Style in Musical Art

By C. Hubert H. Bart Parry | Go to book overview
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IV
STYLE IN MUSIC FOR THE DOMESTIC KEYED INSTRUMENTS

THE familiar family of clavichords, harpsichords or spinets, and pianofortes are clearly distinguished from organs, violins, and voices by certain decisive limitations, which exerted a very powerful influence in the evolution of the style of music written for them. The clearest apprehension of these limiting influences may be obtained by comparing the characteristics of these instruments with those of the organ. In certain points indeed they resemble each other; since in both there is certainty and clearness of intonation, and power of executing rapid passages; and also facility for presenting passages in many parts by a single performer. The modern domestic keyed instruments have one great advantage in their extreme elasticity in accent and variation of tone in detail, which makes them much more fitted for rhythmic effects for which the organ is notably deficient; and these qualities make them also much better suited for the rendering of melody with subordinate accompaniment, such as is found in Mozart's sonatas, Mendelssohn's songs without words, Schumann's familiar lyrical pieces, Chopin's

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