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Music and the French Enlightenment

Cynthia Verba

Published in print December 2016 | ISBN: 9780199381029
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199381043 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199381029.001.0001
Music and the French Enlightenment

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This revised edition sustains its original goal of reconstructing the musical dialogue in which Rameau was engaged with some of the leading thinkers of the French Enlightenment. It was a prolonged discussion during the 1750s and 1760s, with Rousseau, D’Alembert, and Diderot as the principal figures most intensely absorbed with Rameau’s musical thought. The book highlights a central concern of the dialogue, which was music’s duality as both an art form and an object of theoretical or scientific inquiry; hence the significance of composer-theorist Rameau. The participants explored such issues as the nature of artistic expression, of scientific inquiry, and the respective roles of reason and experience in music. A unique and attractive feature of the book is that it recaptures the tenor and tone of the musical dialogue through a section containing key passages in translation, in some cases, making them available in English for the first time. An additional feature is an Epilogue that updates the prolific scholarship on this subject that has emerged since the book was first published. The Epilogue presents in narrative form the story of how scholars continue to grapple with many of the same fundamental oppositions or competing ideas that originally were embedded within Enlightenment thought.

Keywords: musical Enlightenment; Rameau; art; science; theory; philosophes

Book.  216 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Music and the French Enlightenment

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Music as Expressive Art in Music and the French Enlightenment

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Music as Science in Music and the French Enlightenment

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Music as Art and Science in Music and the French Enlightenment

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Music as Art and Science in Music and the French Enlightenment

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