Though this may seem an unnecessary addition to my review, Professor Joscelyn Godwin is a professor I have had/will have again at Colgate University, and a man of utmost scholarship. That said, this book suffers from one minor flaw, not worth removing a star: his archaic writing style. Godwin's ideas are intelligent, thought-provoking, and well-presented...but his writing style is the kind that can make the average reader's eyes glaze over. Of course, the "average reader" will not be reading this book, but a bit of accessibility stylistically never hurt anybody...then again, who am I to judge Professor Godwin? He was just grading my papers, hehe.
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.