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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Palestrina and Beethoven

Palestrina and Beethoven

(p.124) (p.125) Chapter 27 Palestrina and Beethoven
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

It is always a good plan to revise one's stock of opinions and ideas, and to consider whether they are really correct. Thus, it is always customary to speak of Giovanni Palestrina as “unemotional,” and so engrafted is this idea onto the minds of most musical essayists, that they take it as an axiom and have founded many elaborate theories of musical evolution and the like on the assumption. However, is Palestrina really unemotional? And if he is not emotional, is Ludwig van Beethoven also unemotional, or is there some radical difference between them? This chapter shows what is meant by the word “emotional.” All music, strictly speaking, is emotional, because every impression produced by music is an emotion; but when one talks of emotional music, it means music that produces a very high degree of excitement in the sensibilities. This narrowing of the term emotion has proved a stumbling-block to many writers on music.

Keywords:   Giovanni Palestrina, musical evolution, Ludwig van Beethoven, music, emotion, emotional music

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