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Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde Paperback – November 1, 1987


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Frequently Bought Together

Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde + The Harmony of the Spheres: The Pythagorean Tradition in Music + The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; Reissue edition (November 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892815000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892815005
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Through a rich, eclectic mix of mythological, philosophical, literary, and scientific references, the deeper meanings of sound and music are revealed." (Gnosis)

From the Back Cover

MUSIC / PHILOSOPHY

What lies beneath the surface of music and what gives it its transcendent power? For many people, music is the primary catalyst for experiences of expanded consciousness. Musicians and lovers of music--all those who have ever reflected on its inner reality--feel that a true philosophy of music cannot deal with physics and psychology alone. It must include the universal and mystical aspect of which Plato, Kepler, Rameau, and Novalis wrote, and of which Wagner said: “I feel that I am one with this vibrating Force, that it is omniscient, and that I can draw upon it to an extent that is limited only by my own capacity.” The spiritual power of music surfaces in folklore, myth, and mystical experience, embracing heaven and earth, heard as well as unheard harmonies.

Joscelyn Godwin explores music’s perceived effects on matter, living things, and human behavior. He then turns to metaphysical accounts of the higher worlds that are the birthplace of Harmony, following the path of musical inspiration on its descent to Earth, and illuminating the archetypal currents that lie beneath Western musical history. A final section gives the fullest account ever published of theories of celestial harmony, from Pythagoras to Rudolf Steiner and Marius Schneider.

JOSCELYN GODWIN, Professor of Music at Colgate University, is the author of The Harmony of the Spheres, Arktos: The Polar Myth, The Theosophical Enlightenment, and many other books on music and esoteric traditions.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By "musici123" on December 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was the book which started my continuing quest for information regarding the foundation of music. It is a difficult read ONLY because one needs a huge background covering many individuals--Pythagoras, Kepler, Fludd, Hermes Trismegistus, Gurdjieff, the theosophists Blavatsky, Steiner, and Scott--all of whom I had but scant knowledge prior to reading this book. Godwin covers a wealth of information but only touches briefly on each: cosmology, the monochord, music of the spheres, temperment. I have reread this book several times; whole paragraphs are underlined. If you realize something is seriously wrong with the way music is presently used and abused by society, this book may be a starting point for you as it was for me six years ago.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By nimrod on December 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By purple otter on July 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for those who are interested in the metaphysical, transcendent power of music! As a professional music therapist who sees the power that music has to facilitate changes within people on a daily basis,I highly recommend it!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deliangel on July 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
A very interesting book, that will attract the attention of both music lovers and philosophy fans.

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.
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