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Curious and Modern Inventions

Instrumental Music as Discovery in Galileo's Italy

Rebecca Cypess

Curious and Modern Inventions

Rebecca Cypess

320 pages | 4 color plates, 17 halftones, 72 line drawings, 4 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Cloth $55.00 ISBN: 9780226319445 Published March 2016
E-book $10.00 to $55.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226319582 Published March 2016
Early seventeenth-century Italy saw a revolution in instrumental music. Large, varied, and experimental, the new instrumental repertoire was crucial for the Western tradition—but until now, the impulses that gave rise to it had yet to be fully explored. Curious and Modern Inventions offers fresh insight into the motivating forces behind this music, tracing it to a new conception of instruments of all sorts—whether musical, artistic, or scientific—as vehicles of discovery.

Rebecca Cypess shows that early modern thinkers were fascinated with instrumental technologies. The telescope, the clock, the pen, the lute—these were vital instruments for leading thinkers of the age, from Galileo Galilei to Giambattista Marino. No longer used merely to remake an object or repeat a process already known, instruments were increasingly seen as tools for open-ended inquiry that would lead to new knowledge. Engaging with themes from the history of science, literature, and the visual arts, this study reveals the intimate connections between instrumental music and the scientific and artisanal tools that served to mediate between individuals and the world around them.
Review Quotes
Andrew Dell’Antonio, University of Texas at Austin
“This is an excellent book. Cypess’s understanding of seventeenth-century cultural nuances is remarkable, and I very much admire how she grounds so many of her historical-cultural insights in specific musical analyses. Elegant and readable by both specialists and nonspecialists, Curious and Modern Inventions will be considered groundbreaking by enthusiasts of early modern music and of broader early modern culture alike.”
Ellen Rosand, Yale University
Curious and Modern Inventions is a highly original contextual study of the repertoire of solo and ensemble music for strings that was ‘invented’ in seventeenth-century Italy. Cypess’s thorough bibliographic investigation and spirited musical analysis raise—and answer—some critical questions regarding the reception of these extraordinary works, which she convincingly relates to contemporary scientific discoveries and concerns. This book exemplifies the rich rewards of interdisciplinary thinking.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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