Singulorum illic latent voces, omnium apparent. Be it just what he pleases to call it. Indeed, in some cases, expression will coincide with imita tion, and may then be admitted univer sally: Flumina jam lactis, jam flumina nectaris ibant;. Nicholas Cook – – Sterling.

On Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy: The hind set up her large broad ears, and seemed extremely attentive. Aaron Ridley – – In Kathleen Stock ed. Hence it is, perhaps, that our composers have run all their concertos into little else than tedious divisions; and the subject or ground-work of these, being introduced and repeated by a chorus of violins, produce always a bad effect: In either of these cases, our disgust, or weariness of attention, will be found in proportion to the beauties of the author so abused. History of Western Philosophy. If to his Doctorship only, I am entirely unconcerned about it.

Several examples will hereafter be gi ven of considerable masters, who, through an expgession fondness for one of these, have sacrificed the rest, and have thus fal len short of that perfection and variety, which a correct ear demands. The tunes of Anacreontic songs expreseion have been still more simple than those of odes: Plato frequently declares, that no acison vations ought to be allowed in Music. We may add for the sake of those who are in any degree acquainted with the theory of Music that the preparations and re solutions of discords, resemble the soft gradations from light to shade, or from shade to light, in Painting.

And, as the finest instrumental Music may be con sidered as an imitation of the vocal; so do these instruments, with their expressive tone and the minutest changes they are capable of in the progression of melody, shew their nearest approaches to the per fection of the human voice.

An essay on musical expression

But I will observe to you, that when I had determined to publish some thoughts on the subject of Music, by way of Preface to my last Concertos, I found my first design, of writing directions to performers only, exression so much upon my hands, that I could not resist the temptation, however unequal to the task, or extending them also to the practice of composition.

In his first example, he has discovered a tritone in the tenor, and loudly exclaimed against the enormity of such a blunder. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: The metre of this poem abounds with short syllables, and expresses precipitation and distraction; and the last syllable, with the four short ones which go before it, Super alta vectus Atys celeri rate maria: Contact Contact Us Help.


The different species of Music, for the church, the theatre, mhsical the chamber, are, or should be, distinguished by their peculiar expression.

charles avison essay on musical expression

The force of sound in alarming the passions is prodigious. I dare not suppose that he means the harpsicbord, and that such an instrument was then in use. Nimirum sapere est abjectis utile nugis.

An essay on musical expression. / By Charles Avison – Details – Trove

Milton therefore to return to the point who loved this art, and was himself a per former and a composer, most beautifully introduces the polite and gentle part of his fallen spirits, as having recourse to it, in their anguish and distress: And here we shall find, that the composers of this class will naturally fall into three different ranks, in the same manner as those we have already ventured to characterize in the preceding section. As therefore a continued succession of single musical sounds produces melody, so does a continued combination of these produce harmony.

Their seven modes, or tones, in the diatonic system, seem to have been redu cible, in reality, to one mode, taken higher or lower; or to have been six transpositions of one natural, original, and fundamental mode, which you may call the mode of A, and consequently, as C natural is a minor third to a-mi-la, so all these modes must have had a minor third.

Where Creech, though a good editor, gives us a very queer interpretation: Yet I cannot dismiss this article without once again observing, that the difficulties of render ing the organ of that use in full concert which many expect from it, are so various and intricate, that we can never be too careful of the performer’s abilities; who, if thoroughly skillful, will so manage his instrument, that it may always be heard, but seldom distinguished.

Essay on Musical Expression

By the aid of semitones, we can mix aviwon chromatic with the diatonic Music. In compositions for the German flute, is required the same method of proceeding by conjoint degrees, or such other natural intervals, as, with the nature of its tone, will best express the languishing, or me lancholy style.

Singulorum illic latent voces, omnium apparent. If we abison judge from the high claims of those professors, who contemptuously re ject all foreign improvements, I am afraid we should have had no great cause to boast of any superior excellence. Apply this to the Music of the spheres.

Charles Avison, An Essay on Musical Expression – PhilPapers

And, 1 st, I would propose, exclusive of the four principal parts which must be always complete, that the chorus of other instruments should not exceed the num ber following, viz. The horse stopped short before the window, and as he was graz ing, he raised his head from time to time. Though ARISTOTLE may justly be styled the fa ther of criticism, and true judgement in wxpression, yet he certainly did not excel in greatness or beauty of imagination, and had essag a small share of the poetical spirit.


To these succeeded a strange mixture of the antique and barbarous Gusto, which has since been distinguished by the name of Gothic. But, if we may judge from the gene ral turn of our modern Music I speak not of the English onlythis due regard, as well xvison a natural succession of melodies, as to their harmonious accompanyments, seems generally neglected or forgotten.

charles avison essay on musical expression

But this I must still add, that if he attempts to raise the passions by imitation, it must be such a temperate and chastised imitation as rather brings the object before the hearer, than such a one as induces him to form a com parison between the object and the sound: Purchase Subscription prices and ordering Short-term Access To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.

It would be endless to enumerate all the varieties of these imitations, which have been invented by the curious; wherefore, we shall only take notice of two sorts of them; the first of which is simply called imitation, and the other is called fuga in nomine.

However, for the sake of truth, it must be added, that ln taste, even in its most pardonable degree, ought to be expresison couraged, because it seems naturally to lead to the ruin of a noble art. But this has been already shewn, by a judicious writer twith that precision and accuracy which distinguishes his writings.

charles avison essay on musical expression

With both these instru ments, the running into extreme keys, the use of the staccato, or distinct separation of notes; and all irregular leaps, or broken and uneven intervals, must be avoided; for which reason alone, these instruments ought never to be employed in the repieno parts of concertos for violins, but in such pieces only as are composed for them; and these, perhaps, would be most agree ably introduced as principal instruments in some intervening movements in the concerto, which might not only give a pleasing variety, but shew their different expression to the greatest advantage.

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