Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 September 2019
Deals with the perceived conventional and formulaic aspects of the style, starting with a discussion (and defence) of convention itself. I show how through various forms of distortion and contextual manipulation, conventions and formulas may be renewed. One such convention is the grammatical essential of the cadence, which is often refreshed when a simple, understated cadential formulation appears to undercut a preceding passage of a brilliant or emotionally heated nature. I consider how this and other such patterns demonstrate a taste for reduction, ‘to say more with less’, showing a creative distrust of a certain kind of rhetorical eloquence. Another way of understanding such manoeuvres is that they compel the attention of the listener, and this term is found frequently in writings on music of the time. Its opposite state, boredom, is, I argue, ‘written into’ some music in the form of distractions and non sequiturs. A further type of renewal of attention can be achieved by mixing up or conflating the three formal functions of beginning, middle and ending, and the final portion of the chapter considers the handling of such functional signs.