The early 17th-century attempts at their independent use and characterization are historically interesting, but artistically almost barbarous.
The chief work done in instrumentation in the 17th century is undoubtedly that of the Italian writers for the violin, who developed the technique of that instrument until it proved not only more resourceful but more artistically organized than that ' of the solo voice, which by the time of Handel had become little better than an acrobatic monstrosity.
Registers, is artistically suicidal.
It was lucky for the development of instrumentation (as in all branches of music during the change from polyphonic to formal design) that whenever the texture is not polyphonic the natural place for melody is on the surface: in other words, when the accompaniment is simple the tune is generally on the top. Haydn, when he was not tempted by the resources of an instrument so complete in itself as the pianoforte, soon learnt to write artistically perfect string quartets in which the first violin, though overwhelmingly the most important part, is nevertheless in perfect balance with the other members of the scheme, inasmuch as they contribute exactly what their pitch and the little polyphonic elaboration admissible by the style will enable them to give.
Where they consent to any practical custom from practical necessity they also consent because it is artistically right for them, and if it had not been artistically right they would have soon swept it away.
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