It has been known for a long time that all kinds of animals produce art. Moving and making sounds has always been the most noticeable of all art forms. Bird’s songs and the many kinds of dances performed as a courting ritual have always evoked a feeling of recognition in people.
The idea that people are the only creatures who sing and dance is untenable. This is not to deny that an enormous increase in complexity and sophistication has developed human history. Music and dance show most clearly of all arts that the sexual is the ground work of culture. The climax of folk dances as well as (ice skating) ballet of the highest cultural levels is the dance of a young couple. Without much effort one can recognize the reproductive ritual that many animals perform.
Most of the popular music follows the rhythm of coitus or cradling a baby in the arms of mother or beloved. Dancing elaborates on the turning of ass and hips. Small children already instinctively feel this tendency and enjoy it immensely. The texts of popular music deal with the pain and pleasure of love.
What we call classical music and dance is a collection of creations by individual artists of the past 500 years. That type of music and dance is still being created, because it has a permanent place in cultural and social life. Classical music and dance is being taught at schools and performed by orchestras and ballet companies. Governments sponsor this expression of what we generally call ‘higher’ culture.
In the world of classical music performance, music is generally seen as a product of the human ‘mind’ inspired by a supernatural source. This conviction is strong, and is being fed by religion, which explains the creation of the world as directed ‘from above’ as well. The idea that the highest achievement in classical music can be traced back to animal sounds, is subject to strong resistance. But the content and theme of most classical works of music and dance go back to basic emotions and relationships. Where a libretto is being used, as in opera, this is obvious. It is all about men, women, lust, love, adultery, marriage, parents, children. Music is the most ‘abstract’ art form and can be interpreted in many ways. The feelings that are evoked vary widely. The extent to which conscious sexual desire plays a role in the spectator differs from one person to another.
A generally held opinion is that classical music is not sexually exciting, but calms the passions instead. On a building site or at a dance one does not hear classical music. On the other hand, the practice of classical music, just like any other intensive mental activity, seems to stimulate sexual excitement.