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Camille Saint-SaënsOn Music and Musicians$
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Roger Nichols

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320169

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320169.001.0001

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Harmony and Melody

Harmony and Melody

(“Harmonie et mélodie”, Harmonie et mélodie, Calmann-Lévy, 1899, 1–36)

3 Harmony and Melody
Camille Saint-Saëns

Roger Nichols

Oxford University Press

Music is one of the branches of the world's art, like literature, painting, sculpture and architecture. It is the youngest of the arts. One of the most widespread is the following: music consists of two elements, melody and harmony. Harmony, a secondary element, is derived from melody. Melody is born spontaneously, it is a product of genius; harmony is a product of calculation and learning. This chapter argues that theory is not based on fact; it is even contrary to the facts in every respect. But it has had the good fortune to be taken up by a number of writers who were not musicians, seducing them with its apparent logic, and, as it has been around a long time, it has acquired the pernicious strength of a prejudice. It is in the name of this prejudice that fine pieces are attacked and great composers persecuted.

Keywords:   music, harmony, melody, musicians, composers, theory

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