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346 Books not only traditional instruments but also new scientific and mechanical instruments including computers and synthesizers. Acoustical design is dealt with in the chapter, On the Way to the Ear, as well as the recording and transmitting of music. When one reaches the chapter on The End of the Journey, there are still some surprises in store for readers. Under the heading of Can You Believe Your Ears? one learns that there are aural illusions comparable to visual illusions. For example, the brain will happily supply the missing low frequencies in listening to music from a transistor radio and will smooth over chopped-up speech recorded at a fast speed by supplying the missing bits in order to make an intelligible flow. The route of sounds from instruments to ears is complex and variable but one's mind is something like detectives making use of any clues they can pick up about something as well as information stored within their memory and experience, so that one can make good sense of sounds received. The book is profusely illustrated, and there are several informative appendices; one has ample opportunity to examine many different shapes of wave patterns traced by the oscilloscope. Taylor knows his subject well, and the material presented should be of interest not only to students of physics but to practising musicians, to music teachers and to those interested in making audio-visual artworks. Architectural Symbolism of Imperial Rome and the Middle Ages. E. Baldwin Smith. Hacker Art Books, New York, 1978. (Reissue of 1956 Ed.) 239 pp., illus. $40.00. Reviewed by Peter Fingesten* It is amazing to what degree the ancients expressed their interpretations of the divine power of kings in architectural details, which most people take for granted. Architects not only made visible to society symbolic ideas but they also preserved them in stone. Thus, each temple and church and parts of palaces contain contributions to a dictionary of signs and symbols. This book is a by-product of Smith's earlier, now classic, book, The Dome (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1950), for it deals with further ramifications of the dome, the cupola and the arch in connection with authority and the architectural proclamation of divine kingship. In short, in his 1950 more fundamental study, he researched the celestial symbolism as well as origins of the dome, while in his 1956 one (published posthumously) he concentrated on its signification of wordly power. Sheer power, not just in the aesthetic sense, is at the roots of many architectural features. Many Gothic churches, for instance , have a fortress-like, towered west facade, looking more like a castle than a church. It proclaims the ascendancy of royal over spiritual power. One of the best examples of this is the well-known Abbey Church of St. Denis outside of Paris. The west portal of Chartres Cathedral in France, called the 'royal porch', alludes both to secular as well as spiritual kingship. Temples and churches have elements borrowed from royal palaces and vice-versa. The interrelation of these two powers, not only in their spiritual but also in their political aspects, had fateful consequences to society. Smith enlarges upon the ceremonial aspects of city gates and triumphal arches, which became, in popular imagination, the 'pearly gates' to Heavenly Jerusalem, as St.Augustine called the Christian Heaven. Even though this study is somewhat pedantic and the wringing-out of a subject dear to its author, it will benefit students of symbolism who are as yet not acquainted with architectural symbolism. It will be of less use to visual artists and art teachers, mainly because the illustrations are very small and esoteric (coins, old drawings and ground plans). The book would have been much enhanced by the generous use of large and clear photographs of relevant details. In my view, its best place is in art historical sections of libraries. *145East 26th sr., Apt. 5C, New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. BOOKS RECEIVED Alien Landscapes. Robert Holdstock and Malcolm Edwards. Mayflower, New York, 1979. 116 pp., illus. Paper $9.95. The Ambidexterous Universe: Mirror Asymmetry and Time-Revealed Worlds. 2nd Ed., revised and updated. Martin Gardner. John Mackey, illus. Charles Scribner...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 346
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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