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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Eighteenth-century writers on music recognized a spectrum of learned styles. These included not only the imitative counterpoint characteristic of the fugue and the species counterpoint associated with a cappella polyphony, but also a broad range of other styles, such as strict style, church style, or stile antico, transmitted from specialist to specialist over many decades and even centuries. The topic of the learned style, however, was a special formation or intensification of texture that occurred within the norms of late eighteenth-century phrasing, harmony, and texture. The tension between learned styles (each grounded in certain genre traditions) and learned style (the versatile and itinerant topic) informs not only the various manifestations of the learned style, which can be used for various formal purposes, but also its signification, which springs from the concerns of order and tradition that accompanied the transmission of learned styles from generation to generation.

Keywords: learned style, fugue, counterpoint, a cappella, polyphony, strict style, church style, stile antico

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