Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 May 2021


  • Robert Pascall


A term denoting manner of discourse, mode of expression; more particularly the manner in which a work of art is executed. In the discussion of music, which is orientated towards relationships rather than meanings, the term raises special difficulties; it may be used to denote music characteristic of an individual composer, of a period, of a geographical area or centre, or of a society or social function.

Style is manner, mode of expression, type of presentation. For the aesthetician style concerns surface or appearance, though in music appearance and essence are ultimately inseparable. For the historian a style is a distinguishing and ordering concept, both consistent of and denoting generalities; he or she groups examples of music according to similarities between them. A style may be seen as a synthesis of other styles; obvious cases are J.S. Bach’s keyboard style or Mozart’s operatic style (both comprise distinctive textural styles, distinctive harmonic styles, distinctive melodic styles, etc., and both are fusions of various stylistic traditions). A style also represents a range or series of possibilities defined by a group of particular examples, as in such notions as ‘homophonic style’ and ‘chromatic style’....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Journal of Music Theory
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft
Musical Quarterly
W. Apel: Harvard Dictionary of Music
Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Music Review
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters
Acta musicologica