It also enabled composers to create larger-scale works.

This is a compelling idea I found in Susan McClary’s book Conventional Wisdom. She argued that it took composers a second to figure out how to stay in a particular harmonic area for an extended period of time. You’ll notice with Bach’s music that we rarely stay in one harmonic place for very long — things are constantly shifting, and the harmonic progressions are the primary driver that gets us through the piece. Later composers figured out that it was possible to stay harmonically put and use melody to drive the piece forward. This development allowed for the larger-scale musical works we find from the Classical and Romantic eras.

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