Apart from providing an outlet for human emotions, does music have a use? Is a Mozart symphony intelligent, and is music a language? If so, what does it say and how does it say it? In this perceptive and revolutionary sequel to The Concept of Music, Robin Maconie teases out the musical science underlying subjects as diverse as Pythagoras's theorem, Plato's city state, mysteries of religion, myth, and folklore, theories of the mind, and key insights of
Newton, Freud, and Wittgenstein. Western civilization is based on a foundation of universal laws derived from acoustics and hearing. Music is not only the product of that civilizing process but also the key to
understanding the hidden structures and rituals of established belief. Beneath the surface of mass entertainment lie musical notations, images, instruments, and ensemble interactions to be understood afresh as models and mind games in an ongoing programme of scientfic discovery, information management, and social organization. That understanding is exciting in itself, has important educational and cultural implications, and is essential for future progress in musical composition.
`As for reading pleasure, the book is full of illuminating formulations ... full also of surprises, amusing remarks, imaginative extrapolations.'
Herman Sabbe, Musicae Scientiae, Vol III, no 2, Fall 1999
`Maconie explores a number of unusual trails and establishes some intriguing connections.'
Piers Spencer, British Journal of Music
`Maconie's book is a beguiling ramble through all kinds of arcane lore'
Ivan Hewitt, BBC Music