INTRODUCTION: SURVEY AND DIVISION OF THE SUBJECT.
The history of programme music may be said to be the history of the development of musical expression; at any rate, it presents itself as such if programme music is not understood in too narrow a sense. But what is programme music? The current notions concerning it are so vague and varied that it will be advisable to consider, before commencing our story, the term and the things signified by it. Some think that programme music is music which imitates sounds--the song of birds, the purling of the brook, the bustle and noises of war, &c. Others, allowing it somewhat larger scope, think that it is music which, besides the audible, imitates by analogy also the visible--effects of light, darkness, and colour, and all kinds and degrees of movement. Others again, with a more adequate conception, go much farther than this, and think that programme music is music which imitates not only the outward, but also the inward; which not only describes, but also expresses; which has to do with emotions and thoughts as well as with sense-impressions, with soul-painting as well as with body-painting. To not a few the last view seems absurd. They hold that nothing of the kind is within the capacity of music. But the