ABOUT THIS BOOK
Early seventeenth-century Italy saw a revolution in instrumental music. Large, varied, and experimental, the new instrumental repertoire was crucial for the Western tradition—but until now, the impulses that gave rise to it had yet to be fully explored. Curious and Modern Inventions offers fresh insight into the motivating forces behind this music, tracing it to a new conception of instruments of all sorts—whether musical, artistic, or scientific—as vehicles of discovery.
Rebecca Cypess shows that early modern thinkers were fascinated with instrumental technologies. The telescope, the clock, the pen, the lute—these were vital instruments for leading thinkers of the age, from Galileo Galilei to Giambattista Marino. No longer used merely to remake an object or repeat a process already known, instruments were increasingly seen as tools for open-ended inquiry that would lead to new knowledge. Engaging with themes from the history of science, literature, and the visual arts, this study reveals the intimate connections between instrumental music and the scientific and artisanal tools that served to mediate between individuals and the world around them.