By Mark Evan Bonds
What's tune, and why does it stream us? From Pythagoras to the current, writers have struggled to isolate the essence of "pure" or "absolute" song in ways in which additionally account for its profound influence. In Absolute tune: The heritage of an concept, Mark Evan Bonds lines the background of those efforts throughout greater than millennia, paying designated recognition to the connection among music's essence and its traits of shape, expression, good looks, autonomy, in addition to its perceived ability to reveal philosophical truths.
The middle of this booklet specializes in the interval among 1850 and 1945. even supposing the belief of natural tune is as outdated as antiquity, the time period "absolute music" is itself particularly contemporary. It was once Richard Wagner who coined the time period, in 1846, and he used it as a pejorative in his efforts to show the restrictions of simply instrumental song. For Wagner, song that used to be "absolute" used to be remoted, indifferent from the realm, sterile. His modern, the Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick, embraced this caliber of isolation as a guarantor of purity. merely natural, absolute track, he argued, may well become aware of the top capability of the art.
Bonds finds how and why perceptions of absolute track replaced so noticeably among the 1850s and Twenties. while it first seemed, "absolute music" used to be a brand new time period utilized to outdated track, yet via the early a long time of the 20 th century, it had become-paradoxically--an outdated time period linked to the hot track of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the foremost advancements during this shift lay now not in discourse approximately tune yet particularly the visible arts. The turning out to be status of abstraction and shape in portray on the flip of the 20th century-line and colour, in preference to object-helped movement the belief of merely summary, absolute track to the innovative of musical modernism.
By conscientiously tracing the evolution of absolute tune from historic Greece during the center a long time to the twentieth-century, Bonds not just presents the 1st entire historical past of this pivotal suggestion but additionally provokes new recommendations at the essence of track and the way essence has been used to give an explanation for music's impact. a protracted awaited ebook from some of the most revered senior students within the box, Absolute track can be crucial studying for someone drawn to the background, idea, and aesthetics of track.
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Extra info for Absolute Music: The History of an Idea
18. 180, ed. Palisca, trans. Calvin M. Bower as Fundamentals of Music (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 2. On the Platonic basis of Boethius’s views on music, see Anja Heilmann, Boethius’ Musiktheorie und das Quadrivium: Eine Einführung in den neuplatonischen Hintergrund von “De institutione musica” (Götingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007). Orpheus and Pythagoras n Figure 3. Te Macrocosm Te “Divine Monochord” from the frst volume of Robert Fludd’s Utriusque cosmi . . historia (1617). Te structure of the universe is likened to an enormous monochord, its proportions governed by the same relationships that manifest themselves in musical intervals, such as the diapason (octave), diapente (ffh), and diatesseron (fourth).
See Karl Kerényi, Pythagoras und Orpheus: Präludien zu einer zukünfigen Geschichte der Orphik und des Pythagoreismus, 3rd ed. (Zürich: Rhein-Verlag, 1950), especially 41; E. R. Dodds, Te Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1951), 148–49; Walter Burkert, Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, trans. John Rafan (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985), 296–301; and Riedweg, Pythagoras, 7–9, 58–59, 88–89. Riedweg points out that while later connections may be fanciful, sources dating from as early as the ffh century BCE connect the two.
3; translation by Andrew Barker in Barker, Greek Musical Writings, 2:373. See also Barker, “Mathematical Beauty Made Audible: Musical Aesthetics in Ptolemy’s Harmonics,” Classical Philology 105 (2010): 403–20. 6. See Tilman Seebass, “Lady Music and Her Protégés, from Musical Allegory to Musicians’ Portraits,” Musica Disciplina 42 (1988): 27–29. 7. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, De institutione arithmetica, ed. and trans. Michael Masi as Boethian Number Teory (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1983), 73–74.
Absolute Music: The History of an Idea by Mark Evan Bonds