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Music and the Making of Modern Science$
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Peter Pesic

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027274

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027274.001.0001

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Moving the Immovable

Moving the Immovable

Chapter:
(p.35) 3 Moving the Immovable
Source:
Music and the Making of Modern Science
Author(s):

Peter Pesic

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027274.003.0004

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the debates on the new cosmology involved musical issues at several points. The disputed order of the planets paralleled questions about their correlation with musical modes. The practice of musical change of mode implicitly paralleled the change of center required by heliocentric cosmology. This chapter considers Josquin des Prez’s motet De profundis as a path-breaking example of such change of modal center noted by Heinrich Glarean. Copernicus and his early advocates, such as Rheticus, used “harmony” and music to justify their views; Vincenzo Galilei phrased his advocacy of heliocentrism in terms of its parallel in the ordering of musical modes. He may have drawn his awareness of Copernicus from his teacher Gioseffo Zarlino, who, though no heliocentrist, was one of the few in Italy who acquired the first edition of Copernicus’s book. Vincenzo’s son Galileo also used the language of harmony to express his adherence to the new cosmology. Throughout the book where various sound examples are referenced, please see http://mitpress.mit.edu/musicandmodernscience (please note that the sound examples should be viewed in Chrome or Safari Web browsers).

Keywords:   Copernicus, Vincenzo Galilei, Heliocentrism, Modes, Planets, Josquin des Prez, Heinrich Glarean, Gioseffo Zarlino, Galileo Galilei

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