[Smt-talk] Symmetry and Musical Aesthetics

Laurel Parsons laureljparsons at gmail.com
Thu Dec 9 10:55:28 PST 2010

Dear colleagues,

An upper-level undergraduate student at our liberal arts and sciences
university is embarking on a long-term interdisciplinary study of the
relationship between symmetry and beauty.  She is an accomplished violinist,
but is not a music major and has no post-tonal theory background as yet;
however, she is both well-versed and interested in calculus, statistics, and
other mathematical forms so could pick it up fairly easily. While there are
hundreds of scholarly articles on various kinds of compositional symmetry in
the music of Western composers to which I could refer her, I'm wondering if
anyone can recommend:

1) a good historical overview of how symmetry has been used in Western
music, and/or
2) scholarly writing that addresses the *aesthetics* of musical symmetry
rather than (")simply(") the compositional mechanics of its usage in the
works of specific composers.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,
Laurel Parsons

Laurel Parsons, Ph.D.
Co-ordinator, Humanities Division
Quest University Canada
3200 University Blvd.
Squamish, BC
VB8 0N8
laurel.parsons at questu.ca
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