functions that music serves include regulating mood or energy levels (listening to happy music to brighten one’s spirits or fast-paced tunes to increase excitement), self-reflection or awareness and social bonding. Researchers have even discovered that music can trigger emotion in people from diverse cultural backgrounds.