Petr Janata, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis’s Center for Mind and Brain, recently located an area of the brain—the medial prefrontal cortex, just behind the forehead—that seems to serve as a hub for music, memory and emotions. One such problem is the nature of what is called the aesthetic in Western culture, for those few ethnomusicologists who have considered the subject have in general agreed that the term does not translate well to other cultures, particularly those of nonliterate peoples where the underlying assumptions about music tend to run along different lines.
Purely instrumental music also emerged during the Renaissance in a variety of forms: The toccata (touched” rather than sung) was a piece that showed off the musician’s ability; the pavane was a slow lament for the dead; and the allemande, galliard, and courante were popular dance forms.
Music therapy is comparable to other allied health professions like occupational therapy and physical therapy in that individual assessments are provided for each client, service must be found reasonable and necessary for the individual’s illness or injury and interventions include a goal-directed documented treatment plan.
But the overwhelming thrust of contemporary sociomusical scholarship has been to breach the wall separating the study of music as an elite art” and the study of music as a fundamental human activity, which in modern societies has come to mean an activity imbricated with commerce and modern social functions.
This principle asserts the autonomy of (specifically, art” or classical”) music from social life, and typically entails the hypostatization of the work” of musical art, often represented by a written text (score”) that describes a phenomenologically specific sonic musical structure,” unrelated to the social organization of its creators’ lifeworlds, or the music’s social context,” and distinctive from any actual instantiation of the musical work in performance.