What is a social function of music?

Throughout recorded history, there has always been some form of music, whether instrumental or vocal. Historians and anthropologists know that music has been an important part of many cultures, used for story-telling, religious devotion, transmitting the traditions and beliefs of the culture (singing songs is often an easy way to teach children), and simply for its entertainment value. Music has historically been one element that bound a society or a culture together-- to this day, countries have an anthem that everyone knows, and certain performers are more popular in certain countries. For centuries, there have been individual musicians (wandering minstrels, troubadours); and also, there have been organized groups of performers who played in large venues (such as an operatic company or a symphony... or in modern times, a rock band that performs in a concert hall). It is also true that musical performances take different forms in different cultures, and they can reflect the socioeconomic status of their audience: it may seem like a stereotype, but demographic studies show that many working-class white people in America love country music, while many upper-class white people enjoy classical music or opera. (Of course there are exceptions.)

In Europe and North America, there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as "high culture" and "low culture." "High culture" types of music typically include Western art music such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern-era symphonies, concertos, and solo works, and are typically heard in formal concerts in concert halls and churches, with the audience sitting quietly in seats. In America, popular music has the majority of the fans: the popular forms include top-40 (hit songs), rock, rap, dance music, and country; also enjoyed by niche audiences are jazz and blues. But whatever one's preference, few cultures could exist without music, and few people could imagine not having music in their life in some form or other.