We cannot understand the nature of music and its role in human life by conceiving of it as a thing; we must see it as an event in a context, replacing the noun music with the verb musicking.
The nature of musicking may then be addressed by asking whose ideal relationships are being celebrated, what the nature of those relationships is, and how they are represented in the performance.
This according to “Musicking: A ritual in social space” by Christopher Small (above), an essay included in Aflame with music: 100 years of music at the University of Melbourne (Melbourne: Centre for Studies in Australian Music, 1996 pp. 521–533).
Below, an example of musicking that involves minimal precomposition.