Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning

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This book examines the intellectual history of instrumental music, in particular the idea of absolute music. It tries to show how certain ideas in philosophy, theology and the sciences affect the meaning and, indeed, the existence of instrumental music, and how, in turn, instrumental music is used to resolve or exemplify certain problems in modern culture. Instead of existing in a pure and autonomous form, music is woven back into the epistemological fabric and entangled with numerous discourses, thus demonstrating the centrality of music in the construction of meaning.

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Editorial Reviews

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"Wonderful...remarkable...This review cannot hope to indicate the richness of insight on any given page of this book, the wealth of surefooted detail with which Fisk weaves each piece into his story." 19th Century Music

"This is a book that should inspire enthusiasm for extramusical approaches to absolute music." Notes

"With some confidence, one can say that this book bears the marks of scholar of great force and personality whose best work lies in the future." Catholic Library World

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; On the preface; Part I. The Garden of Eden: 1. On history; 2. On modernity; 3. On disenchantment; 4. On division; 5. On opera; 6. On machines; 7. On space; 8. On style; Part II. The Fruit of Knowledge: 9. On being; 10. On the mind; 11. On biology; 12. On the body; 13. On the soul; 14. On morality; 15. On women; 16. On masculinity; 17. On independence; 18. On heroes; 19. On politics; 20. On nothing; 21. On God; 22. On infinity; 23. On self-deification; 24. On invisibility; 25. On conscious life-forms; 26. On artificiality; Part III. The Tower of Babel: 27. On death; 28. On absolute music; 29. On the beautiful and the sublime; 30. On monuments; 31. On the apocalypse; 32. On the end; 33. On suicide; 34. On absolute drivel; 35. On Babel; Bibliography; Index.

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