Style in Musical Art

By C. Hubert H. Bart Parry | Go to book overview
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VII
INFLUENCE OF AUDIENCES ON STYLE

I

ALL subjects seem simple when we know very little about them. But the very simplest subject surprises us with the complexity of the unexpected aspects which present themselves directly we get to know anything about it. The question of style is certainly no exception to the rule; the further we get into it the more copious seem the conditions which have to be taken into consideration. And they often run counter to one another to such an extent that there is hardly a rule which can be laid down or principle enunciated which may not be almost negatived by some other consideration presenting itself under special circumstances. We may take as an illustration the simple case of the positions of chords, about which the human mind in process of years evolved certain rules which are still recommended to the tyro. They were based on the idea that the chords had to be in the position which gave the most euphonious effect, but there came a time when men who agreed with the initial assumption that music should be beautiful found themselves practically at variance with the principles laid down. For by degrees it

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