Reference Entry

Diderot, Denis

Daniel Heartz

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780198601746
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.07749
Diderot, Denis

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(b Langres, Oct 5, 1713; d Paris, July 31, 1784). French philosopher, critic and writer. He is best known as principal editor of the Encyclopédie but was also an influential writer on music. Born into a bourgeois family and educated by Jesuits, he was a writer of immense knowledge, energy and determination, who was imprisoned briefly (in 1749) for his philosophical views yet showed a spirit of tolerance that set him apart from most of his friends and colleagues. As chief architect of the Encyclopédie, a task that occupied him for some 20 years, he had a strong impact on the musical thought of his own and subsequent times. Musical discussion is strewn throughout his voluminous writings on all subjects and in his fiction: scientific works on acoustics, sound production and sensory perception are complemented by aesthetic writings, by critical essays on drama, art and music, and by diverse literary texts (plays, novels, dialogues), pedagogical tracts and a rich correspondence....

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Subjects: Music of the Classical Period

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