Music interested them in phrases extrinsic to itself, in its observable effects; in its connections with dance, non secular ritual, or festive rites; due to its alliance with words; or for some other extramusical consideration. The only common denominator to be discovered, apart from the recognition of different types of music, is the acknowledgment of its reference to the emotional life, and here, to make sure, is that problematic power of the art to move. Various extramusical preoccupations are the raison d’être of “contextualist” explanations of music, that are concerned with its relation to the human setting. The historical past of music itself is essentially an account of its adjunctive function in rituals and ceremonies of all kinds—religious, navy, courtly—and in musical theatre. There is a number of music classifications for non-Western music, many of which are caught up in the argument over the definition of music.
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