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By Mark Evan Bonds

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

The middle of this e-book specializes in the interval among 1850 and 1945. even supposing the assumption of natural song is as outdated as antiquity, the time period "absolute music" is itself really contemporary.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 constraints of basically instrumental track. 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 well observe the top capability of the art.

Bonds finds how and why perceptions of absolute track replaced so notably among the 1850s and Nineteen Twenties. whilst it first seemed, "absolute music" used to be a brand new time period utilized to previous track, yet through the early many years of the 20th century, it had become-paradoxically--an previous time period linked to the recent tune of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the foremost advancements during this shift lay no longer in discourse approximately song yet particularly the visible arts. The turning out to be status of abstraction and shape in portray on the flip of the 20 th century-line and colour, rather than object-helped stream the belief of in basic terms summary, absolute track to the innovative of musical modernism.

By rigorously tracing the evolution of absolute tune from historic Greece in the course of the center a long time to the twentieth-century, Bonds not just offers the 1st accomplished historical past of this pivotal suggestion but additionally provokes new suggestions at the essence of song and the way essence has been used to provide an explanation for music's impact. a protracted awaited ebook from probably the most revered senior students within the box, Absolute track can be crucial interpreting for somebody attracted to the background, thought, and aesthetics of track.

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11. Iamblichus of Chalcis, “Te Life of Pythagoras,” in Guthrie and Fideler, Te Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, 70–71, 84–86. See also Vladimir L. Marchenkov, Te Orpheus Myth and the Powers of Music (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2009), passim. 12. Boethius, De institutione musica, book 1, ed. Palisca, trans. Bower, 5. 13. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Oratio de hominis dignitate (1486), trans. Charles Glenn Wallis as On the Dignity of Man (Indianapolis: Hacket, 1998), 33. ”14 Antoine Busnoys’s motet In hydraulis (ca.

Music in Early Christian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 158. 8. Augustine, In Psalmum XXXII, in Patrologiae cursus completus, ed. Migne, 36:283: “Quid est in jubilatione canere? Intelligere, verbis explicare non posse quod canitur corde. Etenim illi qui cantant, sive in messe, sive in vinea, sive in aliquo opere ferventi, cum coeperint in verbis canticorum exsultare laetitia, veluti impleti tanta laetitia, ut eam verbis explicare non possint, avertunt se a syllabis verborum, et eunt in sonum jubilationis.

See in particular Bruce W. Holsinger, Music, Body, and Desire in Medieval Culture: Hildegard of Bingen to Chaucer (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001). 30 Isomorphic Resonance n 31 Essence resides in qualities that are both demonstrable and stable. Hearing is by its very nature subjective and variable, and in their accounts of music, ancient and medieval commentators tended to emphasize the priority of the mind because they viewed mathematical calculations as indisputable, unchanging, and for this reason more real than impressions acquired through sensory perception.

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