Instruments of Music, Instruments of Science: Hermann von Helmholtz's Musical Practices, his Classicism, and his Beethoven Sonata

Annals of Science 68 (2):149-177 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Summary The young Hermann Helmholtz, in an 1838 letter home, declared that he always appreciated music much more when he played it for himself. Though a frequent concert-goer, and celebrated for his highly influential 1863 work on the physiological basis of music theory, Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen, it is likely that Helmholtz's enduring engagement with music began with his initial, personal experience of playing music for himself. I develop this idea, shifting the discussion of Helmholtz's work on sound sensation back to its origins, and examine the role of his material interaction with musical instruments and music itself. In his sound sensation studies, Helmholtz understood sound as an external, physical object. But Helmholtz also conceived of sound in musical terms. Further, Helmholtz's particular musical tastes as well as his deeply personal interaction with musical instruments allowed him to reconcile his conception of sound as physical object with his conception of sound as music. Helmholtz's physiological theory of sound sensation was both the product of and constitutive of how he heard and created sound. I argue that Helmholtz himself was the embodied reconciliation of his physiological theory of sound sensation and his belief that musical aesthetics were historically and culturally contingent

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Musical works and orchestral colour.Stephen Davies - 2008 - British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (4):363-375.
A Theory of Musical Narrative.Byron Almén - 2008 - Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Five Theses on Instrumental Realism.Davis Baird - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:165 - 173.
The cultural study of musical instruments.K. Dawe - 2003 - In Martin Clayton, Trevor Herbert & Richard Middleton (eds.), The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction. Routledge. pp. 274--83.
Piece for the end of time: In defence of musical ontology.Andrew Kania - 2008 - British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (1):65-79.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-10-27

Downloads
32 (#366,892)

6 months
1 (#448,551)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Making Visible.M. Wise - 2006 - Isis 97:75-82.
Making Visible.M. Norton Wise - 2006 - Isis 97 (1):75-82.

Add more references