What is the Value of Music?

Martin Backhausen

September 22, 2022


The value of music depends on the individual piece. This can be identified as its artistic value or as a piece’s value to the culture. Artistic value is the intrinsic value of the experience that a piece can create for someone who listens to it correctly. It has an educational value as well.

Practical values

Music can have many practical values, including artistic, social, and therapeutic ones. It is also valuable for its value as entertainment. Whether we love it or dislike it, music has various practical values. These range from social to therapeutic and from entertainment to self-affirmation. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Music releases dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel good. These chemicals trigger feelings of pleasure, including guilty pleasure. Besides its therapeutic value, music has many practical values, including social, therapeutic, functioning-enhancement, and self-affirmation. However, the relationship between the musical and practical value of music is complicated.

The practical value of music may depend on the experience a person can gain from it. Most music theorists agree that music is valuable because it creates various experiences, but they disagree about how much these experiences matter.

Artistic value

Several factors determine the artistic value of music. The chief one is its beauty. According to Hanslick and Gurney, music has a “musical impressiveness.” Musical beauty refers to the quality of a piece that makes it pleasurable to hear, independent of its underlying principles. Another factor is its expressiveness. A piece that has greater expressiveness is more valuable. The expressiveness of a piece of music indicates its content beyond the purely musical.

The artistic value of music is often disputed, especially when the value of music is at stake. In some cases, the aesthetic value may be overshadowed by ideological or social value. Philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche have attempted to answer this question by defending “light” music and rejecting the importance of “great” music.

Popular music is widely considered different from art music. Philosophers tended to ignore it until recently, but in recent years, it has become an increasingly important topic in philosophical discussions of music. Popular music is often used as a test case for prevailing theories about music, such as Kant’s idea that all music is equally artistic. Popular music is also increasingly serving as a focal point in general discussions of art and aesthetics.

Cultural value

Music is a powerful force in our lives. It inspires us to move, entertains us, and defines the cultural experience. Music can unite us and divide us, and it can also serve as a marker of difference. Music has its own historical, social, and political context and plays a vital role in shaping our identities.

Music’s social and cultural value can be measured by various indicators, including the number of performances, venues, and festivals; the diversity of musical styles; and collaboration with other cultural organizations and educational institutions. Whether live music attracts diverse audiences or merely entertains residents, the diversity of cultural offerings and opportunities in a community should be a critical component of cultural planning.

Music is one of the most internationally connected forms of culture. People from different countries relate to the same kinds of music, even if the lyrics are not in their native language. For example, opera lyrics have crossed national borders and are prevalent in many places. Furthermore, classical songs with foreign lyrics have become commonplace.

Educational Value

Music education has been linked to higher IQ levels and enhanced verbal, spatial, and reading abilities. In addition, children who learn an instrument also exhibit higher math proficiency by the time they reach grade twelve. The association between music and math is based on researchers’ findings that the part of the brain that responds to music stimulation also functions in problem-solving tasks.

In addition to helping children develop cognitive and social skills, music education also exposes kids to other cultures. This increases their acceptance of others and fosters a more diverse worldview. Music education also helps children develop essential life skills such as patience, self-expression, and social skills. Finally, it can be an excellent tool for educators to connect with their students.

Children who grow up with musical training are more emotionally developed, which increases their self-esteem. They learn to cope with anxiety problems more effectively and build a stronger sense of self-worth. This, in turn, helps them to be successful in society.