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THE HISTORY OF MUSIC: INTRODUCTION

Happily this objectionable practice is now almost entirely a thing of the past; certainly no modern editor of good repute would dare to tamper with old music in this arrogant and presumptuous manner. Instead, however, of trying to make it live again, we treat it as if it were a dead thing; we no longer deck it out in inappropriate modem costume, but lay it out like a corpse, R. fit subject for scientific analysis or dissection, but not for oosthetic appreciation ; scales and modes are studied, elaborate descriptions are given of obsolete instruments and methods of notation, and we are shown how one form developed or gave birth to another, how Certain tendencies gradually manifested themselves, and how others gradually disappeared. Indeed, the whole history of the art is generally conceived as a collective and almost anonymous activity, in which individual genius is merely a secondary consideration in comparison with the formal and idiomatic development of musical language. In the words of the prophet Emerson, "the greatest genius is the most indebted man ", and a great work of Nt is primarily regarded as a synthesis of previously existing elements, the outcome of several centuries of evolution.