Why does the author define music as 'a very small word' even though it encompasses something that takes as many forms as there are cultural or subcultural identities?
‘Music’ is a very small word to encompass something that takes as many forms as there are cultural or subcultural identities. And like all small words, it brings a danger with it. When we speak of ‘music’, we are easily led to believe that there is something that corresponds to that word—something out there, so to speak, just waiting for us to give it a name. But when we speak of music we are really talking about a multiplicity of activities and experiences. It is only the fact that we call them all ‘music’ that makes it seem obvious that they belong together. There are cultures which don’t have a word for ‘music’ in the way that English does—so that music isn’t distinguished from what we would call dance or theater.