Webster's Definition of Music


In Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary from 1913 we find the following definition of music:

Music Mu"sic, n. F. musique, fr. L. musica, Gr. ? (sc. ?), any art over which the Muses presided, especially music, lyric poetry set and sung to music, fr. ? belonging to Muses or fine arts, fr. ? Muse.

  1. The science and the art of tones, or musical sounds, i. e., sounds of higher or lower pitch, begotten of uniform and synchronous vibrations, as of a string at various degrees of tension; the science of harmonical tones which treats of the principles of harmony, or the properties, dependences, and relations of tones to each other; the art of combining tones in a manner to please the ear.
    Note: Not all sounds are tones. Sounds may be unmusical and yet please the ear. Music deals with tones, and with no other sounds.
  2. (a) Melody; a rhythmical and otherwise agreeable succession of tones.
    (b) Harmony; an accordant combination of simultaneous tones.
  3. The written and printed notation of a musical composition; the score.
  4. Love of music; capacity of enjoying music.
  5. (Zo"ol.) A more or less musical sound made by many of the lower animals.

Literature, in its widest sense, embraces all compositions in writing or print which preserve the results of observation, thought, or fancy; but those upon the positive sciences (mathematics, etc.) are usually excluded. It is often confined, however, to belles-lettres, or works of taste and sentiment, as poetry, eloquence, history, etc., excluding abstract discussions and mere erudition. A man of literature (in this narrowest sense) is one who is versed in belles-lettres; a man of learning excels in what is taught in the schools, and has a wide extent of knowledge, especially, in respect to the past; a man of erudition is one who is skilled in the more recondite branches of learned inquiry.

The origin of all positive science and philosophy, as well as of all literature and art, in the forms in which they exist in civilized Europe, must be traced to the Greeks. --Sir G. Lewis.


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