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By Daniel Chua

This ebook examines the highbrow historical past of instrumental track, particularly the assumption of absolute track. It attempts to teach how convinced principles in philosophy, theology and the sciences impact the which means and, certainly, the lifestyles of instrumental track, and the way, in flip, instrumental song is used to unravel or exemplify sure difficulties in glossy tradition. rather than latest in a natural and self reliant shape, track is woven again into the epistemological textile and entangled with a number of discourses, hence demonstrating the centrality of track within the building of that means.

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Additional resources for Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism)

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T. A. Hoffmann’s Musical Writings: Kreisleriana, The Poet and the Composer, Music Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 238–9. J. M. Bernstein, The Fate of Art: Aesthetic Alienation from Kant to Derrida and Adorno (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992), 4. 22 4 On division So modernity, by disenchanting the world, divides it. Modern music is therefore divided. One of the first signs of this division is the expulsion of music from language, as if tones and words were separate entities vying for power.

With its supernatural aura demystified as natural and its inaudible, invisible essences dismissed as non-existent, modern music became an autonomous object open to the manipulations of instrumental reason. Significantly it was Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo, the astronomer who disenchanted the universe,24 who was among the first to cut the ancient monochord in a series of experiments conducted in the 1580s,25 by subjecting instrumental sound to the instrumental reason of empirical science.

To imitate the practice of God’s ancient people’, says Calvin, merely apes the Old Testament in a ‘senseless and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight’ in an ancient worship which merely prefigures the Gospel. 23 For the Puritan, the enlightened Word of God has superseded the penumbra of resemblances; the ancient world is as distant from the modern age as the old covenant is from the New Testament. Thus instrumental music no longer means anything in the modern era of Christ, the Word made flesh, because the system of resemblances no longer stands as truth.

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