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Style and Music

Theory, History, and Ideology

Leonard Meyer proposes a theory of style and style change that relates the choices made by composers to the constraints of psychology, cultural context, and musical traditions. He explores why, out of the abundance of compositional possibilities, composers choose to replicate some patterns and neglect others.

Meyer devotes the latter part of his book to a sketch-history of nineteenth-century music. He shows explicitly how the beliefs and attitudes of Romanticism influenced the choices of composers from Beethoven to Mahler and into our own time.

"A monumental work. . . . Most authors concede the relation of music to its cultural milieu, but few have probed so deeply in demonstrating this interaction."—Choice

"Probes the foundations of musical research precisely at the joints where theory and history fold into one another."—Kevin Korsyn, Journal of American Musicological Society

"A remarkably rich and multifaceted, yet unified argument. . . . No one else could have brought off this immense project with anything like Meyer’s command."—Robert P. Morgan, Music Perception

"Anyone who attempts to deal with Romanticism in scholarly depth must bring to the task not only musical and historical expertise but unquenchable optimism. Because Leonard B. Meyer has those qualities in abundance, he has been able to offer fresh insight into the Romantic concept."—Donal Henahan, New York Times

385 pages | musical examples throughout | 6 x 9 | © 1989

Music: General Music

Table of Contents

Pt. I: Theory
1: Toward a Theory of Style
2: Style Analysis
Pt. II: History, Innovation, and Choice
3: Thoughts Ahout History
4: Innovation - Reasons and Sources
5: Choice and Replication
Pt. III: Music and Ideology: A Sketch-History of Nineteenth-Century Music
6: Romanticism - The Ideology of Elite Egalitarians
7: Convention Disguised - Nature Affirmed
8: Syntax, Form, and Unity
Epilogue: The Persistence of Romanticism
Bibliography of Works Cited
Index of Musical Examples

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