Music refers to the art of arranging sound in time. Every community in the Fifth World has some sort of musical tradition. Music may even form the earliest foundation of language.

Music in the Fifth World ultimately descends from music today, with some of the same trends extending into the future. The shift in musical instruments available has had a significant impact, of course, as has the change in format. At the end of civilization, popular music became a commodity, something that a person would more likely passively consume than create. As such, musicians endeavored to create performances that would display the greatest possible skill and talent. With the collapse of civilization, music became something one made once again, rather than something one bought, and so the emphasis shifted away from complex or difficult performances to something that everyone could participate in together.

With the greater attention to the more-than-human world that survival now requires, other-than-human sounds and music deeply influence Fifth World music. Musical styles often incorporate the rhythms and melodies of local birdsongs, the sound that the wind makes through the local trees, or the sound of the rain falling on the local canopy.

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