Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound and silence The common elements of music are pitch , rhythm , dynamics , and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture . 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 with vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping, and there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek ? . In its most general form, the activities describing music as an art form include the production of works of music , the criticism of music, the study of the history of music, and the aesthetic examination of music Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres " and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."