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Roots of the Classical: The Popular Origins of Western Music (英語) ペーパーバック – 2007/3/29
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Roots of the Classical identifies and traces to their sources the patterns that make Western classical music unique, setting out the fundamental laws of melody and harmony, and sketching the development of tonality between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The author then focuses on the years 1770-1910, treating the Western music of this period - folk, popular, and classical - as a single, organically developing, interconnected unit in which the popular idiom was constantly feeding into 'serious' music, showing how the same patterns underlay music of all kinds.
Review from previous edition . . . a marvellously stimulating new book. (Martin Kettle, The Guardian)
. . . looks beyond the traditional sources, examining the importance of styles from alternative repertoires such as children's song and dances of Central Europe. The Strengths of this book are the breadth of Van de Merwe's examples and his perspective, which is relatively free of the value judgements placed on the selected repertoires. (Choice)
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Van der Merwe takes the view that a great deal of this practice percolated through from popular and folk music of the day and the Gypsy "Fringe" of Eastern Europe. Vienna, in particular, was open to such influences, being a crossroads of a multi-cultural empire; and many of the leading composers of the day made it their home. He demonstrates convincingly that many of the "strange new harmonies" of the day were simply borrowings from the Fringe--things you could hear in the street if you listened hard enough.
He further shows how a lot of folk music (including children's teasing songs, our 'earliest' music) has a pentatonic structure, and that this, too, was important in art music one would not usually think of as pentatonically-inspired.
Van der Merwe, who is not a professor of music, holds marked, unorthodox views, which are entertainingly expressed. Yet he writes with great erudition and without crankishness.
At times the thread can be hard to follow and one must go back over sections a few times. This isn't a book to plow through! But if you're looking for a new explanation of why music developed as it did, this book will open new vistas for you. (Note: there are many musical examples in the book--if you don't read music, you will be lost.)