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Science de la nature et théorie musicale chez Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637)

Frédéric de Buzon
Revue d'histoire des sciences
Vol. 38, No. 2 (AVRIL-JUIN 1985), pp. 97-120
Published by: Armand Colin
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23632510
Page Count: 24
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Science de la nature et théorie musicale chez Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637)
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Abstract

L'élaboration des fondements de la théorie musicale fut l'un des principaux centres d'intérêt d'Isaac Beeckman. Les notes qu'il a recueillies à ce propos dans son Journal concernent deux domaines de la science physique : le problème de la vibration des corps sonores, les cordes notamment, associé à la question de la bonté des consonances, et d'autre part la théorie de la nature corpusculaire du son. Le premier aspect conduit à une remarquable démonstration géométrique de la fréquence du tremblement des cordes, mais semble devoir entraîner une conception ondulatoire de la transmission sonore. Le second aspect exclut précisément une telle position, et Beeckman affirme sans ambiguïté le transport des particules d'air de la bouche parlante jusqu'à l'oreille. La difficulté est alors de tenter une conciliation des deux thèses en une théorie non contradictoire des flux aériens. The elaboration of the bases of musical theory was one of the main interests of Isaac Beeckman. The notes in his diary concern two fields of physics : the problem of the vibration of musical bodies, especially strings, associated with the question of the quality of consonances, and the theory of the corpuscular nature of sound. The first aspect led to a remarkable geometric demonstration of the frequency of string vibration, but would seem to have obligatorily led to a waveform conception of sound transmission. The second aspect precisely excluded such a position, and Beeckman unambiguously affirmed the transport of air particles from the speaking mouth to the listening ear. The difficulty here is to attempt to reconcile these two theses into a noncontradictory theory of air fluxes.

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