THE CONTROVERSIAL BACKGROUND
Wim the exception of treatises on counterpoint, collections of new instrumental compositions, manuals of instruction, and other practical works, sixteenth-century literature on music had been largely controversial. There were five subjects, all interrelated, that were bitterly disputed, and no understanding of the early literature on music history is possible unless these subjects are analyzed briefly. It was in these five fields that division was a basic problem, and almost as many definitions of the musical term division emerge in the literature. Even into the early nineteenth century, history frequently began with the words: "Music consists of . . ."
Today we speak of theoretical and practical, or applied, branches of music study. But medieval and Renaissance classifications gave independent reality to "inspective" or "speculative" music as something quite apart from "active" music. And these were fixed and independent divisions of a larger division. Roughly, there were three great kinds of music: first, the mystic "world music," the music of the spheres, which, as shown in Chapter I, was so important to the Catholic scholars Cerone and Mersenne; second, human music; and third, instrumental music. The second had to do with the ethical phases stressed by Cerone. All Baroque research was interested in the third, which was divided into "harmonical" and "organical" music. Theory and practice were both parts of "harmonical" music. There were various and different schemes of classification,' and the order of superiority or inferiority was apt to vary with the interests of the writer on the subject. This is the scheme proposed by Ornithoparcus, whose Micrologus was trans____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Philosophies of Music History. Contributors: Warren Dwight Allen - Author. Publisher: American Book Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 29.