Science and Music
The idea of harmony was a key concept of Western philosophy and involved cosmological, socio-political, and medical-physiological issues.
The prolific relationship between science and music permeated the studies of many philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, and theologians that marked the beginning of modern science, such as Kepler, Mersenne, Galileo, Descartes, Kircher, and Newton. The idea of music, which embraced both the science of sounds and research on the concept of harmony (i.e. discordia concors), played a pivotal role in the macrocosm-microcosm correspondence, in astronomical and astrological topics, in the analysis of cosmological models, in metaphysical and theological discussions, as well as in the debates arose around different forms of musical temperaments, the birth of acoustics, the design of sonorous machines, and the survey on natural phenomena.
In May 2022, the Museo Galileo hosted Musical Orbits, four concerts organized in collaboration with the Department of Theory, Analysis, Composition and Direction of the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music of Florence and aimed at celebrating the dialogue between music and science.
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Vincenzo Galilei’s birth (Santa Maria a Monte 1520? – Florence 1591), this homage aims to create an unprecedented dialogue between Vincenzo’s music, the scientific instruments of his famous son Galileo as well as the instruments of the Medici collection housed in the Museo Galileo.
The video The Harmony of the Spheres provides an overview of the concept of celestial harmony from antiquity to the modern era, sketching out the medieval and renaissance tradition, the medical and hermetical approach, as well as the rational planetary concert of Johannes Kepler’s astronomy.