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Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era$
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Roger Mathew Grant

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199367283.001.0001

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Measuring Music

Measuring Music

(p.93) Chapter Four Measuring Music
Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era

Roger Mathew Grant

Oxford University Press

Through the long eighteenth century, the relationship between motion and time was rewritten. Time, in this new view, was no longer a conceptual descendant of motion but was, in its new form, absolute: a demarcated backdrop against which events were situated. Discourses on meter reflected this shift in time's epistemological grounding. Meter, explained anew, was no longer a motion, the beat and the measure finally parted ways in this transition. Theorists in the eighteenth century shifted the focus of their explanation from the physical act of the beat to the properties of the measure, and the edifice that had once joined meter, character, and tempo began to shatter. Kirnberger's Die Kunst des reinen Satzes in der Musik drew on the particular images and pieces of language associated with absolute time in natural philosophy and mathematics. In this document, Kirnberger reimagined meter as an ongoing, dynamic division of absolute time.

Keywords:   time, flow, calculus, history of mathematics, Berlin academy, Berlin music theory, Newton, Kirnberger, Sulzer

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