Athanasius Kircher, S.J. was a German Jesuit scholar and polymath who published around 40 .. The Musurgia Universalis () sets out Kircher’s views on music: he believed that the harmony of music reflected the proportions of the. Musurgia universalis sive ars magna consoni et dissoni in. X. libros digesta. Romae: Ex typographia Haeredum Francisci. Corbelletti, Kircher, Athanasius. German born, Jesuit trained, Athanasius Kircher () survived the varied contemporary musical standing was his Musurgia universalis sire ars magna.

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A closer inspection of the cylinder shows how it works – the perforations allowing poles to slip through, hence opening the pipe above. Once the phrase to be set had been analyzed into its fundamental syllabic units, each of these could be set to an example taken from ,usurgia wand of the appropriate musurtia. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics: RomePapal States. See the Athanasius Kircher on the web site for further biographical details and kirrcher links of interest.

Many writers pretended to have found the key to the hieroglyphics, and many more professed, with a shameless impudence which is hard to understand in these days, to translate the contents of the texts into a modern tongue. According to Joseph MacDonnell, it was “because of Kircher’s work that scientists knew what to look for when interpreting the Rosetta stone”.

Mundus Subterraneus includes mircher pages about the legendary island of Atlantis including a map with the Latin caption “Situs Insulae Atlantidis, a Mari olim absorpte ex mente Egyptiorum et Platonis descriptio. The German publishing house of Olm produced a facsimile edition of it in but it is already out of print.

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The nightingale’s song is given first, followed by those of the cock, the hen laying eggs and calling her chicks, the cuckoo, quail and parrot; the latter says “Hello” in Greek. The canon is properly described as “canoni sopra le vocali di piu parole” “on the vowels of a few words” although in the present case the words ascribed are those of the angelic choirs in the Trishagion – “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus”, as described in Revelation.

Of the plucked instruments displayed here: We do have another work by Kircher, his work on sound theory, which came in with the JD Forbes library.


Ars magna lucis et umbrae in decem libros digesta Mundus subterraneus, quo universae denique naturae divitiae. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

The invention of the magic lantern is often misattributed to Kircher, [3] although he did conduct a study of the principles involved in his Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae. The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change. There is no bookplate or marks of provenance, and very little sign of usage.

Musurgia Universalis (Kircher, Athanasius)

There are many arcas still extant, including one in the Pepys Library of Magdalene College Cambridge. Kircher described the construction of a “catotrophic lamp” that used reflection to project images on the wall of a darkened room. Historian Anthony Grafton has said that “the staggeringly strange dark continent of Kircher’s work [is] the setting for a Borges story that was never written”, while Umberto Eco has written about Kircher in his novel The Island of the Day Beforeas well as in his non-fiction works The Search for the Perfect Language and Serendipities.

He also advocated the theory of spontaneous generation. From his birthplace he took the epithets Bucho, Buchonius and Fuldensis which he sometimes added to his name. Rameau and Beethoven may well have been influenced by this picture which still appears in musical textbooks used in the United Kingdom for year-olds. Views Read Edit View history. The Musurgia Universalis was printed in large numbers about copies printed in and was widely distributed to a curious anecdote: The panel below bears a legend which translates as: The plate shown above to the left depicts ‘The Harmony of the Birth of the World’ Harmonia Nascentis Mundirepresented by a cosmic organ with six registers corresponding to the days of creation.

This book is a case in point. In Phonurgia Novaliterally new methods of sound production, Kircher examined acoustic phenomena. Much of the significance of his work arises from Kircher’s rational approach towards the demystification of projected images. Much of Musurgia is dedicated to a survey of contemporary music, including the first published mention of the baroque ‘doctrine of the affections’ in which music is ideally analogous to human emotions.

His geological and geographical investigations culminated in his Mundus Subterraneus ofin which he suggested that the tides were caused by water moving to and from a subterranean ocean.

Under the Trinity we find the nine angelic, four-voice choirs, singing a part canon by Romano Micheli. Athanasius Kircher in Bibliodissey. His syncretic approach disregarded the boundaries between disciplines which are now conventional: Kircher’s work in geology included studies of volcanoes and fossils. Kircher analyzed the dimensions of the Ark; based on the number of species known to him excluding insects and other forms thought to arise spontaneouslyhe calculated that overcrowding would not have been a problem.


Kircher has been compared to fellow Jesuit Roger Boscovich and to Leonardo da Vinci for his enormous range of interests, and has been honored with the title “Master of a Hundred Arts”.

Athanasius Kircher SJ – ‘Musurgia Universalis’, – SOCKS

The triangle at the top is the symbol of the Holy Trinity and sheds its rays over the whole of the top of the picture. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The two illustrations above show his findings of voice and musical echo in a galleried space versus a round space, and where best to place a singer or performer in such spaces. A Man of Misconceptions: Kircher stressed that exhibitors should take great care to inform spectators that such images were purely naturalistic, and not magical in origin.

Post was not sent – check your email addresses! Archived from the original PDF on October 18, One of the first people to observe microbes through a microscopeKircher was ahead of his time muskrgia proposing that the plague was caused by an infectious microorganism and in suggesting effective measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Each type of wand corresponded to a particular metrical unit e. Kircher professes the Boethian concept of musical harmonies’ mathematical correspondences within the body, the heavens, and the natural univerwalis, and concludes with a discussion of the unheard music of the kirchdr angelic choirs and the Holy Trinity.

In his Scrutinium Pestis ofhe noted the presence of “little worms” or ” animalcules ” in the blood and concluded that the disease was caused by microorganisms. Previously such images had been used in Europe to mimic supernatural appearances Kircher himself cites the use of displayed images by the rabbis in the court of King Solomon.