'Now swift, now hesitating': the stylus phantasticus and the art of fantasy

Charlston, T. (2012) 'Now swift, now hesitating': the stylus phantasticus and the art of fantasy. Musica Antiqua, 1 (2). pp. 30-35. ISSN 2049-1514

Abstract

The term 'stylus phantasticus' was used by writers on music in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as a category to describe works which could not be explained within the norms of more clearly defined structures. As an explanation of these artistic phenomena, its early use was concerned with the 'fantasy' or imagination of the composer and his composition while later theorists expanded the term to articulate the freedom of creativity and improvisation which they considered to exemplify good performance.

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