Introduction to Music Appreciation

Music & Civilization

One of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein, once wrote: “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get the most joy in life out of music” (cited in Mayer & Holmes, 2003, p. 5).

The composer Joseph Haydn wrote: “It is the melody which is the charm of music, and it is that which is most difficult to produce. The invention of a fine melody is a work of genius” (cited in Machlis & Forney, 2003, p. 13).

Many individuals throughout civilization have treasured and appreciated the importance of music. There are many ways to gain a greater appreciation of music: one may study music, listen to music, think about music, be moved by music, compose music, or play music. Music can be relaxing, peaceful, and inspirational.

Figure 1 (above) is a photo of a modern Symphony Orchestra and Choir from the city of Birmingham, AL., USA (Stanley, 2005). To begin the journey of gaining a better understanding of and appreciation for music, it is helpful to learn more about musical terms and musical instruments.

Links to Musical Terms and Musical Instruments are listed in the margin to the left.


Machlis, J. & Forney, K. (2003). The enjoyment of music. N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Mayer, J. & Holmes, J. (2003). Bite-size Einstein. New York: Random House.

Stanley, J. (2005). Classical music: The great composers and their masterworks. London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd.