Proceedings of the Musical Association
WHEN first I was honoured by an invitation to read a paper before this Association, I shrank from the undertaking, because of the difficulty of selecting a topic upon which I might venture to discourse with any hope of interesting my hearers. But upon reflection it occurred to me that this was a difficulty which would certainly not decrease as time went on, and session after session witnessed the production of lectures on new subjects. Therefore when, at the beginning of the present session, I
... present session, I was again invited to read, I thought that my wisest course was to gather together some ideas without further delay. My subject suggested itself to me during the preparation of a paper on " Triads, their Relationship and Treatment," which I read recently before the College of Organists. The title of that paper would properly have included to a great extent the subject of the present one; but I soon found it impossible to deal with the whole question within reasonable limits, and then arose the idea of taking " consecutive fifths " as the theme for a separate paper. My choice has, I think, been fortunate, so far as the interest attaching to the subject itself is concerned. It will be for others to determine whether I have not been overbold in attempting to open a debate upon matters which may perhaps belong as much to the science of acoustics as to the art of music. However, in the hope that what I have to say will at least help to stimulate discussion, I proceed to my task. I should mention at the outset that it is not my intention to dwell upon the historical aspect of the subject; any one who is curious to learn when, and by whom, consecutive fifths were first prohibited, will find probably as much as is known on these points in an essay by the late Mr. De Pearsall, the wellknown part-song and madrigal writer. Neither do I propose Downloaded by [University of Liverpool] at 09:51 30 December 2014 too Consecutive Fifths.