Myth, Science, and the Power of Music in the Early Decades of the Royal Society

Butler, Katherine (2015) Myth, Science, and the Power of Music in the Early Decades of the Royal Society. Journal of the History of Ideas, 76 (1). pp. 47-68. ISSN 1086-3222

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1353/jhi.2015.0006

Abstract

While the Royal Society’s experimental and mathematical investigations of the 1660-90s opened up new areas of acoustical knowledge, these did not simply overturn older traditions of musical wisdom. Fellows continued to draw on stories of music’s power contained in Classical mythology and Ancient history, as well as more contemporary anecdotes. Considering how they used, evaluated, and interpreted these stories, this study reveals the interdependence of myth, anecdote, and scientific thought in the Royal Society’s musical investigations. Their blending of Humanism with empirical philosophy proved a productive site for developing new conceptions of musical creativity and purpose.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright by Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume 76, Number 1 (January 2015) All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Royal Society, myth, music, natural philosophy, humanism, John Wallis, William Wotton, tarantula, ancients vs. moderns
Subjects: W300 Music
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 10:29
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 08:33
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/37722

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