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Parlour music

Related: 1800s - European music - popular music


Parlour music, actually having little to do with parlours, is Peter van der Merwe's term for the unified style common to popular and semi-popular lite-classical and popular, and folk-like music of nineteenth century Europe, "distinct from 'folk' music and uncontaminated by highbrow pretensions." This is the middle and low brow music which European classical music began to gradually and eventually self-consciously distance itself from beginning around 1790. (1989, p.4, 17-18, 321)

In contrast to the chord-based classical music era, parlour music features melodies which are harmonically-independent or not determined by the harmony. This produces parlour chords, many of them added tone chords if not extended such as the dominant thirteenth, added sixth, and major dominant ninth. Rather, the melodies are organized through parlour modes, variants of the major mode with the third, sixth, and seventh emphasized through modal frames such as the mediant-octave mode, which uses the third as a floor and ceiling note, its less common variants the pseudo-phrygian, in which the seventh and often fifth are given prominence, and submediant-octave mode. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parlour_music [Apr 2005]

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