Memoire sur la musique des anciens

Pierre-Joseph Roussier
Paris, 1770
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
Mus 170.5

Click for full-size imageIn this extraordinary treatise, Roussier - an autodidact and follower of Rameau - discussses musical systems from various cultural contexts in order to marshall support for the purported universality of his theoretical system. After editing Amiot's treatise, he was considered an authority on Chinese music. Roussier's ambition was to construct an evolutionary history of music, incorporating Ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Chinese examples, which would prove the common origin of all musical systems.

The pictured bronze depicts seven human figures simultaneously symbolizing the days of the week and the diatonic scale.

(Click image for full-sized reproduction)

Alternate views:

Related objects:


Back to Collection