Music and the forms of life

Publication Type:



University of California Press,, Oakland, California, United States, p.vii, 194 pages : (2022)

Call Number:



(OCoLC)fst01030408, (OCoLC)fst01030490, 19e siècle., 19th century., fast, Histoire, History, Music, Music and technology, Music and technology., Musique, Musique et technologie, Philosophie et esthétique, Philosophy and aesthetics, Philosophy and aesthetics.


Includes bibliographical references and index.Introduction : music and the life of statues -- From clockwork to pulsation I : intensity and drive -- From clockwork to pulsation II : action and feeling -- From clockwork to pulsation III : metabolism -- 1812 overtures : Wellington's victory and live action -- "Dear Listener" and the invention of subjectivity -- Waltzing specters : life, perception, and Ravel's "La Valse" -- The musical biome -- Epilogue : sound and the forms of life."Inventors in the age of the Enlightenment created lifelike androids capable of playing music on real instruments. The Android's Flute examines the link between such simulated life and music, which began in the era's scientific literature and extended into a series of famous musical works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Music invented auditory metaphors for the scientific elements of life--drive, pulse, sensibility, irritability, even metabolism--investigated the affinities and antagonisms between life and mechanism, and explored questions of whether and how mechanisms can come to life. The resulting changes in the conception of both life and music had wide cultural resonance at the time and have continued to evolve since. A critical part of that evolution was a nineteenth-century shift in focus from moving androids to the projection of life in motion, culminating in the invention of cinema. Weaving together cultural and musical practices, Lawrence Kramer traces these developments through a collection of case studies ranging from classical symphonies to modernist projections of waltzing specters by Mahler and Ravel to a novel linking Bach's Goldberg Variations to the genetic code"--