By Mark Evan Bonds
What's song, 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 impact. In Absolute track: The historical past of an idea, Mark Evan Bonds strains the heritage of those efforts throughout greater than millennia, paying designated cognizance to the connection among music's essence and its features of shape, expression, attractiveness, autonomy, in addition to its perceived means to reveal philosophical truths.
The center of this ebook makes a speciality of the interval among 1850 and 1945. even supposing the assumption of natural track is as previous as antiquity, the time period "absolute music" is itself quite contemporary. 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 constraints of only instrumental tune. For Wagner, tune that was once "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. in simple terms natural, absolute tune, he argued, might become aware of the top capability of the art.
Bonds unearths how and why perceptions of absolute track replaced so notably among the 1850s and Twenties. whilst it first seemed, "absolute music" used to be a brand new time period utilized to outdated song, yet by way of the early a long time of the 20 th century, it had become-paradoxically--an outdated time period linked to the recent song of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the main advancements during this shift lay now not in discourse approximately tune yet really the visible arts. The transforming into 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 basically summary, absolute tune to the innovative of musical modernism.
By rigorously tracing the evolution of absolute track from old Greece in the course of the heart a while to the twentieth-century, Bonds not just presents the 1st entire heritage of this pivotal inspiration but in addition provokes new strategies at the essence of tune and the way essence has been used to provide an explanation for music's impression. an extended awaited e-book from probably the most revered senior students within the box, Absolute track might be crucial studying for an individual attracted to the historical past, idea, and aesthetics of song.
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Additional info for Absolute Music: The History of an Idea
22 From the Middle Ages onward Pythagorean thought dominated much of what we now conceive of as music theory. 23 19. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies, book 3, trans. William Strunk Jr. and Oliver Strunk, rev. James McKinnon, in Strunk and Treitler, Source Readings in Music History, rev. , 150. 20. 10, ed. Brown and trans. Philotheus Boehner as Te Journey to the Mind of God (Indianapolis: Hacket, 1993), 16. 21. Heninger, Touches of Sweet Harmony, 201–2. 22. Heninger, Touches of Sweet Harmony, 201; the frontispiece is reproduced on page 249 of Heninger’s book.
Hans Dietrich Irmscher (Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1991), 462–66. 19. Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, 79a 1–2. 38 n Essence as Effect: To 1550 Advances in empirical science brought further pressure on the Pythagorean-Platonic conception of music and the cosmos. Tis new way of thinking about the structure of the universe was aided by the emerging concept of the scientie medie, those realms of knowledge seen to occupy a middle ground between the immutable and the contingent. Tis line of thought provided a framework for reconciling the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and it was promoted in the late Middle Ages by such leading philosophers as Albertus Magnus (ca.
Clement of Alexandria, Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, Saint Chrysostom, and Saint Augustine all promulgated this line of thought. 17 By the time of Boethius (ca. 480–ca. 524), the arts of number had coalesced into the quadrivium, the four disciplines devoted to the study of essences unchanged by material form. Arithmetic, astronomy, music, and geometry ofered a fourfold path to the realm of immutable knowledge. Perceptions might deceive, but the logically demonstrable law of number ofered the surest means by which to discover that which is impervious to change and to the imperfections of the senses.
Absolute Music: The History of an Idea by Mark Evan Bonds