The Interpretation of the Music of the XVII and XVIII Centuries Revealed by Contemporary Evidence

The Interpretation of the Music of the XVII and XVIII Centuries Revealed by Contemporary Evidence

The Interpretation of the Music of the XVII and XVIII Centuries Revealed by Contemporary Evidence

The Interpretation of the Music of the XVII and XVIII Centuries Revealed by Contemporary Evidence

Excerpt

When our musical notation began, in the early part of the 11th century, the pitch of the notes was indicated by square dots upon a stave. There were no signs to denote the different lengths of sounds. The rhythm of the song had to be taught orally, as well as its tempo, phrasing, and ornamentation. Gradually, special shapes were given to the notes, to indicate their relative duration. Time-signatures, ligatures, signs for the various ornaments, and all the other necessary devices came gradually to complete the system.

For nine hundred years notation has progressed, and still it is far from perfect. We are not often conscious of this with regard to modern music, for most of what we wish to play is already known to us from previous hearing; and when it is not, the style of the music is familiar enough to enable us to interpret the written text correctly without having to think much about it. But future generations will find difficulties and doubtful interpretations where all seems clear to us. A hundred years ago people wrote their music still less accurately than we do now, so that if we want . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.