chapter  II
16 Pages

HARMONY AND POLYPHONY OF THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES

IN no art, soienoe, or other department of human activity, has the doctrine of evolution been so enthusiastically welcomed, so eagerly adopted, and so wholeheartedly endorsed, as in music. Indeed, the whole history of the art has almost invariably been conceived and represented as a single, orderly, and undeviating line of progress from the simplest and most primitive beginnings up to the complexities of modern practice; and the account of this gradual process of development which is generally to be met with in musical histories reads exactly like the account given in scientific text-books of the origin and evolution of life from the amreba. In the beginning, we are told, there was rhythm, nothing but rhythm. After a long time melody gradually evolved, and finally, in comparatively recent times, harmony. And in precisely the same way that we are shown how homo sapiens is descended from the ape through the intermediate stages of Heidelberg Man and Neanderthal Man, so modern harmony is supposed to have developed from plain-song by way of organum, discant, and other mediooval procedures.