Going to music college is a very serious field of study, and it goes above and beyond the simple enjoyment of performing music. One of the things you will learn about is the different aspects of music. By knowing the art itself, you will also be able to create better art yourself.
The Aspects of Music
The classical, traditional European aspects of music are perhaps the best known for following what music still is today. This includes things like form, timbre, tone color, rhythm, harmony, and melody. In college, you are likely to learn about this in four broad categories, being duration, loudness, timbre, and pitch. Put together, those four aspects help to create some of the secondary aspects of music, including style, texture, and structure.
There are other aspects as well, such as dance, gesture, the movement of sound in space, and structure. Silence is another aspect of music, recognized during the era of Romanticism, where symphonies would take dramatic pauses. In the 20th century, silence became an artistic statement, perhaps embodied best in 4’33” by John Cage. The aspects that are part of music vary greatly, as does their importance. For instance, classical music focuses strongly on harmony and melody, and less on timbre and rhythm.
One big question, and one you will debate on in college, is whether there is such a thing as universal aspects of music. To date, the agreement is that only “tonality” is universal across all music. Some, however, say pulse is also a universal, although some music pieces are said to be created with no regular pulse.
The Music Industry
Music is written and performed for various reasons, including entertainment, ceremonial purposes, and esthetic pleasure. Often, an amateur musician composes and performs simply because they enjoy it. Professional musicians, by contrast, work for labels or organizations and want to actually make money out of it. Of course, that doesn’t mean that amateurs wouldn’t like to earn a living from music, or that professionals don’t enjoy what they do.
Amateur and professional musicians are different, however. The biggest difference is that the amateur musician must find a source of income outside of performing music. However, the links between the amateurs and the professionals are very tight. Often, a new amateur musician can work together with a professional in an orchestra, band, or other ensemble. Sometimes, although this is rare, an amateur musician is so good that their competence is professional straight away, in which case they could become professional without mentorship.
There is often a distinction in professional music as well. On the one hand, music can be performed in order to entertain a live audience. On the other hand, music can be performed in order to create a recording. Said recording is then used to entertain the audience, either through a broadcasting system or through the music retail business. It is also possible for music to be recorded during a live performance, and to then get distributed for broadcasting purposes.