Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More from Charles Villiers Stanford

". . . At the same time music has one advantage of other arts, in that, being itself a subtle and intangible entity, it can create its own forms and vary them more completely than they can. But one rule is common to them all; no matter how free the design, the proportions must be preserved if the work is to make any sensible appeal to human intelligence. A new form in music may require study and frequent hearing to understand it, but if it is logical and founded on a thorough knowledge and control of means, time will endorse it. Such modifications grow (like folk-songs in Hungary) and are not made. To have any value at all they must in their nature be children of their fathers. The laws of evolution apply as rigidly to musical art as they do to nature itself. It is not necessary to go out of the way to seek for novelty of design any more than for novelty of expression. No two faces are exactly alike, although the are, eyes, nose and mouth are in the same relative position. To paint a face with two noses or four ears would not suggest novelty of form, but only the imbecility of the artist. Polyphemus, with his one eye in the centre of his forehead, will always be a grotesque monstrosity. In the treatment of form, as in the control of invention, the only path to originality is through sincerity of expression on the lines of natural beauty. The moment originality is forced, extravagance, exaggeration, and bizarrerie become inevitable."

Charles Villiers Stanford

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