This book is not a text-book. It is intended for any cultured reader who takes an interest in good music. At the same time I must add that a work of this nature would have been of great help to me when I was a young student of music. Text-books contain such a mass of detail that it is next to impossible for the beginner to get any conception whatsoever of the general principles of the art of composition. He plods up the rocky slopes of Parnassus, catching at every ledge, bruised with falls, foot-sore and weary, to be rewarded with a vision of the antres vast and deserts idle only when he has scaled the heights and reached the top. These pages give a brief description of the paths that lead to this desirable summit; but do not imagine, casual reader, that the perusal of this book will make you a composer. At best, it is but a captive balloon from which you can snatch a bird's eye view of the panorama nearest you. The wings of the eagle alone can soar into the blue.