Music that is inspired by a nonmusical idea, or written to express one. Pieces of program music can depict moods, feelings, images, places, people, or stories. Compare with absolute music. Sometimes composers use instruments to imitate natural sounds, such as bird songs, thunder, or bones rattling, but they also try to depict more abstract emotions and feelings in musical terms.
Music accompanying or interpreting a story or visual image, such as for a ballet or narrative (e.g., Peer Gynt Suite, Carnival of the Animals, Peter and the Wolf, Rodeo). Also known as illustrative music.