The Appreciation of Music - Vol. I (of 3)
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The authors believe that there is at the present moment a genuine need for such a book. Teachers in schools, colleges, and universities, educators in all parts of the country, and the music-loving public generally, are every day realizing more vividly the importance of applying to music the kind of study which has long been fruitfully pursued in the other arts; and with the adoption, in 1906, by the College Entrance Examination Board, of musical appreciation as a subject which may be offered for entrance to college, this mode of studying music has established itself firmly in our educational system. Yet its progress is still hampered by the lack of suitable text-books. The existing books are for the most part either too technical to be easily followed by the general reader, or so rhapsodical and impressionistic as to be of no use to him.
In the following pages an effort has been made, first, to present to the reader in clear and untechnical language an account of the evolution of musical art from the primitive folk-song up to the symphony of Beethoven; second, to illustrate all the steps of this evolution by carefully chosen musical examples, in the form of short quotations in the text and of complete pieces printed in a supplement; third, to facilitate the study of these examples by means of detailed analysis, measure by measure, in many cases put into the shape of tabular views; and fourth, to mark out the lines of further study by suggesting collateral reading.
Too much stress cannot be laid on the fact that the music itself is the central point of the scheme of study, to which the reader must return over and over again. Carefully attentive, concentrated listening to the typical pieces presented in the supplement is the essence of the work, to which the reading of the text is to be considered merely as an aid. These pieces are for the most part not beyond the reach of a pianist of moderate ability.
At the same time, the authors have realized that some readers who might profit much by such study will not be able to play, or have played for them, even these pieces. For them, however, the music will still be accessible through mechanical instruments.
In view of the fact that one of the chief difficulties in the study of musical appreciation is the unfamiliarity of classical music to the ordinary student, the use of an instrument by the students themselves should form an important part of the work in classes where this book is used as a text-book. It is hoped that with such practical laboratory work by all members of the class, and with the help of collateral reading done outside the class under the direction of the teacher, and tested by written papers on assigned topics, the course of study outlined here will be found well-suited to the needs of schools and colleges, as well as of general readers.