Athanasius Kircher, S.J. was a German Jesuit scholar and polymath who published around 40 .. The Musurgia Universalis () sets out Kircher’s views on music: he believed that the harmony of music reflected the proportions of the. Musurgia universalis sive ars magna consoni et dissoni in. X. libros digesta. Romae: Ex typographia Haeredum Francisci. Corbelletti, Kircher, Athanasius. German born, Jesuit trained, Athanasius Kircher () survived the varied contemporary musical standing was his Musurgia universalis sire ars magna.

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For most of his professional life, Kircher was one of the scientific stars of his world: Ancient and ModernOxford University Press, pp. Kircher analyzed the dimensions of the Ark; based on the number of species known to him excluding insects and other forms thought to arise spontaneouslyhe calculated that overcrowding would not have been a problem.

The book is one of the seminal works of musicology and was hugely influential in the development of Western music – in particular on J. Anatomy meets polyphony, perhaps? This book is a case in point. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Kircher then broke with Horapollon’s interpretation of the language of the hieroglyphs with his Lingua aegyptiaca restituta. One illustration shows the differences between the ears of humans and other animals.

The device had originally been invented by another Jesuit, Fr.

This page was last edited on 7 Decemberat He also advocated the theory of spontaneous generation. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The strip of text reads: There are many arcas still extant, including one in the Pepys Library of Magdalene College Cambridge.

This type of sound and space theory was of keen interest to him, and led to his Phonurgia nova published in Return to main Special Collections Exhibition Page. Wurzburg was shortly afterwards attacked and captured, leading to Kircher being accorded respect for predicting the universalid via astrology, though Kircher himself privately insisted that he had not relied on that art.

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The names of the notes are clearly visible. University of Chicago Library.


Kircher Musurgia Universalis

The two plates above illustrate his anatomical descriptions of the music receiving and music producing organs found in humans and other animals.

His importance was twofold: Beginning athanaskushe also began to show an interest in Egyptian hieroglyphs. In Phonurgia Nova Kircher considered the possibilities of transmitting music to remote places.

The arca musarythmica is a device by which a non-musician could compose a piece of four-part music using prearranged musical fragments inscribed in wands arranged in columns inside the box.

A fine Guidonian hand there, not to mention those excellent lutes and viols. Linus of Kirchetand was described by an acquaintance of Line’s in In Kircher’s system, ideograms were inferior to hieroglyphs because they referred to specific ideas rather than to mysterious complexes of ideas, while the signs of the Maya and Univerdalis were yet lower pictograms which referred only to objects.

Kircher was a Unibersalis Jesuit scholar and a true Renaissance man. By the middle of the 17 th century the Jesuit missions had spread as far abroad as China, the Americas and Japan, and Kircher regularly communicated with these missions to kifcher to his knowledge of the subject he was writing on. A closer inspection of the cylinder shows how it works – the perforations allowing poles to slip through, hence opening the pipe above.

Musurgia Universalis is a combination of a scholarly study of the history of music and musical instruments and an attempt at a scientific explanation of musical harmony and sound theory. He also proposed hygienic measures to prevent the spread of disease, such as isolation, quarantineburning clothes worn by the infected and wearing facemasks to prevent the inhalation of germs.

Others sent him chocolate and other presents to keep his interest in them from flagging. The colouring of this page by an unknown artist, perhaps a previous owner is one of the more successful attempts at the art in the two volumes of the work held by the University of Glasgow.

The lowest part of the picture shows blacksmiths in a cave: This was followed by his assignment to Heiligenstadtwhere he taught mathematicsHebrew and Syriacand produced a show of fireworks and moving scenery for the visiting Elector Archbishop of Mainzshowing early evidence of his interest in mechanical devices.

Kircher’s books were printed in large numbers – there were copies printed in of the Musurgia Universalis alone – and widely distributed through Jesuit channels. Athaanasius was also actively involved in the erection of obelisks in Roman squaresoften adding fantastic “hieroglyphs” of his design in the blank areas that are now puzzling to modern scholars.

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Umberto Eco comments that this idea reflected and supported the ethnocentric European attitude toward Chinese and native American civilizations.

He also discussed the logistics of the Ark voyage, speculating on whether extra livestock was brought to feed carnivores and what the daily schedule of feeding and caring for animals must have been. In one section he also explores the therapeutic effects of music especially in tarantisma theme from southern Italy.

Kircher is not now considered to have made any significant original contributions, although a number of discoveries and inventions e.

Athanasius Kircher SJ – ‘Musurgia Universalis’, 1650

A full digital edition of this book can be viewed on the Hathi Trust database. Its author lived and worked at the Collegio Romano in Rome for most of his life and his univerxalis at the hub of a huge international organisation – the 40, or so strong Society of Jesus – had two very important effects: Part of the Library and University Services. Retrieved June 4, The Marvellous sound world of 17th universals. From to Kircher was sent to begin his regency period in Koblenz as a teacher.

Much of Musurgia is given over to the description of contemporary and historic musical instruments from various parts of the world. Of the plucked athanasiuus displayed here: He learned Coptic in and published the first grammar of that language inthe Prodromus coptus sive aegyptiacus. Infor example, more than Jesuits came to Rome from all over the world to elect a new Superior General: A Man of Misconceptions: His geological and geographical investigations culminated in his Mundus Subterraneus ofin which he suggested that the tides were caused by water moving to and from a subterranean ocean.

In Phonurgia Nova kircehr, literally new methods of sound production, Kircher examined acoustic phenomena.