I'm learning the piano and stumbled across this in the book I'm using:
"J.S.Bach's Art of Fugue, whose instrumentation remains unspecified, epitomises the tendency to focus on formal aspects of musical unfolding at the expense of instrumental colour and dynamics - elements that are more dependent upon how the music is actually performed. This way of treating music as a self-contained art with an almost abstract character, independent of it's social context, is possibly unique to the culture of European art music, and is important to some modern music."
True European music stands alone and transcends social triviality. In modern times the blues followed by rock have both attempted to reverse this ideal, and they would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for heavy metal.