Absolute music
(911 words)

The expression “absolute music,” which was probably first used in 1846, has been as successful as it is vague. The term seems succinct, but from what the music is actually to be “detached” (i.e. “absolute”) is generally not specified. While it may be argued that the primary intent was to establish the independence of music from everything incidental to the notes – for instance functional contexts in liturgie (see also Worship), courtly representation and dance, the depiction of particular affects (Emotion), subjects and programs, and not least from the sung text – t…

Cite this page
Gerhard, Anselm, “Absolute music”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 March 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_016549>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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