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A painting on an ancient Greek vase depicts a music lesson (c. 510 BC).

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics (loudness and softness), and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture (which are sometimes termed the "color" of a musical sound). Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces (such as songs without instrumental accompaniment) and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; "art of the Muses"). See glossary of musical terminology. Read more...

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Claudio Monteverdi painted towards the end of his life
Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (SV 325, The Return of Ulysses to his Homeland) is an opera set by Claudio Monteverdi (pictured) to a libretto by Giacomo Badoaro. The work was first performed at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Venice during the 1639–1640 carnival season. The story, taken from the second half of Homer's Odyssey, tells how constancy and virtue are ultimately rewarded, treachery and deception overcome.

After its initial successful run in Venice the opera was performed in Bologna before returning to Venice for the 1640–41 season. The music became known in modern times through the 19th century discovery of an incomplete manuscript score. After its publication in 1922 the score's authenticity was widely questioned, but by the 1950s the work was generally accepted as Monteverdi's, and after revivals in Vienna and Glyndebourne in the early 1970s it became increasingly popular.

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