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Magic Music from the Telharmonium Hardcover – January 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews


In this book, Weidenaar provides the first comprehensive study of the invention and marketing of the earliest electronic music-delivery system...Well-written and extensively researched, Magic Music is an engaging read for those interested in electronic-music history of early business models in the entertainment field. (Mix)

The book will be of value to scholars interested in the history of music technology, and also, though less obviously, to students of early twentieth-century social and economic history. (Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association)

About the Author

Reynold Weidenaar is Associate Professor of Communication at William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810826925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810826922
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,931,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Hooper on April 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the story of Cahill and his mammoth musical instrument, the Telharmonium, you will find this book to be the most authoritative source of information on this fascinating invention and it's ignoble end. Weidenaar reconstructs the story of Cahill's invention from a myriad of documents and interviews, and truly shows the inventors vision and persistence in the face of ultimately insurmountable obstacles over a course of many years. Based on the authors Phd, this book is somewhat scholarly and many pages are taken up with appendices and bibliography. Regardless, it is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the early origins of electronic music to see how an inventor could manage to implement such a concept at the turn of the century before the advent of true electronics. I personally found it fascinating to see how a system invented before 1900 predated many modern concepts of music synthesis and distribution, and I saw similarity between the Telharmonium venture and many hi-tech startups of the modern age. Thaddeus Cahill was truly a man before his time, and Weidenaar's book provides Cahill with the recognition he has deserved for many years.
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