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Chapter One: Roots and Reasons

Light music, should divert rather than disturb; entertain rather than disquiet. If it does not, it fails in its purpose. It may have other functions which do not necessarily require concentrated listening. The writing of light music, within our necessarily limited arena, was from the beginning of the nineteenth century widespread if not universal among those composers whose principal expression was through the symphony or symphonic poem. The continental composers were purposive; even their lighter music had weight and was anything but inconsequential. The creation over a very short time in the early and middle years of the nineteenth century of a network of railways not only allowed the movement of groups such as choirs and bands from one town to another, but also led to the growth of seaside resorts. With regard to music itself, it might be argued that, without the growth of cheap railway travel, the Folk-Music movement would never have taken place.