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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 26 January 2022

The Reinvention of Tempo

The Reinvention of Tempo

(p.183) Chapter Seven The Reinvention of Tempo
Beating Time and Measuring Music in the Early Modern Era

Roger Mathew Grant

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 provides an extended study of the celebrated machine Maelzel patented and its reception in the music theory of the era. If, as Beethoven and others complained, the meter signatures and Italian tempo terms no longer did the work of prescribing tempo, how were composers to communicate it? Maelzel's metronome was a technological response to the increasing anxieties surrounding tempo giusto, marking an important threshold in the history of meter theory. Unlike its predecessors, pendulum devices calibrated with local and inexact measures of length, this machine used units per minute. Those who wrote on the metronome focused on issues of standardization and quantification, anxiously attempting to avoid disparity in systems of measurement across Europe. With distant and future destinations in mind, their writings reveal as much concern about the communication of numeric standards as they do about tempo.

Keywords:   metronome, tempo, tempo giusto, technique, technology, Gottfried Weber, Maelzel

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