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Both from the Ears and MindThinking about Music in Early Modern England$
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Linda Phyllis Austern

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226701592

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226704678.001.0001

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To Please the Ear and Satisfy the Mind

To Please the Ear and Satisfy the Mind

(p.155) Chapter Four To Please the Ear and Satisfy the Mind
Both from the Ears and Mind

Linda Phyllis Austern

University of Chicago Press

The kinds of quantitative underpinnings discussed in the previous chapter here go beyond esotericism to help demonstrate the affective powers of music and ways in which it could help model as well as influence cognition and consciousness. This chapter addresses ways in which music was thought to be perceived and influence the human organism, social collectives, and connections between individuals and their surroundings. Based on a rich and sometimes contradictory intellectual heritage, early modern thinkers not only located unheard harmonies in celestial perfection and numerical proportion, but also in the “little cosmos” that was the human being, comprised of body, soul, and the faculties that connected them. Music was therefore believed to unify discrete aspects of each human organism, additionally connecting individuals to others, and living creatures to eternity. The quantitative underpinnings by which music maintained universal and human concord became audible in music sung and played, enabling it to modify the emotions, behaviors, and both mental and physical well-being of listeners and performers. Just as music that could not be heard by living ears was made comprehensible by that which could, the affective power of audible music was explained by quantitative correlations and their effects on physical objects.

Keywords:   aesthetics of music, affect, hearing, fantasy, imagination, psychological aspects of music, sense perception, sound, spirit, sympathy

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