The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

Sterling Memorial
Manuscripts & Archives
Kline Sciences
Medical Historical
Exhibit Map

Cycles in Science and Cycles in Music

In these four cases I entertain the notion that cycles in science are related to cycles in music. This idea came to me in during work on Sergei Vinogradskii, who trained as a musician and continued to play music throughout his long life (1856-1953) and scientific career (six decades). In 1896, Vinogradskii gave a popular talk at the Institute of Experimental Medicine in St. Petersburg, Russia. At this medical institute he directed the laboratory of general microbiology and investigated the role of microbes in soil processes such as nitrification, which are important to agriculture. In his talk, entitled "On the Role of Microbes in the General Cycle of Life," he revealed his commitment to a worldview in which microbes were the "agents" that drove the circulation of matter and energy in nature from the atmosphere, to plants, to animals, and back again into the atmosphere. This is a variation on a much older concept of the economy of nature from the seventeenth century, and the ancient theological idea of Resurrection or "from earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." There is no evidence that Vinogradskii explicitly correlated the microbial "cycle of life" with "song cycles," but, in his daily routine and mentality, music and science were woven tightly woven together.

One Large Case in 4 Parts

A. Sergei Vinogradskii (1856-1953)
B. Theodor Leshitizky (1930-1915
  Malwine Brée, The Groundwork of the Leschetizky Method (1969)
  Burkhard Muth, Theodor Leschetizky (2003)
  Comtesse Angèle Potocka, Theodore Leschetizky (1903)
  The Thomas de Hartmann Papers
C. Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
  Lorraine Byrne, Schubert's Goethe Setting (2003)
D. Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377)
  David Hahn, "Numerical Composition" (1993)
  Elizabeth Leach, Machaut's Music (2003)
Lloyd Ackert
Whitney Humanities Center
Yale University
53 Wall Street
P.O. Box 208298
New Haven, CT 06520
Office: (203).432.3112

The Music library is located in the Sterling Memorial Library to the right of the circulation desk:

Music Library
Yale University Library
120 High Street
PO Box 208240
New Haven, CT 06520-8240 USA
Phone: (203) 432-0492 FAX: (203) 432-7339