"Musical Poetics" by Joachim Burmeister

Musical Poetics Joachim Burmeister

Music Theory Translation Series
Publication date:
28 Jul 1993
Yale University Press
336 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:


Joachim Burmeister's early seventeenth-century treatise on the making of music is generally acknowledged to be central to the understanding of Baroque musical practice: it was the first systematically to explore the connection between rhetoric and music that became a cornerstone of Baroque musical thought. But until now neither a reliable modern edition nor a full translation of this seminal work has existed. This much-needed edition by Benito V. Rivera contains a critical transcription of the Latin text and an annotated translation on facing pages.

In a lengthy introduction to the book, Rivera reviews Burmeister's two earlier treatises on musical composition, analyzes Musical Poetics as a whole, and places it within its historical context. An appendix to the edition reproduces the passages of music cited by Burmeister, greatly facilitating the interpretation of Burmeister's explanations of the rhetorical figures. The book will be of interest to music historians and theorists as well as to scholars of rhetoric.

"The period between 1558 and 1708, [was] a critical period in music history during which rhetorical thought and language permeated musical discourse. And in attempting to trace and understand this rhetorical transformation, there is no more pivotal theoretical work than Burmeister's. . . . Rivera's informative introduction, careful edition, and clear translation will certainly illumine Burmeister's critical role in the history of music theory, and stimulate further work in the relatively uncharted waters of seventeenth-century music theory."?Blake McD. Wilson, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Rivera has provided a most useful rendering of Musical Poetics. . . . This translation makes a welcome addition and maintains admirably the standards of the Yale Music Theory Translation Series."?Cristle Collins Judd, Notes