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January 2022

The image of music and the bodies of knowledge in the late middle ages: Rhythmic procedures as cultural representations

Journal/Book: Sci Context. 1996; 9: 40 West 20TH Street, New York, NY 10011-4211. Cambridge Univ Press. 121-136.

Abstract: The paper argues that the distinction between modernism and postmodernism can be applied metaphorically to clarify the changing image of music during the late Middle Ages. The paper discusses the scientific and rational strategies that thirteenth century musical theorists applied to revise earlier musical conceptualization. It highlights the thirteenth-century innovative affiliation of music with Aristotelian physics and argues that in a very subtle and seemingly contradictory way music theorists expressed the nascent awareness, if not tacit acknowledgment, of the mundane nature of music. It argues further that in the fourteenth century the issue of representing musical-rhythmical variability by means of a suitable language shifted to the forefront of musical theory and practice. The unprecedented emphasis on musical signs and their semantic behavior as well as the demand to demystify the discourse about rhythmical concepts - so as to question the necessity of metacategories - all point to an affinity between fourteenth century musical thought and postmodern sensibilities.

Note: Article Tanay D, Tel Aviv Univ, Cohn Inst Hist & Philosophy Sci & Ideas, IL-69978 Tel Aviv, ISRAEL

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