Recueil de planches: “Musique” (detail view)
In Encyclopédie, ed. Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert Jean-Jacques Rousseau Paris, 1751 (facsimile)
These plates juxtapose musical examples representing ancient Greek, Chinese, and oriental traditions. Rousseau casts doubt on the claims of universality made on the basis of these transcriptions: “One will find in all these pieces a certain conformity of modulation with our music, which may, for some, be cause for admiration of the quality and universality of our rules, and may perhaps raise suspicion in others as to the fidelity or intelligence of those who have transmitted this melody.” (Diderot/D’Alembert, Encyclopédie, vol. 10, p. 902.)
(Click image for full-sized reproduction) Read Nathan Martin's essay, "Rousseau, du Halde, and the Air Chinois"
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