Originally Posted by Jack Pat
Well... what do you think? What really is music?
Does it require a musician or can it exist on its own without one?
I'm going to quote the OP simply because I don't want to devolve into semantics and definitions. I want to address the essence of what I think music is and why.
First, I want to perform a thought experiment.
Imagine that there are many humans who could very well consider natural phenomenon as musical. Birdsong, pitched whistling of wind through trees, rhythmic beats of a boulder tumbling down a mountainside. Imagine that humans could arrange these types of sound in their minds and extract a musical phrase or episode from them. I'm sure we all can, and have done so many times.
Now, Imagine that suddenly, all human beings disappeared from the face of the earth, yet all these natural things remained. The birds, the wind, the rocks.
Would it still be music?
Like the cliche' riddle poses, "If a tree fell in the woods and there was no one around to hear it, would it still make a sound?"
Personally, I firmly believe that the tree would make a sound, because there is a physicality behind the phenomenon of sound. The tree hitting the ground would still cause vibration in the air, forming sound waves, which is sound.
But the crux of the question is hidden from plain sight.
Would the tree make a "sound", as we can perceive it?
Would the birds, the wind, and the rocks make "music", as we can perceive it?
Could, in some distant future where all humans become extinct, but record players remain playing their songs to no discerning ears be playing "music", or just ordered sound with no more meaning to the birds than their call's intent is to us?
Having waxed philosophical, I end with this:
I believe music is, or at least started, the perception of its strict definition. I believe music is our cultural and emotional understanding of ordered sound. I believe that, without us, ordered sound would have never had any propensity to become more than that...
And, as such, I believe that as long as we're around, music strictly exists in us. Otherwise, it's just another birdsong. Wind. Rocks.