Music has long been an essential human activity, evoking profound emotions while contributing to cultural evolution. Scientific studies demonstrate this timeless phenomenon by showing its impact on academic achievement, social-emotional development and neurogenesis – the ability of the brain to produce new neurons. Beyond these benefits, music offers students of all ages a creative outlet and way to build interpersonal connections among their peers.

Music’s roots and cultural and societal implications are multifaceted, and its definition remains contentious and debated. One prevailing theory suggests its core components as being pitch, rhythm, melody and harmony – yet their precise characteristics and how they come together to produce music is an ongoing topic of research and discovery.

Music has long been valued as an art form across cultures for its beauty and expressive power. Used to soothe, uplift or inspire listeners alike, music helps us connect and overcome barriers between individuals. Legendary stories of Tansen bringing rain with Raag Megh Malhar singing or lighting lamps by playing Raga Deepak bear testament to this healing art’s beneficial effect on both mind and body.

Classical music’s success in the West can be traced to its ability to transcend cultures and societies; yet an appreciation of its value and nature can be gained through examination of its composition principles, inner workings, and place in society as a whole.

An extramusical aspect that has had an immense influence on musical history is necessity. Democritus famously rejected music and other arts as essential, considering them “graceful embellishments.” His argument remains influential even though psychological understandings of play may have begun eroding this belief.

Plato and Aristotle both held that music was an expression of the divine; later this symbolic interpretation became supplemented with Plotinus’ 3rd century CE belief that works of art could convey some measure of truth.

More recently, physicist and musician David Brackett has suggested that experiencing tones (the “musical space”) rather than mere sounds is central to our experience of Music. Additionally, he has stressed the significance of timbre – voice-like quality – in creating musical time as melody, harmony, and rhythm interact together – these aspects distinguish music from noise while providing emotional responses and expressive power unique to this universal art form.