In Pursuit of Musical Time

Marc D. Moskovitz


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The book opens with an exploration of musical time keeping as expressed in the artwork and musical writing of the Renaissance, sources that inform our early understanding of an age when music making was bound up with motions of the body and the pulsing of the human heart. With the adoption of the simple pendulum and the subsequent incorporation of tempo-related language, musicians gained the ability to communicate concepts of speed and slowness with ever-increasing precision. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed the development of a diverse array of musical time-keeping devices, yet it was not until the nineteenth century that a single device combined the critical elements of accuracy, functionality and affordability.

Enter the metronome: portable and affordable, a triumph of innovation that enabled musicians to establish and faithfully reproduce musical time with accuracy and ease. From Beethoven to Ligeti, Moskovitz looks to a number of distinguished composers who used or refused this revolutionary machine and explores the complicated relationship that unfolded between the metronome, the musical world and practitioners in other disciplines who sought to exploit its potential.

Engagingly written, Measure: In Pursuit of Musical Time will appeal to professionals and amateurs alike.


Marc D. Moskovitz:
MARC D. MOSKOVITZ is the author of Alexander Zemlinsky: A Lyric Symphony and co-author of Beethoven's Cello: Five Revolutionary Sonatas and Their World, both published by the Boydell Press. He has contributed program notes to orchestras and opera houses in the United States, Germany, Spain and China and entries for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. A dedicated teacher and performer, Moskovitz also serves as principal cellist of the ProMusica Columbus Chamber Orchestra.