As defined in Merriam-Webster's dictionary, culture is "the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group." These customary beliefs could also be described as a set of morals or values commonly practiced by a group. Social forms are understood as being the institutions in which interaction and socialization between people take place, such as at school, church, or work. The material traits within a culture would include clothing, food, and art to name a few. Music is a distinct, diverse culture in itself, a subculture. Each musical era had its own code of values, social forms, and material traits.
The Gregorian chants of the Middle Ages were composed and performed specifically for Catholic Church services, as the church was the strongest institution of that time. For this reason, the majority of music in the Middle Ages was of a religious origin. Much of the art and architecture coincided with the religious beliefs and ideals of the era.
For example, the architecture of the gothic cathedrals was used, as described in the text, to "[reach] toward God and the heavens."
In contrast, today's popular music is of a secular origin. Some types of contemporary music mirror the decline in our value system. The "pop" or "hip-hop" culture is characterized by explicit sexuality, habitual use of profanity, and depiction of extreme violence in music and all other forms of entertainment. The most powerful social form of today's culture is the internet, which breeds all things immoral. Today's material traits reiterate the deficient morals in our society. In reference to clothing, look at all the scantly clad women dancing in the music videos. In art, there is the so-called art form of pornography. Music is an expression of the times, it shows the direction in which...