Dane Rudhyar

Dane Rudhyar

His Music, Thought, and Art

Deniz Ertan


University of Rochester Press



The first full-length study of a remarkable composer, writer, painter, and expert on astrology, based on Rudhyar's personal archives.
Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985) was a unique figure in twentieth-century American culture: a composer, thinker, painter, poet, novelist, and expert on astrology. His thought and work transcended disciplinary boundaries, integrating perspectives that were, and often still are, generally pursued in isolation from each other.
Rudhyar's musical compositions -- such as the remarkable Three Paeans for piano -- were often described at the time as ultramodern and deeply philosophical. Noted music critic Nicolas Slonimsky described Rudhyar's music as "searching and challenging . . . the explanation of a puzzle of human existence."
Rudhyar's sometimes startling paintings and his brilliantly articulate prose writings on a variety of subjects reached outward to pre-Renaissance and non-Western traditions. Novelist Henry Miller praised Rudhyar's ability "to show the relation between the parts, and finally to relate the parts to the whole. . . . He is so many things precisely because his sight is always focused on the central core, on the source from which all flows."
Dane Rudhyar: His Music, Thought, and Art is the first full-length study of this remarkable polymath and citizen of the world and universe. The book is enriched with numerous color illustrations of Rudhyar's paintings and with examples drawn from his music and writings.

Deniz Ertan has taught at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781580467209), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


January 2009
16 colour, 2 black and white, 14 line illustrations
323 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580462877
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS050000
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Table of Contents

Earliest Influences
Aesthetic Origins
Approaches to Contemporary Aesthetics
Philosophical and Psychological Outlook
Aesthetic Principles
Toward Artistic Practice
Beginnings and Branchings
New World


A sophisticated interplay between diverse philosophies and aesthetics works together with musical analyses to present a complex portrait. . . . Ertan systematically teases out what the "Orient" meant for Rudhyar, showing how he found integration or "wholeness," as he put it, in Asian and Indian arts and religious practices.. . . Ertan draws meaningful lines of influence between Rudhyar and composers from Ruth Crawford Seeger to Edgard Varèse to Carl Ruggles. . . . Persuasively resituates Rudhyar in twentieth-century musical thought. . . . Deniz Ertan's great gift is to bring [Rudhyar] back into the light in one totality, so his achievements in music, astrology, painting, and writing can be seen within the unity of a single-minded aesthetic and philosophical approach. AMERICAN MUSIC [S. Andrew Granade]

An intriguing portrait. . . . Rudhyar was a true pioneer in the western undestanding of [non-Western] musics. . . . We must . . . be thankful for scholars like Ertan who . . . devotes her skills to excavating a neglected figure and sympathetically urging his claims. MUSICAL TIMES [Kevin O'Connell]

Thoroughly researched and richly presented. . . . Fills a gap in the history of 20th-century music and culture. Rudhyar exemplifies a creative urge of his time to question the status quo. BOOK NEWS

It takes a special breadth, expertise, and sympathy to do justice to Dane Rudhyar, whose heart was in music but who earned his living writing about astrology. Deniz Ertan is fully equal to the task. Her book is part musicology, part cultural history, and part deep insight into the most enigmatic of the "ultramodernist" composers. --Joscelyn Godwin, author of The Golden Thread: The Ageless Wisdom of the Western Mystery Traditions

Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Kokoschka, Arnold Schoenberg, Luigi Russolo, John Cage -- five remarkable individuals who "chose to explore more than one artistic medium for their creative outlets, although they became innovators fundamentally in their own main fields." To this polymathic pantheon, Deniz Ertan in this book argues persuasively for the addition of another -- albeit rather less familiar -- name: that of Dane Rudhyar, poet and painter, philosopher and aesthetician, novelist and visionary thinker, astrologer and -- above all -- composer. --David Nicholls, contributing editor of Cambridge History of American Music

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