By Mark Evan Bonds
What's track, 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 impact. In Absolute song: The historical past of an concept, Mark Evan Bonds lines the heritage of those efforts throughout greater than millennia, paying specified recognition to the connection among music's essence and its traits of shape, expression, attractiveness, autonomy, in addition to its perceived means to reveal philosophical truths.
The center of this publication specializes in the interval among 1850 and 1945. even though the assumption of natural tune is as outdated as antiquity, the time period "absolute music" is itself really fresh. It used to be 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 tune. For Wagner, track 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 song, he argued, might notice the top capability of the art.
Bonds finds how and why perceptions of absolute track replaced so extensively among the 1850s and Twenties. while it first seemed, "absolute music" used to be a brand new time period utilized to outdated tune, yet via the early a long time of the 20 th century, it had become-paradoxically--an previous time period linked to the hot tune of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Bonds argues that the most important advancements during this shift lay no longer in discourse approximately track yet fairly the visible arts. The transforming into status of abstraction and shape in portray on the flip of the 20 th century-line and colour, in place of object-helped stream the belief of in simple terms summary, absolute song to the leading edge of musical modernism.
By rigorously tracing the evolution of absolute tune from old Greece in the course of the heart a long time to the twentieth-century, Bonds not just offers the 1st complete heritage of this pivotal proposal but additionally provokes new options at the essence of song and the way essence has been used to provide an explanation for music's influence. an extended awaited publication from some of the most revered senior students within the box, Absolute tune can be crucial examining for someone drawn to the background, concept, and aesthetics of track.
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Additional info for Absolute Music: The History of an Idea
In the top panel, her wand extends across a boundary toward the four elements (earth, water, air, fre), representing the highest category of music, musica mundana. In the middle panel, her wand still penetrates the barrier but not by as much, pointing to musica humana, the harmonizing force that unites body, spirit, and mater. In the botom panel, her wand remains on her own side of the barrier, and she point an admonishing fnger at a man playing the viol, a manifestation of musica instrumentalis, the only variety audible to humans.
8 Tat harmony, as so many writers since Plato and Aristotle have observed, can be disrupted all too easily. Orpheus’s power was immediate and for that very reason dangerous: it bypassed, in efect, the faculty of reason, giving priority to the emotional over the rational, the physical over the mental, the body over the mind. Te fear that the senses—the body—might overwhelm the intellect—the mind—lies at the heart of Western atitudes toward the arts in general but particularly toward music, which more than any other art exposes the division between the mind and the senses.
Music and astronomy, he maintained, both employ arithmetic and geometry “as instruments of indisputable authority, to discover the quantity and quality of the primary movements; and they are as it were cousins, born of the sisters, sight and hearing, and brought up by arithmetic and geometry as children most closely related in their 3. On Aristoxenus, see Tomas J. Mathiesen, Apollo’s Lyre: Greek Music and Music Teory in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 294–344.