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Music And Magnetism, From Abu Ma'shar To Kircher

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the attractive power of music and magnetism discussed in Adelard of Baths On the Same and the Different and his account on musics effects on human beings and animals. It would seem natural to see the attractiveness of music and of the magnet as two aspects of the same natural phenomenon. The starting point of this analysis is the Great Introduction to Astrology of the medieval Arabic scientist Abu Mashar. It is in this context that he mentions both the magnet and music. The relevant sections consist of two paragraphs, which follow one another, but are not entirely consistent with each other. The same question is then analyzed in the works of the Roman baroque polymath Athanasius Kircher and leads to a reflection on the power of music as a medicine. Kircher then describes the different melodies that are used for different kinds of poison.

Keywords: Abu Mashar; Athanasius Kircher; magnetism; music



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