Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $5.31 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Music of the Spheres:... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Typical used book with moderate shelf-wear to cover, edges, corners, and spine. Inside pages contain some underlining, note taking, and/or highlighting. Book is in stock and ready to ship same or next business day. ELIGIBLE FOR FREE SHIPPING! Buy with confidence! Please leave feedback after your purchase. It helps other buyers know we are a responsible and reliable seller. Thank you!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe Paperback – April 24, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0387944746 ISBN-10: 0387944745 Edition: 1st ed. 1993. 2nd printing 1995

Buy New
Price: $14.64
32 New from $12.26 20 Used from $6.80
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.64
$12.26 $6.80
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Hero Quick Promo
Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now
$14.64 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe + The Harmony of the Spheres: The Pythagorean Tradition in Music + Harmonies of Heaven and Earth: Mysticism in Music from Antiquity to the Avant-Garde
Price for all three: $47.80

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Pythagoras onward, music was perceived as a mirror of cosmic harmony and of the Supreme Intelligence believed to pervade the universe. But 19th-century Romantic composers, in James's view, were deaf to the music of the spheres, and created instead an aberrant music of exaggerated emotional appeal. James, who writes on science and music for Discover and Connoisseur, contends that the works of Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Schonberg embody a belief in a sublime cosmic order that Beethoven overturned. This bold, pathbreaking history explains how the ancient tradition of music as a branch of divine science has found support from Plato through Kepler, Sir Isaac Newton (an alchemist and self-professed Pythagorean) to Galileo, Freemasonry and the esoteric experiments of today's avant-garde composers. A provocative, engaging reassessment of the Western musical tradition and its relation to science. Illustrated.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Music of the Spheres is a truly interdisciplinary book, as much science as music. The book begins with Pythagoras, who some consider both the first scientist and one of the first to study music in a disciplined fashion. Pythagoras described the heavens as seven spheres, one nestled in the next, each supporting a known planet, with the sun as the innermost sphere. This perfect system both produced and was music; the music of the spheres was celestial harmony. Pythagoras used mathematical principles to study nature, the heavens, and music, showing that they could be studied in the same way. Science writer James traces the development of science and music from antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance (including Kepler's well-described cosmology), and the present. He discusses how developments in music and science paralleled one another, overlapped, and in general reflected the position of humanity in the universe. While this book is aimed at general audiences, some familiarity with the history of music is helpful. For interdisciplinary collections.
- Eric D. Albright, Galter Health Sciences Lib., Northwestern Univ., Chicago
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 1st ed. 1993. 2nd printing 1995 edition (April 24, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387944745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387944746
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born and raised in Texas, educated at Williams College, Jamie James worked as a freelance writer in New York for more than twenty years. He contributed frequently to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, and National Geographic Traveler, among many others, and served as art critic at The New Yorker and The Times of London. In 1999 he moved to Indonesia to concentrate on writing books. He is the author of fiction, biography, and long-form criticism. He and his partner own and operate two restaurants in Seminyak, Bali.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By David Brehmer on April 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I began reading this book with the highest of expectations, based both upon the credentials of the author and the reviews contained herein. However, now that I have completed it, I must rate it with some personal disappointment. Although the book is some 230 pages long and covers several millennia worth of history, its structure lends the feeling that it is a collection of condensed articles taken from the pages of periodicals. Anyone who reads Discovery Magazine will immediately recognize this factually succinct trait.
And succinct is what best describes the depth of information presented by this book. It provides a very thorough lineage of relevant historical figures throughout the ages, but sadly it only gives the majority of them a cursory mention. While he devotes alot of attention to the specific numerological devices of Pythagoras and such, very little of their ideas are easily comprehendible according to his fragmented explanations, and the reader must go to an outside source to grasp their true mechanics. The passages concerning musical scales suffers especially from a lack of explanation, and if I had not already possessed an insight into their nature, I would have been utterly befuddled about what Mr. James was trying to tell me.
Further on, the author begins to insert his personal opinions about the people he is describing. In an interesting chronicle of a minor feud between Kepler and Fludd, Mr. James draws sides immediately and nearly dismisses Fludd as a mystic who merely regurgitated archaic knowledge, but only after slight after slight does he admit, seemingly regrettably and with an apologetic tone, that the very crux of Kepler's argument was wrong.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By dilingo@compuserve.com on July 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully written exposition of both the harmony between music and science before the Renaissance, and the separation of the two into divergent disciplines after. James captures the beauty of the beliefs of the early musician-scientists, and how their contemplations sought to explain the meaning of life, God, and (like the Unification Theory of today) all existence. It is a fascinating story of how, one by one, scientific proofs separated science from the arts as knowledge increased. The book is well-explained, stimulating to the higher brain, and soothing to the lower brain. (Sorry, but if you get that, then you get it--and the book.) A rare non-fiction in that I never put it down.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By tambascot on October 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Music of the Spheres is a not-completely worthless history of the inter-relation of music (and to an extent, art in general) and science. If James had stopped at providing a simple survey of his materials, he might have done well in providing a brief history of Western civilization's evolving attitudes toward music and science up to the 18th century. James, unfortunately, fails to prove his thesis, and as science becomes more complex, shrinks from that part of his discussion.

James posits that science has failed modern society in a way that it did not fail ancient civilizations through the Romantic era. Philosophy and science, bound together, provided mankind with a sense of place in the universe, and this was not only reflected in the development of art, but this philosophical understanding derived, in portion, from understanding of music. While that may be true, the understanding that the ancient philosophers gathered from their musical experiments was the foundation for centuries of fallacious thinking about the nature of the universe which, when it clashed with empirical observation during the Renaissance, led to the arrest of Galileo, among others. In defending this short-sighted view of the importance of music, James is left in the awkward position of supporting a philosophical view of the world that is not supported by our observations of the world. James never gives us this defense, and instead discusses the elevation of the status of the artist as the meaning-maker in the Romantic era at length, without ever really stopping to consider that science's contributions to society since the mid-1800s could be anything but a bad thing.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Chris B on June 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jamie James did not write, in this work, the definitive exposition on The Music of the Spheres. What is contained in this work is, however, an excellent introduction into the topic in my opinion. Many of the key players are mentioned and a bit of biographical background information is presented with them which provides a good reference point for more reading.
As a good introduction should, this book starts in the ancient past with Pythagoras and Plato and moves right up to the 20th century. There is a bit, perhaps, of editorial bias on some of the characters that have been involved in this topic throughout history; nevertheless, one is not put off on anyone mentioned by the book if someone decided they'd like more than an introductory course in the Music of the Spheres.
As it was my intention, before even reading this book, to look deep into this subject, I was not put off at all by the historical coverage of the topic as opposed to a more practical treatment. It's not an in-depth practical work on the Music of the Spheres, but as an introduction to the topic and coverage of some of the historical and biographical background, I was not left disappointed.
A very interesting read, it fueled the desire to look deeper into the subject and helped shed a little background and perspective on a few of the historical figures connected with the topic. Worth the read, even twice.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe
This item: The Music of the Spheres: Music, Science, and the Natural Order of the Universe
Price: $19.95 $14.64
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com