By Mark Evan Bonds
What's track, and why does it flow 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 impression. In Absolute track: The background of an concept, Mark Evan Bonds lines the background of those efforts throughout greater than millennia, paying precise consciousness 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 middle of this publication specializes in the interval among 1850 and 1945. even though the assumption of natural song is as outdated as antiquity, the time period "absolute music" is itself quite fresh.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 show the restrictions of only 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. in basic terms natural, absolute tune, he argued, may perhaps observe the top power of the art.
Bonds unearths how and why perceptions of absolute track replaced so appreciably among the 1850s and Nineteen Twenties. while it first seemed, "absolute music" used to be a brand new time period utilized to previous song, yet via the early a long time of the 20 th century, it had become-paradoxically--an outdated time period linked to the hot track of modernists like Schoenberg and Stravinsky.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 most important advancements during this shift lay now not in discourse approximately tune yet really 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 flow the assumption of basically summary, absolute track to the innovative of musical modernism.
By conscientiously tracing the evolution of absolute tune from historical Greece in the course of the heart a long time to the twentieth-century, Bonds not just offers the 1st complete background of this pivotal idea but in addition provokes new options at the essence of song and the way essence has been used to provide an explanation for music's impression. an extended awaited e-book from essentially the most revered senior students within the box, Absolute tune should be crucial studying for somebody attracted to the historical past, idea, and aesthetics of song.
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Extra info for Absolute Music: The History of an Idea
Tomas Christensen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 223–45. 16. See Tomas J. Mathiesen, “Problems of Terminology in Ancient Greek Teory: ‘APMONÍA,’ ” in Festival Essays for Pauline Alderman: A Musicological Tribute, ed. Burton L. Karson (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1976); and Lippman, Musical Tought in Ancient Greece, 1–44. 26 n Essence as Effect: To 1550 Te early church fathers went to great lengths to incorporate Pythagorean thought into Christian doctrine. Tey sometimes substituted the fgures of David or Jubal for the pagan Pythagoras but fully embraced the idea of a numerical—and therefore musical—congruence of micro- and macrocosm.
While the myths of Orpheus tell of music’s power, they do not explain its source. For that, the ancient Greeks turned to the teachings of Pythagoras, that shadowy personage of the sixth century BCE about whom so litle is known and to whom so much is ascribed. Te undisputed biographical evidence is scant, and by the time Plato wrote about him he was already largely a mythical fgure whose teachings had inspired a cult following. 13 Lost sources, forgeries, interpolations, and misatributions make it all but impossible to distinguish between the thought of Pythagoras the individual and the ideas atributed to him as a mythic fgure.
Boethius endorsed the Pythagorean-Platonic conception of music, and the revival of his writings in the ninth century ensured the continuing authority of this tradition throughout the Middle Ages. Early on in his De institutione musica he observes that what Plato rightfully said can likewise be understood: the soul of the universe was joined together according to musical concord. 18 Te theme of cosmic harmony reverberates throughout the scholastic and theological thought of the Middle Ages. Sounding music is but one manifestation of the deeper proportions that structure the cosmos and all within it.
Absolute Music: The History of an Idea by Mark Evan Bonds