Originally posted by Palynka
Another interesting set of questions could be:
- Historically, are any known examples of societies where the concept of music did not exist?
- Why is music so prevalent in human societies?
-- Yes, in that there are societies without a word that would be translated as 'music' (although, confusingly, they have forms of expression that would be translated as 'music'
-- Music (which etymologically speaking includes dance and poetry) has many beneficial applications: social cohesion, dramatic expression, communication. Music (broadly defined) probably precedes speech (birds, insects use music too). (This isn't a very good answer but it's a beginning.)
The fundamental characteristic of music, to me, is that it compels you to listen. All you need for music is rhythm. Since the notion of 'the music of the spheres' was once common currency it's not a problem to classify natural sound as music. After all it's in the ear of the listener. You can edit natural sounds to compose music in your head.
But really the question I'd ask, which does overlap your questions, is what the function of music has been in human society.