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Absolute music

instrumental music, as a concerto or string quartet, that draws no inspiration from or makes no reference to a text, program, visual image, or title and that exists solely in terms of its musical form, structure, and elements.
Historical Examples

absolute music was set once for all on the right path by them.
For Every Music Lover Aubertine Woodward Moore

For that they praised him, as if it were a sine qua non of absolute music that it should be in the sonata form.
How Music Developed W. J. Henderson

Hellas, in a sense, is absolute poetry, as the “Eroica” is absolute music.
Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle H. N. Brailsford

The rejection of a future for absolute music is, of course, purely arbitrary.
The Life of Johannes Brahms (Vol 1 of 2) Florence May

The tendency of composers of absolute music at present is to make less and less use of the strict classic forms.
How Music Developed W. J. Henderson

In other words—not Wagner’s—dance approaches speech from one side just as absolute music does from the other.
Richard Wagner His Life and His Dramas W. J. Henderson

Therefore, discarding critical crutches, it is best to hear the composition primarily as absolute music.
Franz Liszt James Huneker

music that is not designed to depict or evoke any scene or event Compare programme music


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