THEORY AND ACADEMICISM
THE standpoint of style seems a very convenient one for getting a good view of sundry subordinate matters connected with music, and of phases of art about which views are held which are sometimes vague and sometimes very decisive and strongly at variance.
One of these is the awkward question of theory, which seems almost to require an apology for mentioning. But however great the instinctive distaste for it which generally exists, it must be admitted that it looms very large, and has played a great part in the history of our race!
It may indeed be admitted that it is one of the hopeful signs of the times, in every department of intellectual energy, that practice and the experience founded on practice are more and more looked to both as the basis of method and the guide of action. But unfortunately in connection with music theory still engages the attention of a vast number of serious- minded people; and its influence is so great that, irksome or not, its consideration cannot altogether be avoided.
A theory may be presumed to be intended to be a comprehensive and coherent explanation of why things are what they are. Our pre-eminently useful____________________