Article ID: CBB001551435

A Third Note: Helmholtz, Palestrina, and the Early History of Musicology (2015)


Kursell, Julia (Author)

Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Volume: 106, no. 2
Issue: 2
Pages: 353-366

Publication Date: 2015
Edition Details: Part of a Series: The History of Humanities and the History of Science
Language: English

This contribution focuses on Hermann von Helmholtz's work on Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Helmholtz used his scientific concept of distortion to analyze this music and, reversely, to find corroboration for the concept in his musical analyses. In this, his work interlocked with nineteenth-century aesthetic and scholarly ideals. His eagerness to use the latest products of historical scholarship in early music reveals a specific view of music history. Historical documents of music provide the opportunity for the discovery of new experimental research topics and thereby also reveal insights into hearing under different conditions. The essay argues that this work occupies a peculiar position in the history of musicology; it falls under the header of “systematic musicology,” which eventually emerged as a discipline of musicology at the end of the nineteenth century. That this discipline has a history at all is easily overlooked, as many of its contributors were scientists with an interest in music. A history of musicology therefore must consider at least the following two caveats: parts of it take place outside the institutionalized field of musicology, and any history of musicology must, in the last instance, be embedded in a history of music.

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Article Bod, Rens; Kursell, Julia (2015) Introduction: The Humanities and the Sciences. Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 337-340). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Kursell, Julia
Lancereau, Guillaume
Sutton, Katie
Mitrofanov, Ruslan
Pereira, José Morgado
Braw, Daniel
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
History of Psychiatry
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Physics in Perspective
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft
University of California, Los Angeles
Amsterdam University Press
University of Toronto
Harvard University
Discipline formation
Auditory perception
Music theory
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Stumpf, Carl
Frese, Alexander
Wundt, Wilhelm Max
Weber, Ernst Heinrich
Schoenberg, Arnold
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
21st century
18th century
17th century
United States

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