> what exactly causes the attraction to combined voices and
> the disaffection for separated voices? I'm not sure, but I'll try to answer.
I think that answer is pretty good, and probably partly true. Related would be
the argument that combined voices allow each part to more quickly grasp the
relationship (both similarities and dissimilarities) between their own part and
the adjacent one on the same staff.
However, I’m guessing that the most critical reason was far more practical, and
driven by space limitations.
TL;DR summary: Less vertical space is required per page of music with combined
voices than with split voicing.
Details: Combined voices (as you pointed out) have stems that go up from notes
near the bottom of the staff, and down from notes near the top of the staff.
Hence — and this is the important point — the range of the inner voices (i.e.,
alto in the upper staff, and tenor in the lower staff) does not force the stems
to intrude into the inter-staff space (as they would in split voicing). AND THE
INNER-STAFF SPACE IS WHERE THE LYRICS ARE.
That seems the most likely reason to my mind — though I have no proof that the
reasoning is thus (though the truth of the spacing claim is easy enough to
Kieren MacMillan, composer
‣ website: www.kierenmacmillan.info
‣ email: i...@kierenmacmillan.info
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