Few music lovers realize that the arrangement of notes on today’s pianos was once regarded as a crime against God and nature, or that such legendary thinkers as Pythagoras, Plato, da Vinci, Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, Newton and Rousseau played a role in the controversy. Indeed, from the time of the Ancient Greeks through the eras of Renaissance scientists and Enlightenment philosophers, the relationship between the notes of the musical scale was seen as a key to the very nature of the universe.
In this engaging and accessible account, Stuart Isacoff leads us through the battles over that scale, placing them in the context of quarrels in the worlds of art, philosophy, religion, politics and science. The contentious adoption of the modern tuning system known as equal temperament called into question beliefs that had lasted nearly two millenia–and also made possible the music of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, and all who followed. Filled with original insights, fascinating anecdotes, and portraits of some of the greatest geniuses of all time, Temperament is that rare book that will delight the novice and expert alike.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Share your thoughts on the Temperament Psychology & Psychiatry eBook with others!
|Title of eBook: Temperament|
|Release Date: 01-16-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Devices||Samsung Tablet, Apple Ipad & Iphone, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, Aluratek Libre, Iliad, Nokia, Blackberry, Hanlin|
|Note||ePub, short for electronic publication is one of our favorites and should be yours for a couple of reasons. ePub offers reflowable text giving you flexibility to manipulate how the content is presented. Moreover, lots of cool features are now being developed for the reader like advanced video and audio. ePub is now an industry standard, so all of the "non-propreitary" hardware manufacturers are now supporting it.|
Ay me! what warbles yields mine instrument!
The basses shriek as though they were amiss!
-William Percy, "Coelia" (1594)
The piano is perhaps the most generous instrument ever invented. Its range, from bass to treble, is as large as an orchestra's. It allows ten tones-sometimes even more-to be struck simultaneously, and holds them in the air at a pianist's will. The piano can growl and sing and beat time. It can render arid fugues and impressionist waterfalls with equal naturalness. And, unlike the ungrateful French horn or the finicky oboe, if you keep it in tune, it will be an obedient servant. But the principle that truly underlies the piano's versatility is hidden beneath the geometry of its white and black keys.
Clusters of two blacks, then three, then two, and so on, form a repeating pattern above a solid row of whites. When one's eye has become accustomed to the terrain, the alternating groupings signal the names of each note on the keyboard. There are only twelve different ones (each tied to a letter of the alphabet), and in our modern tuning they are built in equidistant steps, like a well-made ladder.
This arrangement produces wondrous results: Through it, a Chopin prelude can gently weep across the keys; Debussy's perfumed phrases can swirl in gentle clouds; Webern can set in motion intricate strings of melody, like threads of glistening pearls.
All of this is possible only because the modern keyboard is a design in perfect symmetry-each pitch is reliably, unequivocally equidistant from the ones that precede and follow it. This tuning allows a musical pattern begun on one note to be duplicated when starting on any other; it...