> Another thing I find is lacking is any discussion of what *is* a
> style. And for example, did Bach compose in one style, or in many (or
> dozens)? Is there such a thing as 'historical style' divorced from the
> works of specific composers?
Well for starters, wouldn't a common cultural understanding of ornaments and their context be on of the defining elements? Also a common cultural understanding of the variety of instruments and voice production methods that would be unstated but understood with respect to a score?
> The problem is that a style can be thought of as a set of things that
> are commonly expected in a composition; however, a composition that
> does nothing except what is commonly expected is boring (absent a
> particularly imaginative performer).
> Another way might be to point to a group of historical pieces and
> declare that 'they constitute a style'. But this doesn't seem to allow
> anyone to compose in it, unless they are imitating those pieces.
> Another way to formulate style might be by what is forbidden. This
> opens the way to a composer to exploit the space between what is usual
> and what is forbidden, inside which lives what is interesting but not
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