I try so hard to keep real life out of blogging, but I can't hold back any longer. I'm not a musicologist nor do I have a DMA. A meager bachelor's and master's degree in piano performance. Outside of a very high proficiency in being able to play the instrument I also had to take many classes that I will sum up as "How western classical music came to be, and how it works."
Good writers do research on the topics they choose to write about. If your main character is a surgeon and you plan on talking about surgery in the book, you have to write convincingly enough as to be realistic to any surgeons who enjoys fiction and may pick up your book. It's a matter of credibility, hence the research.
Music seems to occupy a unique space when it comes to writers: it's not so esoteric as surgery--after all who hasn't had piano lessons and if you can play open chords on the guitar then yes, you can perform damn-near every song by Bob Dylan--but the auto-didactics armed with a superficial amount of knowledge or those who took 'singing lessons' from that old lady in the church choir are really starting to get on my nerves. I wish, I truly wish, I had kept a log of all the offenders I've come across in the past year's worth of reading.
Perhaps it is because music is such a basic and integral part in so many peoples lives, but whatever the reasons, far too many authors indulge in overwrought, self-indulgent, and more often than not, erroneous analogies and metaphors that may sound nice and poetic, but to one who knows can kill the prose and story being told faster than the sixteenth notes of an Allegro or faster Chopin etude. (See? Even when a likeness if properly made, it's still obnoxious… or at least to me it is.)
I'm happy that so many writers, at least in my reading, seem to make mention of sonata allegro form, rondeau, or a baroque French overture, but if you should feel the need to dwell on these topics make sure you are studying up on the matter to the same degree you would if you were talking about what it takes to get a space shuttle into orbit and not merely relying on those band or orchestral lessons from seventh grade.
I think I'll keep my log of offending writers ( and critics and bloggers ) in my head as to not have a concrete list of negativity. The words already printed can't be taken back but there is hope for new writers! Heed my words! Know what you are talking about before you commit the crime of ignorance in your novel. Such a crime not only makes me mildly angry, but also speaks to your quality as a writer. So next time you are feeling the urge to make an analogy about your characters in fugue or hexachordal combinatoriality, unless you really know what you're talking about; don't.