Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde Paperback – Nov 1 1987
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"Through a rich, eclectic mix of mythological, philosophical, literary, and scientific references, the deeper meanings of sound and music are revealed." (Gnosis)
About the Author
Joscelyn Godwin, Professor of Music at Colgate University, is the author of The Harmony of Spheres, Arktos: The Polar Myth, The Theosophical Enlightenment, and many other books on music and esoteric traditions.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Anyway, this book is brilliant. Vast amounts of information are thrown at the reader in a manageable and coherent fashion, and all the chapters follow a logical course of thought which supports the ultimate thesis that the universe we live in is a musical one, dominated by harmonies and melodies of untold beauty, not equations of mind-boggling complexity. His own 4 chapters are excellent forays into speculative music, presenting scientific evidence of the effects of music in the universe, as well as anecdotal/mythological excerpts to support the idea. At times, it seems as though fact and fiction are indistinct, and this would be an accurate view. But even Godwin himself notes this in Chapter 2. The ultimate relevance is that, whether fact or fiction, Godwin has touched upon some kind of truth (in my opinion), which his scientific evidence backs up, and his anecdotal/mythological evidence presents to us.
The final section is the clearest description of complex musical philosophies I have yet found. Certainly the scales and tone-zodiacs (not to mention ideas) he presents are hard to decipher, but he explains them well in layman's terms, so even without a music degree, one can figure out the gist of what is going on. Godwin's own Harmony of the Spheres sourcebook includes much of this in even more detail, some more clear, some less, but this is a great quick guide to many confusing musical philosophies and concepts. Truly mind-blowing stuff if you ask me, especially the stuff on Kepler and the last several pages of the book...
Ultimately, this book is a fantastic read, one that will make you question your existence, the realities you perceive, the nature of myth, and the power of music. Godwin opens minds...but try to get the 87 edition used, it has 2 passages he left out of the 95.
5 Stars. Without Question.
Its analysis starts from the very Pythagorean theory of the Harmony of the Spheres and extends to the beginning of last century.
Analysing each theory, the book provides the opportunity to people without any profound knowledge of music of philosophy, to understand some of the theories that shaped western music through the ages.