Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time

Bellevue Literary. Mar. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9781942658979. pap. $17.99. MUSIC
Violinist Hodges delves into the intersection of music and time, alternating personal narratives about her journey to become a serious classical musician with explorations of the minutiae of quantum physics, notions of entrainment and temporality, and brain wave experiments performed on pianist-improviser Gabriela Montero. Hodges’s frustrations while learning violin pieces and trying to please her parents and teachers will resonate with both amateur and professional musicians. For her technical discourses, she cites luminaries such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman and sustains her arguments with recent and historical references, as evidenced in the thorough chapter bibliographies. Hodges is at her best when she opens up about her mother’s experiences as a Korean immigrant in Denver and her own struggles with performance anxiety and the challenges of mastering violin warhorses by Johann Sebastian Bach and Niccolo Paganini; these poignant chapters will leave readers emotionally drained but richly rewarded. However, the fascinating science lessons will engage the more scientifically motivated but may prove heavy going for those without the requisite background.
VERDICT In all, this title makes a valuable contribution to the ever-expanding universe of works addressing science and music, two seemingly disparate fields that have surprisingly much in common.
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