Temperament

Temperament

The Idea That Solved Music's Greatest Riddle

Book - 2001
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Random House, Inc.
A fascinating and hugely original book that explains how a vexing technical puzzle was solved, making possible some of the most exquisite music ever written.

From the days of the ancient Greeks, the creation of music was thought to be governed by divine and immutable mathematical certainties. But over time skeptics came to understand that those rules limited harmonic possibilities. In Temperament, we see the traditionalists and the innovators battling across the centuries, engaging great thinkers like Newton, Kepler, and Descartes as well as musicians, craftsmen, church leaders, and heads of state. At the heart of their dispute is the question of how the tones of a musical scale should be selected.

The breakthrough came in the eighteenth century, when the modern keyboard was given perfect musical symmetry through a tuning of equal temperament, each pitch reliably 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 creates a musical universe in which the relationships between tones are reliably, uniformly consistent--a universe of greatly expanded possibility, one that allowed Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, and all those who followed to compose the piano music we listen to today.

Stuart Isacoff relates the story of the reinvention of the piano--a story that encompasses social history, religion, philosophy, and science as well as musicology--in a concise and sparkling narrative. Temperament is a jewel of a book.

Baker & Taylor
An intriguing study of the development of the piano explores the eighteenth-century musical breakthrough that led to the creation of the modern piano keyboard, which offered a tuning in which each pitch is equidistant from the ones the precede and follow it, an innovation that greatly expanded the creative possibilities of classical composition. 25,000 first printing.

Book News
In the 18th century, the modern tempered keyboard was developed. This meant tuning the instrument in a manner that produced reliable, consistent relationships between tones, thus greatly expanding the universe of the piano and giving rise to the composition of the great piano music heard today. Isacoff (pianist, lecturer, composer, and creator and editor of the magazine Piano Today ) discusses the history of this development, a story that encompasses social history, religion, philosophy, and science as well as musicology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Explores the eighteenth-century musical breakthrough that led to the creation of the modern piano keyboard, which greatly expanded the creative possibilities of classical composition.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, c2001
Edition: 1st ed
Description: 259 p. : ill. ; 20 cm
ISBN: 9780375403552
0375403558
Branch Call Number: 784.1928 Isa

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