The study of music in relationship to the culture that produces it with the goal of understanding something of what it is like on the inside of a particular music culture. It rests between anthropology and comparative musicology.
Music Culture
A given populations total involvement with music (ceremonial, religious, recreational, professional, commercial, etc.) One music culture may be
distinguished from another by large divisions (nationality) or smaller
How, within culture, music is passed from individual to individual and generation to generation.

Purpose for which a given piece of music is written.


5. Empirical Musical Culture:
All the tangible material “things:” related to music
that a culture produces (instruments, sheet music, tape recorders, etc.)
6. Enculturation
Passing on of traditions from one group/generation to another.
Culturally singular; remaining within the realm of a specific ethnic population.
8. Oral Tradition
The sustaining and passing on of information by word of mouth rather than documentation. (Stories, proverbs, riddles, methods of arts and crafts are commonly disseminated by oral tradition.)
Tribal Music
Music of non-literate cultures.
10. Cultural Accommodation
Adjustments a given culture makes in order to coexist with a more dominant culture. Accommodation can come about as the resolution of
11. Cultural Conquest
When a culture is brought to abandon its own traditions and take up the traditions of another culture (a population is required/led to set aside its own music/art and subscribe to that of a more dominant culture.)
12. Acculturation
Mutual influence of different cultures on each other.
13. Texture
Results from the instrumentation used in music. Music using few instruments or instruments of light tone color . A flute has light texture.
Music with many instruments or some with heavy tone color is said to have dense
14. Singing Style
Different cultures use the voice varyingly. Singing style refers to the way we use the voice in music.
15. Syllabic
One note for each syllable of text.
16. Melismatic
Several notes to a single syllable of text.
17. Non-lexical:
Sounds sung that are without literal meaning.
18. Form
Refers to the overall shape of a piece of music: the number of sections and subdivisions that occur. The architecture of a piece of music.
19. Strophic
Different verbal content given to a repeating melody. (E.g. different verses sung to the same melody.)
20: Through-composed
A song in which the music changes throughout instead of being
repeated for a series of verses.
21. Refrain
(Sometimes called the chorus in folk/popular songs) Certain lines that are repeated at regular intervals with the music and words remaining the same at each repetition.
22 Chant
Different words spoken on the same tone
23. Monophony
A single voice part (sung by one person or several in unison) without accompaniment other than percussion.
24. Homophony
Clear and distinct melody with definite secondary accompanimental part.
25. Polyphony
At least two distinct melodic lines occurring simultaneously.
26. Tempo
Refers to speed in music.
27. Melodic Range
Distance between the highest and lowest note in a melody.
28. Melodic Contour
The shape of a melody as outlined by its curves, leaps, rises and falls.
29. Tone System
All the pitches used in the music of a given culture.
30. Text
The words used in a piece of music.
31. Style
The character that typifies music as belonging to categories and is determined
by internal logic, structure, and modes of expressions.
32. Sound Ideal:
The overall sonic character that attracts or is indicative of a given culture. Tone color and texture are its primary components.
33. Tone Color (Timbre)
The character/quality of a sound. The difference in the sound of the same note played on the bagpipe and on the flute is a difference in tone color.
34. Instrumentation/Orchestration
The Instruments and sonic materials used in a piece of music.
35. Antiphony
music performed by two alternating sources – frequently a solo voice and a chorus in a “call and response” pattern.
36. Syncopation
Occurrence of accents in unexpected places – usually on what are normally weak beats or weak parts of beats…syncopation has a staggered or unexpected rhythmic character.
37. Ostinato:
a musical figure that is repeated over and over again. (Usually associated with an instrumental part).