François-Bernard Mâche

The Unity of Music Publication date : September 1, 2001

What do various types of music, spanning time and cultures, have in common? Can one identify analogous forms of sound in music of diverse origins? Do there exist common principles of organization that operate in divers cultural contexts? What, then, are these dynamic universal schema?
In this essay, composed of 24 variations on the theme of the universal (the 24 titles that make up the book treat such various subjects as innate music, fixed forms, music and language, animal polyphony, the refrain, etc.), François-Bernard Mâche attempts to define what constitutes the musicality of music. He shows, in particular, that a musical piece is a natural piece, so natural that it can be seen in the animal world. One therefor better understands how man can experience intense emotions through listening and making sounds. One better understands that if the animal, like man, experiences a specific pleasure in playing with sounds, music can be considered as a sort of testing ground for the distinction between nature and human culture.

Composer of international renown, François-Bernard Mâche is also a musicologist. He has written several works including Un demi-siècle de musique, et toujours contemporaine and Musique, mythe, nature ou les dauphins d’Arion.