Paris: Guillelmi Baudry, 1635 [-1636].
Folio. Two parts bound in one. Early full dark brown panelled leather. With 21 fine engraved illustrations and more than 100 woodcut illustrations, mainly of musical instruments; numerous musical examples (some in lute tablature) and diagrams throughout; occasional woodcut head- and tailpieces, ornaments, and decorative initials. Typeset. Text in Latin.
1f. (recto title, verso blank), 1f. (dedication), 4ff. (preface), 184 pp.
Part II. Harmonicorum Instrumentorum
From the collection of Sir Frederick A. Gore Ouseley (1825-1889), English church musician, composer, professor of Music at Oxford University, and collector of music and music theory books, with his signature in pencil to free front endpaper. Some early notation in pencil to Vol. I, most likely in Ouseley's hand.
Binding slightly worn, rubbed, and bumped; restored and rebacked; endpapers slightly browned at margins. Slightly worn and browned; light to moderate dampstaining throughout; title slightly trimmed, soiled, and with small holes to blank areas, minor chips to margins, laid down to backing sheet; Part II with small hole to pp. 67/68, just touching illustration to p. 67 and affecting several letters of text to p. 68; lower outer corner of pp. 159/160 lacking, just touching lower outer corner of illustrative plate; occasional minor defects.
Part I lacking signatures R and X4 (pp. 125-132 and 153-160), as is often the case in early issues; lacking pp. 163-166; pages 43-46 mispaginated.
Part II lacking pp. 35-38; pages 148, 149, and 167 mispaginated.
First Edition. Gregory-Bartlett, pp. 178-79 (where pp. 126-131 and 154-159 are lacking in Vol. I). Cortot, p. 135. Hirsch I, 405. Wolffheim I, 836. Charbon (The Hague Gemeentemuseum) I, p. 95. Wood (Harvard) 988. RISM BVI, p. 572.
Part I contains the earliest examples of music engraving in France.
Part II is an important study on musical instruments of the late Renaissance and early Baroque.
Mersenne was a "French mathematician, philosopher, music theorist and savant. He was one of the leading French thinkers of the 17th century, and his work is central to the academic and scientific movements of the second quarter of the century; an important part of it is devoted to the science, theory and practice of music. He was a transitional figure at a crucial confluence of Renaissance and Baroque ideas in France, summing up the accomplishments of the past and posing the difficult questions for the future inherent in the new attitudes of his own time." Albert Cohen in Grove Music Online.
"An examination of [the Harmonicorum] will at once show how much it was in advance of anything published up to that time, and it is the first in which the science of acoustics is applied practically to the study of Music. Perhaps to us in the present day the greatest interest is in the last four Books, treating of the various instruments known at that time, divided into stringed and wind instruments (the organ having a book to itself) and instruments of percussion, as bells and drums. These are illustrated profusely with woodcuts, as well as with engravings on copper, both printed in the text. It is worthy of notice that in treating of the organ, several schemes are given for dividing the octave into more than twelve semi-tones, so as to be able to use it in the keys impossible with unequal temperament." Matthew: The Literature of Music, p. 53.
Mersenne also authored an early and influential work on music theory, Harmonie Universelle, published in Paris, 1636-37, addressing the relationship between music and mathematics and containing the earliest presentation of what have become known as "Mersenne's Laws" describing the harmonics of vibrating strings; he is thus often referred to as the "father of acoustics."
A cornerstone of the literature.
Price: $9,000.00 other currencies