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Distributed for Dartmouth College Press

Essay on the Origin of Languages and Writings Related to Music

"J.J. was born for music," Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote of himself, "not to be consumed in its execution, but to speed its progress and make discoveries about it. His ideas on the art and about the art are fertile, inexhaustible." Rousseau was a practicing musician and theorist for years before publication of his first Discourse, but until now scholars have neglected these ideas. This graceful translation remedies both those failings by bringing together the Essay, which John T. Scott says "most clearly displays the juncture between Rousseau’s musical theory and his major philosophical works," with a comprehensive selection of the musical writings. Many of the latter are responses to authors like Rameau, Grimm, and Raynal, and a unique feature of this edition is the inclusion of writings by these authors to help establish the historical and ideological contexts of Rousseau’s writings and the intellectual exchanges of which they are a part. With an introduction that provides historical background, traces the development of Rousseau’s musical theory, and shows that these writings are not an isolated part of his oeuvre but instead are animated by the same "system," this volume fashions a much-needed portal through which literary scholars, musicologists, historians, and political theorists can enter into an important but hitherto overlooked chamber of Rousseau’s vast intellectual palace.

658 pages | 6 x 9

Philosophy: General Philosophy


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Table of Contents

Preface • Chronology of Works in Volume 7 • Introduction • Note on the Text • Plan Regarding New Signs for Music • Letter to the Mercure on a New System of Musical Notation • Dissertation on Modern Music • Letter on Italian and French Opera • Letter on "Omphale" (Grimm) • Remarks on the Subject of the Letter by M. Grimm on "Omphale" (Raynal) • Letter to M. Grimm on the Subject of the Remarks Added to His Letter on "Omphale" • "Notice" to Rinaldo da Capua’s La Zingara • Letter from a Symphonist of the Royal Academy of Music to His Comrades in the Orchestra • Letter on French Music • Observations on Our Instinct for Music and Its Principle (Rameau) • Articles from the Encyclopedia • Errors on Music in the Encyclopedia (Rameau) • Continuation of the Errors on Music in the Encyclopedia (Rameau) • On the Principle of Melody, or Response to the "Errors on Music" • Examination of Two Principles Advanced by M. Rameau in His Brochure Entitled: "Errors on Music in the Encyclopedia" • Essay on the Origin on Languages • Pronunciation • On Theatrical Imitation • The Levite of Ephraïm • Dictionary of Music • Letter to Mr. Burney and Fragments of Observations on Gluck’s "Alceste" • Extract from a Response by the Underlaborer to His Frontman Concerning a Piece from Gluck’s "Orfeo" • Appendix: "Enfin, il est en ma puissance," from Lully’s Armide • Notes • Index

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