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4 - Tone

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2019

W. Dean Sutcliffe
Affiliation:
University of Auckland
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Summary

Expands on aspects of ‘affective sociability’, discussing its relationship to notions of expression, individuality and feeling. I discuss those gentler elements of the aesthetic of the time - simplicity, naturalness, moderation, grace - that have proved stumbling-blocks for later generations of critics, and the way in which they crystallized in the widespread vaunting of the powers of pure melody, discreetly accompanied. Pleasure and politeness are also discussed as parts of this same discursive field. On the other hand, just as fundamental to the music of the time is its ambivalence of tone: the uncertainty about whether a particular musical passage or gesture is to be taken on face value or not. This entails a consideration of various forms of double meaning - whether accounted for as humour, wit, comedy or irony - that are so common in this instrumental repertoire. A corollary of these is a decidedly anti-scholastic, anti-authoritarian orientation in a style that is keen to avoid any perceived pedantry. I then focus on works and movements set in the minor mode, the common critical praise of which is often directed against the sorts of attributes I have considered earlier in the chapter.

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Chapter
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Instrumental Music in an Age of Sociability
Haydn, Mozart and Friends
, pp. 428 - 514
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Tone
  • W. Dean Sutcliffe, University of Auckland
  • Book: Instrumental Music in an Age of Sociability
  • Online publication: 19 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139012126.005
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  • Tone
  • W. Dean Sutcliffe, University of Auckland
  • Book: Instrumental Music in an Age of Sociability
  • Online publication: 19 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139012126.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Tone
  • W. Dean Sutcliffe, University of Auckland
  • Book: Instrumental Music in an Age of Sociability
  • Online publication: 19 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139012126.005
Available formats
×