“Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.”

Malcolm Arnold

Music is a human activity that functions within its social and cultural contexts. It has never been an autonomous art form divorced from social, political, economic, technological, and ethical developments. Instead, music in society and culture touches on an extensive range of human endeavors. It may accompany every human activity from the cradle to the grave and include lullabies, games, dancing, working, healing, battling, ceremonies, festivals, weddings and funerals. Music in and as culture suggest not only how people use, perform, compose and think about music and their general attitudes towards it, but also how it functions as emotional expression, aesthetic enjoyment, or as entertainment. In this section you find articles that look at music from a variety of interdisciplinary and current viewpoints. We explore music influence, the value of music, and music of life through the lens of folklore, cultural anthropology, performance studies, dance, area studies, cultural studies, gender studies, race or ethnic studies, or other fields in the humanities and social sciences. Music plays an important role in shaping society and identities, and it provides parameters that can be used to frame experiences, perceptions, feelings, and comportments. For better or worse, music has become a commodity and significantly changed our experience and social practices.

242 Posts
  • Beethoven and Film Beethoven and Film
    All kinds of Beethoven’s music have been used in films – nothing quite says culture like our heroine sitting down at the piano and rippling a few tender tunes with her delicate fingers. The familiar sound of the Bagatelle No.
  • Train-Spotting Composers Train-Spotting Composers
    Can you imagine naming a whole class of trains after composers? That’s what British Rail did with its Class 92 electric locomotives. From Beethoven to Wagner (or, so cite British composers, from Britten to Sullivan), the names of composers from
  • Staying Healthy: Mental Health With Help Musicians Staying Healthy: Mental Health With Help Musicians
    Life as a musician brings with it its own unique set of problems and challenges, and in my previous article I talked about how I try to stay healthy and happy while away from home. Perhaps even more pressing than
  • Doctors’ Orchestras Doctors’ Orchestras
    In a previous article on Medical Musicians, I looked at the question of why people in the medical fraternity are drawn to making music in groups much more than other professional bodies. This article highlights many of the doctors’ orchestras
  • Concerts in the Time of Coronavirus Concerts in the Time of Coronavirus
    Concert– a performance by musicians or singers for an audience The word “concert” conjures up an image of a beautiful hall, an orchestra or soloists on stage and an appreciative audience listening intently. From the grand old halls such as
  • Music and the Plague and Other Dilemmas Music and the Plague and Other Dilemmas
    The Plague was the Medieval world’s pandemic. The 20th and 21st century pandemic is the flu. No black swellings of the lymph nodes for the modern patient, we get lung problems with fever. St. Sebastian, he of the arrows, was
  • Medical Musicians Medical Musicians
    With the medical world up to their necks in the COVID-19 virus outbreak, medical people will not be getting much rest. But when things do get back to normal, they will be turning back to one of their greatest loves,