Many people compare music to a language. You may have even heard a music teacher say to you in school, “Music is an international language all people can understand.” Of course more recent multicultural studies reveal that the music to which these teachers are referring – Western, tonal music – is actually a European idiom expressed in a nomenclature that developed around the year 1,000 especially in Italy.
Just as an author uses words, grammar, metaphors, and more to create a novel, a composer uses the language of music - notes, rhythms, and more - to create a piece of music. When we say that a composer "writes" music, we assume he or she is using some musical vocabulary and that in writing the music, he or she is trying to communicate something.
Let’s take a closer look at the communicative power of the language of music!