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Roots of the Classical – The Popular Origins of Western Music - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Roots of the Classical: The Popular Origins of Western Music

Peter Van der Merwe


From the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, Western ‘art’ music has grown out of, and drawn on, popular models. This book traces this recurring process. Again and again simple patterns have been refined and elaborated, eventually to the point of decadence, whereupon the search begins anew for further raw folk-stuff. A remarkable instance is the evolution of classical tonality, beginning with the tonic-and-dominant patterns of Italian dance music of about 1500, and ending with the extreme chromaticism of 1900. Other topics discussed in this book are: the Oriental influence on Western music; ... More

Keywords: popular music, tonality, Oriental influence, Modernism, musical patterns, melody, harmony, musical ambiguity, counterpoint

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780198166474
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198166474.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Van der Merwe, author
Natal Society Library, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa