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By Heinrich Christoph Koch, Johann Georg Sulzer

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Additional resources for Aesthetics and the Art of Musical Composition in the German Enlightenment: Selected Writings of Johann Georg Sulzer and Heinrich Christoph Koch

Example text

A poet might pen an epic verse whose contents are also without aesthetic, but through the ordering of syllables produce a beautiful tone that approaches epic dignity. This is not seldom the case with Homer. Just the tiniest amount of order or trace of regularity can be sufficient to elevate a work to the rank 40 Johann Georg Sulzer of fine art. {617} Still, if one were to rank works of art, any work with a pleasing order, but whose contents lack any aesthetic worth, would occupy the lowest class.

But this charm appeals more to one's fantasy, and can potentially weaken those impressions conveyed to one's reason and heart. Also, intricacy is not always as easy to remember as is simplicity. Thus, if one is dealing with material of a work that should be firmly retained, the simplest order is to be preferred over the most intricate. Everyone will see that a song or ode set to our older simple lyrical verse forms is much easier to remember than the more complex verse forms of the Greeks. For the same reason, one will see in regard to music that melodies composed for dancing, which by necessity should be quite easy to Aesthetic foundations: relation 41 comprehend, must always have much simpler rhythms than those of a similar character composed for the harpsichord.

In classical rhetoric, these three elements were part of the general arsenal of ars inventi, in which, roughly speaking, arguments were determined, developed, and refined. Again, we must keep in mind that there was no canonic systematization of rhetoric that Sulzer drew upon, hence it is not surprising that he himself was not systematic in his use of rhetorical terms. ) Nevertheless, a few general conclusions may be drawn. In the "layout," the artist begins by taking the central invention of the work and determines its major parts.

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