What Are the Major Performing Arts?


The performing arts refer to the forms of art where an artist uses his own face, body and presence. The major types of performing arts include music, opera, dance, drama, and spoken words.

Music is a form of art whose medium is silence and sound. The word "music" was derived from the Greek word "mousike" which means the art of the muses. The common elements of music include rhythm, pitch, dynamics, timbre and texture. The performance, creation, significance and definition of this art depend on the social context and culture. Music can range from organized composition up to improvisational music to aleatoric forms.

Music can be assorted into different genres or subgenres, although the divisions of these genres are usually vague and subtle. It is also said that there is a very strong connection between mathematics and music. To a lot of people who belong to various cultures, music plays an important part in their lives. Music is usually associated with the way of life of different kinds of people across the land.

Opera is a form of performing arts wherein musicians and singers perform a dramatic work that combines text, which is called the libretto and musical score. This form of art is a popular part of the Western classical music tradition. The art incorporates a lot of elements of spoken theatre, including scenery, acting and costumes. Sometimes it also includes dance. The performance in an Opera is usually done in an opera house. It is also accompanied by either a musical ensemble or an orchestra. Opera originated in Italy by the 16th century and it soon spread to the rest of Europe as it gains popularity. Various musicians in Europe developed a lot of ways in flourishing this form of art and made it even more popular.

Dance is a form of performing arts that refers to the art of moving the body rhythmically and usually in accordance to music. It is used as a form of social interaction and expression, or it is commonly presented in a performance or spiritual setting. It is also seen as a form of nonverbal communication, a type of communication where words are not used. Definitions of what dance is really all about usually varies in each culture, society or person.

Some people considered even the movement of the leaves as a form of dance while some even considered martial arts, like karate, as one form of it. Dance can also be social, participatory, and performed for an audience. It can as well be erotic, ceremonial or competitive in purpose. Nowadays, dancing has evolved into many styles. These styles include ballet, break dancing, and krumping. Nevertheless, each type of dance, whether what style, has something that is common. It does not only involve the usage of the human body kinetics and flexibility but also physics.

Drama refers to a mode of fiction represented in a performance. The word "drama" originated from the Greek word "drao" which means action. Dramas are usually enacted by actors on a stage for an audience. The structure of the text for dramas is usually influence by collective reception and collaborative production. Masterpieces that can be considered to be in this form include the classical Athenian tragedy, "Oedipus the King" of Sophocles and "Hamlet" of William Shakespeare.

Spoken word is often used as an entertainment or musical term, referring to works that are intended to be performed by a single person who will speak by himself naturally. Musically, this is different from rapping for the latter involves rhythm while spoken words do not follow such. Spoken words is said to be more akin to speaking or narration.

In entertainment, spoken word performances are consisted of poetry, storytelling or speeches. Aside from these five, other forms of performing art are circus performances, magic, musical and other that involve the use of an artist's face and body.

Websites for Performing Arts

  1. The Actor's Checklist
  2. Performers Directory
  3. Performing Arts Medicine Association
  4. Performing Arts Resources