We [musicologists] have rarely known how to account for music that loves the quotidian because our methods have been based on aesthetic and moral preferences for the extraordinary, the original, and the convention-breaking inspiration. Our commitments as music scholars have been strongest, historically, to music that was never meant to be heard every day. (Listeners with strong constitutions may test this observation for themselves by trying to listen to something like the St. Matthew Passion or Gotterdammerung every morning, but I predict their endurance will fade rather quickly.) The heroic gestures that fill out most of the “great works” in virtually any kind of canon are the ones that modest songs usually refuse– they must forgo too much “greatness” if they are to accomplish their principal goal of living with us instead of living against us in moral-aesthetic agon. (19)
From Morris, Mitchell. The Persistence of Sentiment. Berkeley: U California P, 2013. Print.