less than 1 minute read

Musical Composition

Cultural Roles, Changing Definitions, Conclusion, Bibliography

The term composition (from the Latin com, together, and ponere, to put) is commonly applied in Western music to a notated work, and in non-Western systems to a consistently united progression or organization of sounds. Although Western music compositions have been defined by their narrative structure (i.e., progression toward a climax, etc.) a more accurate definition, encompassing modern Western experimental music and much non-Western music, is that of music composition as an alteration of a listener's "normal" acoustic environment through the creation of an artificially created acoustic environment by the joint activities of a composer and performer—movement through time rather than specifically narrative. In the field of music perception, composition is described scientifically, as a combination of linguistic elements (grammar, syntax, communication), the brain's bias toward finding pattern and regularity, and psychoacoustic factors (the physical limitations of the human senses). The details of this article on music composition will largely focus on Western classical music, but as necessary with such a wide-ranging term, other countries and styles are included in a limited form as well.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cluster compound to Concupiscence