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By Mark Evan Bonds

What's tune, and why does it circulate us? From Pythagoras to the current, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" track in ways in which additionally account for its profound influence. In Absolute tune: The heritage of an idea, Mark Evan Bonds lines the heritage of those efforts throughout greater than millennia, paying specific recognition to the connection among music's essence and its features of shape, expression, attractiveness, autonomy, in addition to its perceived ability to reveal philosophical truths.

The center of this e-book specializes in the interval among 1850 and 1945. even though the assumption of natural track is as outdated as antiquity, the time period "absolute music" is itself quite fresh. It was once Richard Wagner who coined the time period, in 1846, and he used it as a pejorative in his efforts to reveal the restrictions of in simple terms instrumental tune. For Wagner, tune that was once "absolute" used to be remoted, indifferent from the area, sterile. His modern, the Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick, embraced this caliber of isolation as a guarantor of purity. simply natural, absolute tune, he argued, may become aware of the top power of the art.

Bonds finds how and why perceptions of absolute track replaced so appreciably among the 1850s and Nineteen Twenties. whilst it first seemed, "absolute music" was once a brand new time period utilized to previous song, yet by way of the early a long time of the 20th century, it had become-paradoxically--an previous time period linked to the recent track of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the major advancements during this shift lay now not in discourse approximately track yet quite the visible arts. The growing to be status of abstraction and shape in portray on the flip of the 20th century-line and colour, rather than object-helped circulate the assumption of in simple terms summary, absolute tune to the innovative of musical modernism.

By rigorously tracing the evolution of absolute track from old Greece during the center a while to the twentieth-century, Bonds not just offers the 1st accomplished historical past of this pivotal proposal but additionally provokes new strategies at the essence of track and the way essence has been used to give an explanation for music's influence. an extended awaited publication from essentially the most revered senior students within the box, Absolute tune may be crucial interpreting for an individual drawn to the background, thought, and aesthetics of track.

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He wants to hear the singing of the psalms but at the same time feels obliged to restrain his response. ” By subordinating his senses to the faculties of reason, then, Augustine makes a sharp distinction between words and music and places the two in opposition. Tis approach marks the beginning of a fssure in Western conceptions of music that undermined the perceived unity of the micro- and macrocosm. On the one hand, Augustine accepts, as do other fathers of the church, the parallels between musical proportions and the structure of a harmonious cosmos.

Te fgure of Orpheus would become a touchstone for composers as well: those compared to him include such diverse luminaries as, in England, John Dowland, Henry Purcell, and George Frideric Handel; in Germany, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Ludwig Senf, Johann Adolph Hasse, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; in Italy, Niccolò Jommelli; and in France, Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau. 4 It was not necessary to believe in the literal truth of the Orpheus myths to recognize their broader basis in music’s capacity to move the human spirit.

As in the cosmic monochord, proportions are represented through musical intervals. Source: Robert Fludd, Utriusque cosmi maioris scilicet et minoris metaphysica, physica atque technica historia, 2 vols. (Oppenheim: de Bry, 1617–19), 1:275.  Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. ”19 Saint Bonaventure (ca. 1217–1274) similarly emphasized the close relationship of harmony and number. ”20 Tomas Aquinas (1225–1274) also incorporated key elements of Pythagorean-Platonic cosmology into his thought, pointing out that the harmony of the universe rested upon the same ratios as musical intervals.

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