Max Weber, in whose time such methodological issues began to arise and whose own work poses them with a still unequaled lucidity, told this story in terms of a properly Western harmonic music whose very emergence constitutes an interesting historical problem in its own right ("Why was harmonic music developed from the almost universal polyphony of folk music only in Europe and only in a particular period, while everywhere else the rationalization of music took a different path-usually indeed precisely the opposite one, that of development of intervals by divisions of distance (usually the fourth) rather than by harmonic division [the fifth]?")! He summarized the complex determinants of the process as follows:

Thoroughly concrete characteristics of the external and internal situation
of the Church in the West, the result of sociological influences
and religious history, allowed a rationalism which was peculiar to
Western monasticism to give rise to these musical problems which
were essentially "technical" in character. On the other hand, the invention
and rationalization of rhythmical dancing, the origin of the
musical forms which developed into the sonata, resulted from certain
modes of social life at the time of the Renaissance. Finally, the development
of the piano, one of the most important technical elements in
the development of modern music, and its spread among the bourgeoisie,
had its roots in the specifically "indoor" character of Northern
European civilization. 2