ABSTRACT

Noting the rivalry between the proponents of Italian and German music, otherwise identified as the defenders of melody and the advocates of harmony, Stendhal pictured a full-scale war, and in siding with the former he reflected dominant current opinion. A necessary reform—the "new music"—should blend melody, or individualism, with harmony, or collectivism in the sense of social unity. Mazzini's views form a synthesis of Balzac's ultimate resolution of the rivalry between Italianism and Germanism. With reservations, Balzac placed himself in the lineage of those like Rousseau and Stendhal who denied or distrusted French ability to produce great music. Balzac's attachment to Italian music, however, centered around his love of melody. A pedantic vertical concept of musical composition elicited in Balzac as much revulsion as an ingenuous horizontal concept. Balzac's approach to the question of melody and harmony is perhaps not subtle, but we may credit it with being basic and direct.