Music is a form of art that involves the creation and expression of sound using musical instruments or acoustic devices. Often, it is an integral part of a culture or society and has a unique significance for different groups.
It is generally defined as the art of arranging sound to create some combination of form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise expressive content. Although exact definitions vary around the world, scholars have agreed that music is a cultural universal.
Historically, music has been the medium of communication and ritual for most societies. It has also been the source of bonding between members of a community. Several studies suggest that music is a communal activity, and it can have both commercial and non-commercial aspects, in addition to being a way of creating social capital within a community.
The earliest known instruments were reed pipes, a type of wind instrument with the ability to produce a range of pitches or tones. These were developed in the Near East, and they spread to the Mediterranean region and Europe as early as the 3rd century BCE.
There were three types of reed pipes: the aulos, which was shorter and slightly stouter; the chelys or lyra, with a tortoise shell body and a horizontal bar across which strings were twisted with kollopes; and the kithara, with a wooden box-body and semi-mechanized tuning devices (Schlesinger, 1939).
In ancient Greece, lyres were popular and used by all educated people for after-dinner symposia. The simplest, the chelys, had a tortoise-shell body and a horizontal bar across which strings attached to the bottom of the shell were twisted with skin kollopes. The aulos, with a shorter body and a slightly stouter body, and the kithara, with a longer, curved, wooden body, were more sophisticated, and the kithara was the most common form of lyre used by professionals.
The reed pipes were played by blowing into the mouthpiece, and the sounds they produced were amplified through hollow tubes or horns. The reed pipes were often made of bronze and were used by both men and women in a wide variety of cultural settings, including religious ceremonies.