In an unusual afterword, "How I Came to Write The Accidentals," Gwin explains that she "generally see[s] the kernel of a story in a flash of something that catches [her] eye, in one compelling image.
The Accidentals unfolds with grace and power, each main character inhabiting alternating chapters in which their voices tell their story in their own way.
As an adjective, the term accidental means "happening by chance, undesignedly or unexpectedly, produced by accident, fortuitous, ...
It is best to move from the individual substance to the definition, from the particular to the general, but even in the particular the form is given to us when we get the point of the thing, when the essentials are differentiated from the accidentals. Philosophical treatments of essence tend to stay with the general and the abstract, which is the mode of being that an essence takes on when we talk about it, usually in the absence of the thing itself.
It is an attempt to get beyond the epistemology of modernity, with its contrast between the scientific object and the mere appearance, and to restore an understanding that allows the mind to accept essentials from the world, to recognize forms, when it distinguishes such essentials from accidentals. Our task is not an epistemological one: we are not concerned with proving that we do in fact reach the essentials of things.
Stating the essential is best done in a few words; if the insightful speaker takes too long to say something, the accidentals will usually crowd out the point of the thing.
Sometimes they cannot even be fully expressed in words, not even by someone who is capable of distinguishing between the essential and the accidental in practice.
The fourth chapter suggests that the tradition of "beautiful use" of discursive accidentals ended in the middle of the fifteenth century, coinciding with the beginning of "a more seriously considered modal theory of polyphony" (p.
The conceit of ignoring the possibility of nonnotated accidentals may seem brazen or even foolhardy at times, but it presents a point of view that has always been present in our field though rarely discussed clearly.
The publication in 1987 of Karol Berger's imposing Musica Ficta: Theories of Accidental Infections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) clearly invited a response from those interested in the sounding realization of music written before 1600.
Carl Buchman [New York: Russell & Russell, 1967]) because of its wayward accidental implications, and "Absalon, fili mi," another partial signature work of such unusual character that it recently has been thrown out of the Josquin canon of works by both Jaap van Benthem and Joshua Rifkin, working independently (see van Benthem's "Lazarus Versus Absalon: About Fiction and Fact in the Netherlands Motet," Tijdschrift van de vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis 39 : 54-82, and Rifkin's "Problems of Authorship in Josquin; Some Impolitic Observations with a Postscript on Absalon, fili mi," Proceedings of the International Josquin Symposium, Utrecht 1986, ed.
In a similar vein, Toft's answer to questions about accidental inflections is to celebrate the diversity present in the intabulated sources, rather than to consider them critically and to differentiate between better or worse, accurate or less accurate, an Enriquez de Valderravano and a Diego Pisador.