Musical Training & Education
Many people, including entire cultures, compose, perform, and improvise music with no training and feel no need for training. Other cultures have traditions of rigorous formal training that may take years and serious dedication. Sometimes this training takes the form of apprenticeship. For example, Indian training traditionally take more years than a college education and involves spiritual discipline and reverence for one's guru or teacher. In Bali, everyone learns and practices together. It is also common for people to take music lessons, short private study sessions with an individual teacher, when they want to learn to play or compose music, usually for a fee. A famous private composition teacher is Nadia Boulanger.
The incorporation of music performance and theory into a general liberal arts curriculum, from preschool to postsecondary education, is relatively common. Western style secondary schooling is increasingly common around the world, such as STSI in Bali. Meanwhile, western schools are increasingly including the study of the music of other cultures such as the Balinese gamelan, of which there are currently more than 200 in America.
Many people also study about music in the field of musicology. The earliest definitions of musicology defined three sub-disciplines: systematic musicology, and comparative musicology. In contemporary scholarship, one is more likely to encounter a division of the discipline into music theory, music history, and ethnomusicology.
Research in musicology has often been enriched by cross-disciplinary work, for example in the field of psychoacoustics. The study of music of non-western cultures, and the cultural study of music, is called ethnomusicology.
Music theory is the study of music, generally in a highly technical manner outside of other disciplines. More broadly it refers to any study of music, usually related in some form with compositional concerns, and may include mathematics, physics, and anthropology. What is most commonly taught in beginning music theory classes are guidelines to write in the style of the common practice period, or tonal music. Theory, even that which studies music of the common practice period, may take many other forms.
Musical set theory is the application of mathematical set theory to music, first applied to atonal music. Speculative music theory, contrasted with analytic music theory, is devoted to the analysis and synthesis of music materials, for example tuning systems, generally as preparation for composition. See "Common Terms" above.
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