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Music in the French Royal Academy of Sciences

Music in the French Royal Academy of Sciences: A Study in the Evolution of Musical Thought

Albert Cohen
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 362
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  • Book Info
    Music in the French Royal Academy of Sciences
    Book Description:

    This book describes a colorful period in French social and cultural history, during which music and science combined to provide the intellectual and aesthetic spirit of the Age of Enlightenment with an enormous vitality. Investigating the place assigned to music in France's preeminent scientific institution, the Paris Academy, the author shows the role played by the scientific movement in the evolution of musical thought prior to the Revolution.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5354-0
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Albert Cohen
  5. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
    (pp. 3-16)

    The Académie Roy ale des Sciences (established 1666, suppressed 1793) was enormously influential in fostering a new spirit for a period that became known as the Enlightenment The rise of the scientific attitude was central to this spirit an openness to inquiry, an interest in experimentation, and general encouragement for the exchange of ideas. It was not alone in its work, to be sure; throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, other academies having similar interests and goals were established in the West. But the Pans Academy was unlike the others in that it was subsidized by and became an agent...

    (pp. 17-40)

    The early interest in music at the Academy appears to have waned during the years 1683-1691, no activity in the subject is recorded in theprocès-verbauxfor that time span But then, with the death in 1683 of the prime minister Colbert, the organizer and protector of the Academy, a general decline, or at least a period of reevaluation appears to have been undergone by this institutionz¹ His successor, Louvois, is held to have been unsympathetic to pure science, stressing the need for the group to direct its attention increasingly to “recherche utile, celle qui peut avoir rapport au service...

    (pp. 41-78)

    The climate of inquiry that stimulated experimentation at the Academy also provided a spur to its growing concern with thearts et métiers,since investigators quickly recognized the pressing need for the design and construction of ever-more precise and novel scientific instruments to facilitate their research¹ As Daumas notes, once “science became experimental, its progress no longer depended solely on the exercise of intellectual faculties”² Indeed, its success relied increasingly upon collaboration of the professional craftsman with the scientist—and it was this collaboration that was largely responsible for the wide-ranging technological advances made by the scientific movement at the...

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 79-109)

    While the nature, production, and perception of sound occupied the Academy in much of its work with music, the organization of that sound into patterns that were meaningful to the human ear and mind also became a growing concern of the group. In part, this was a result of the general interest in applying the discoveries of experimentation to practical ends, which gained favor at the Academy early in its development; and, in part, this reflected a change in the aesthetic of the time, in which music theory was viewed increasingly as subordinate to, and dependent upon, practice for its...

    (pp. 110-112)

    The french royal academy of Sciences in Pans—by accepting music as a valid discipline for scientific study, by recognizing the importance of thearts et métiersin the pursuit of its work, and by assuming the task of adjudicating machines, inventions, and scientific writings for Royal Privilege—played a conspicuous role in innovative musical developments throughout the period of its activity, and especially in the eighteenth century

    The early Academy embraced music in the tradition of humanism, applying to it the same nature of inquiry that generally characterized its work in experimental science To be sure, such inquiry was...

  13. Appendix I. Presentations by Joseph Sauveur on Music and Acoustics
    (pp. 115-116)
  14. Appendix II. Proposals in Music Assigned to Committee Review, 1704–1792
    (pp. 117-119)
  15. Appendix III. Musical Instruments at the Paris Academy, A Checklist of Proposals, 1678–1792
    (pp. 120-122)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 123-140)
  17. Index
    (pp. 141-150)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 151-151)