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Music, the Arts, and Ideas: Patterns and Predictions in Twentieth-Century Culture (Centennial Publications of the University of Chicago) Paperback – September 1, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0226521435 ISBN-10: 0226521435 Edition: 0002-

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Music, the Arts, and Ideas: Patterns and Predictions in Twentieth-Century Culture (Centennial Publications of the University of Chicago) + Emotion and Meaning in Music (Phoenix Books)
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Product Details

  • Series: Centennial Publications of the University of Chicago
  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 0002- edition (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226521435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226521435
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,491,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leonard B. Meyer is Benjamin Franklin Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Pennsylvania.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Neal Schultz on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Most books in philosophy or in the social sciences are most engaging when the author describes the problem he's examining in the book (literally the descriptive parts). This can be abbreviated in the preface or it can last through the entire volume. I often lose interest in books where the describing the problem is just a preface to getting to the prescriptive/thou shalt/here's my solution/if only someone listened to me etc. You get the idea. The best books are those where the author is so ingenious in his understanding of the problem or description of the facts that surround the issues of the book's subject that you no longer care if s/he gives you a theory that solves the problem.

In Meyer's book his topic is so monumental that it's amazing that he has found a way to link patterns of evolutionary change in musical and artistic composition to patterns of politics, mores, economics and societal dreams in the short pages of this 200+ page book. Want to learn about 16th century society? Then get in deep with the Mannheim school of composition. Do you want to understand the enlightenment? Sure you can Rousseau, Kant and Newton. But there's even more political, economic and social intrigue to be discovered in Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Lacking in exact precision I would call Meyer's book the musical and social sciences attempt to understand patterns of social and political change much like Thomas Kuhn's groundbreaking Structures of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific discovery and theories in economics and political economy. This book is THAT good. This book will make you lost in thought for weeks. For me its lasted for years.

This is not a speed read. It will keep you in low gear while reading but you will coasting down afterward in the revelations and further questions you ask yourself....which ultimately is the best encomium any author's book can receive I think.

Breathtaking. Thought provoking. Ingenious. Fascinating.
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