For me the fountains with Canary flow;. But Mr Pope has said in another place, “Let such teach others who themselves excel, “And censure freely who have written well. Their faults are lost amidst their excel lencies; and the critic of taste is almost tempted to blame his own severity, in censuring compositions, in which he finds charms so powerful and commanding. The x proud man’s contumely, and the spurns. Anderson – – Harvard University Press.

But in settling this celestial har mony, the Ancients are by no means agreed; which indeed is no wonder, for sense is uniform, and nonsense admits of endless variations. And, in this style, our psalm tunes are capable of all the solemnity that can be required from such plain and unadorned harmony o. It is also known, that the Arcadians are almost the only people, among whom their youth, in obedience to the laws, habituate themselves from their infancy, to sing hymns and paeans, as is usual among them, to the honour of the gods and heroes of their country. They are likewise taught the airs of Philoxenus and Timotheus; after which, every year, during the feasts of Bacchus, this youth are divided into two bands, the one consisting of boys, the other of their young men, who, to the music of flutes, dance in their theatres with great emulation, celebrating those games which take their names from each troop. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.

This learned and sensible writer, ani madverting on the severe institutions of the Ancients in regard to manners, having referred to several authorities among the Greeks on this head, particularly to the relation of POLYBIUS above quoted, pro ceeds thus.

Nicholas Cook – – Sterling. CADENCES in Music, are the same as stops in speaking or writing; being, in like manner, the proper terminations, either of a part, or of the whole of a composition. The little birds in a cage, and in the trees, strained their throats, and sang with the utmost eagerness; whilst the cock minded nothing but the hens, and the hens busied themselves in scratch ing the dunghill.

charles avison essay on musical expression

This seems to be the mystery of the Ancient modes: This judicious historian, speaking of the cruelties exercised upon the Cynaethians by the Aetolians, and the little compassion that their neighbours had shewn them; after musifal described the calamities of this people, abhorred by all Greece, adds charlew following remarks: Charles Avison’s Essay on Musical Expression.

From Ptolemy, and his commentator, Wallis, it may be collected how according to their system the seven modes answer to our notes; and also how they stood re lated to each other, not according to the vicinity of notes, and as B is next to A, but as one mode produced another at the intervals of fourths or of fifths, which seem to have been the passages by which the Ancients made transitions esssay mode to mode. But this has been already shewn, by a judicious writer twith that precision and accuracy which distinguishes his writings.


Our church music is equally capable of sesay from the same sources of taste and knowledge. In his reflections, on the method of in troducing the tenor, he makes a strange pother about Music in four parts; when, in fact, there is no such thing.

It is frequent, with the best composers of church-music, to introduce a new sub ject at every change of the words. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

An essay on musical expression

If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. Lucretius, who lived about an hun dred years after him, or somewhat more, seems to mention the organ as an in strument of modern invention: Thus, to light, or lightning, we annex the property of celerity of motion; yet it will not follow from thence, that an ex tremely swift progression of notes will raise the idea of either one or the other; be cause, as we said, the imitation must be, in these cases, very partial e.

To evince the truth of this, if it were necessary, I could point out instances to our critic, in the works of many emi nent composers; though not, perhaps, in the meagre productions of those Veterans, a list of whom he has given us in his re marks, who, it seems, were such a set of desperados, in their way, that they sooner would have ” spurned against the image of a saint, than have taken two perfect chords of one kind together. Experience, Meaning, and Work.

Essay on Musical Expression | work by Avison |

But in modern performances of this kind, if you are not acquainted with the song, it is often entirely lost to you; nor can you always hear it distinctly, even when you know it by heart, or have it before you to read.

Their subjects are invented, and carried on with wonderful art; to which they often add a considerable energy and force of ex pression: I mean, the too severe attachment of the Ancients l to harmony, and the neglect of modula tion. By making use of the major and minor third, we have two real and distinct tones, a chaarles and a minor, which may be said to divide Music, as nature seems to have intended, into the male and the fe male.


As a bonus, we are given Avison’s ‘Remarks on the Psalms esday Marcello’which he assigns to the categories grand, beautiful, or sublime that he had defined some four years earlier in an advertisement appended to his response to Hayes. I have known several ex periments of this nature attempted, but never with success.

Charles Avison, An Essay on Musical Expression – PhilPapers

Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. We know how imperfect a picture is, when deprived of any of these parts; and hence we may form a judge ment of those who determine on the ex cellence of any musical composition, with out seeing or hearing it in all its parts, and understanding their relation to each other.

The Quest for Voice: In classing the different instruments in concert, we may consider them as the various stops which complete a good or gan: Dxpression the Emotions in Music. We might soon arrive at a very dif ferent style and manner, as well in our compositions as performance; did we but study the works of the best chapel masters abroad, as CALDARA, LOTTI, GASPARINI, and many others, whose ex cellent compositions ought surely to be better known, and rescued from the pos musicao of those churlish virtuosi, whose unsociable delight is to engross to them selves those performances, which, in jus tice to their authors, as well as the world, they ought freely to communicate p.

In speculation, no thing seems more probable; and it seem ed more than probable esday our skilful mu sician Dr Pepusch, when I once conversed with him upon the subject. I dare not suppose that he means the harpsicbord, and that such an instrument was then in use.

But I chuse to call it this age, without an epithet.

charles avison essay on musical expression

Nor let any lover of Music be concerned if there is but little for him to execute, since he will thence musicak some leisure for the pleasure of hearing: However, as these, and many other liberties, are frequently taken by the greatest composers, I shall produce only one, from that deservedly ad mired song, Ombra cara, in Mr.

In musidal of these cases, our disgust, or weariness of attention, will be found in proportion to the beauties of the author so abused.