An Old Song
The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular
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... .-OCTOBER I, I895. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-OCTOBER I, I895. THE MUSICAL TIMES.-OCTOBER I, I895. 695 695 695 of the Observer, and being, as well, very sensible of the kindly appreciation accorded me in that paper (apart from the little ' dig " which is the Yaison d'etre of this letter), I have followed the example of the choleric old gentleman who wants to regulate the world from his arm-chair at the club, and who, thinking that " the country is going to the dogs, sir ! " usually tries to stop the canine tendency by writing off post-haste to The Times. Many musical terms that meant no specific thing or object when first used have become fixed in the present-day meaning. The words "sonata" and "concerto," for instance, had but the vaguest significance till the great masters crystallized them into definite and arbitrary shape. With the overture, however, it is entirely diSerent, for, assuming the exact interpretation of the word, the most formless piece ever written is still an overture providing it precedes something and its writer chooses to call it so, while the most " beautifully made " absolute or programme music, correct in matter, form, and working, cannot strictly speaking, be an overture, but is merely so styled by reason of its similarity to what should be the form of pieces " which precede the best operatic and dramatic