Dissipation of Culture

The increasing dissipation of the consumption of culture can be explained in terms of the successive removal of various obstacles. In earlier times, music was available for those privileged that could afford the leisure time needed for learning how to make music, and for making it. Later, the public concert halls and opera houses made it possible to become just a passive listener. It is true that all music making, especially if it was at a princely court, used to involve some listeners, but...

Attitudes to Culture

Social attitudes to which part of the cultural heritage can be regarded as private property and which cannot shift over time. Pictures, statues, and even architectural objects are generally regarded as legitimate private possessions, though most countries put constraints on their disposal. For instance, exportation of antiquities of a certain age is usually forbidden, and the reconstruction of historical buildings for modern use is subjected to severe control by antiquarian authorities....

Discovery in

We will return to the issue of music, but let us remark that what was said was not to deny that there ever was any progress or discovery in the arts. Of course, there always was Once upon the time even the borderline between science and art was floating, as were the internal borderlines that now divide the arts. Leonardo was an artist and a scientist at the same time. Giotto and Michelangelo worked as painters, sculptors and architects, and almost all the renaissance artists in Florence started...

Art and Science

It is nice to note the complete reciprocity between Art and Science Whereas scientists, in their attempts to explain various phenomena, take pleasure in Fig. 6.19 The magic square in Albrecht D rer's engraving Melancholia. The blackboard in the allegory shows the so called magic square. The first row reads 16, 3, 2,13, the second 5,10,11, 8, the third 9, 6, 7,12 and, the fourth 4,15,14,1. The magic square consists of all the natural numbers 1 through 16, arranged in rows and columns in such a...

Computers and Visuality

The internal attitudes in science have been changing over time. For a period pure mathematics was concerned with sets, compactness, continuity, and existence proofs, examples almost being banned. This preoccupation with set theory, which some people regarded as a disease, dissipated to many other disciplines. It is obvious now that, with the visualisation tools which the digital computers provide, vision, intuition and imagination have again come into the foreground. Many scientific pictures...

Pioneers

In the context of scientific renewal we should note that, just as we like to make us an idealized picture of science as ever moving to higher levels of understanding, just so do we like to think that any real progress proposed by the pioneers is readily accepted. The truth is that, despite the image scientists want to keep of their open mindedness, their majority always were utterly conservative and sometimes even evil minded. Pythagoras set the stage in the 6th Century BC. Harmony was a basic...

The Modern Harpsichord

As for the instrument, the harpsichord is very different from the grand piano. What is most obvious is action - the strings are not struck by hammers, but plucked by quills. So, it was natural to first focus on this aspect. Wanda Landowska put drawing pins in her grand piano in order to check out what kind of sound the harpsichord had. In 1911 she managed to convince the Pleyel company to produce a harpsichord with real plucking action for her, the first produced in over 100 years. That great...