The foundation of every culture consists of the natural environment and the customs and beliefs of the community living in it. These basic elements shape each other constantly, sometimes in surprising ways. In this issue we explore the relationship between music and environment, both natural and cultural. What traces, influences and meanings of the environment do the people who create, consume and study music find in it today?
This question prompted further questions: How does a language environment manifest itself in music? Why does performing a concert in the natural environment seem to enhance the experience? And what about the evolution of music: is music essential for human beings, biologically speaking?
Although definitive answers cannot be found for all these questions, it is obvious that creating and experiencing music are always affected by nature, by nurture and by the culture we live in.
Over the course of our lives, music forms a sonic landscape around us. That in itself is a cultural environment that we recognise as our own. As times and places change, the music travels with us and within us, adapting to and communicating with its new environments. Therefore music can also contribute to inter-cultural understanding, which is what the world desperately needs today.
The status of women in music emerged as a sub-theme in this issue almost of its own accord. The initial reaction of many to this topic was adopted as the title of the article by Anna Pulkkis, and responses to this question may be found in several articles of this issue.
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi