KIRCHER, Athanasius (1602-1680). Musurgia universalis: sive Ars magna consoni et dissoni. Rome: heirs of Francisco Corbelletti, 1650.
2 volumes in one, 2° (334 x 210mm). Engraved frontispiece, portrait of archduke Leopold, both after J.P. Schor, and 21 plates numbered to 23, 4 folding. Numerous woodcut illustrations, three full-page. Errata leaf at end of vol. II. (Several plates browned, the larger folding plate with short tear, a few illustrations slightly cropped, occasional browning of text, Eee2, Mmm1 in vol. I and V3 in vol. II holed with slight loss of text, Llll2-3 in vol. I with piece torn from upper margin slightly affecting first headline, a few other leaves a little torn and frayed at margins.) Contemporary vellum with blind-stamped central lozenge, ms title on spine (a little soiled and scuffed, ties lacking). Provenance: early note in Dutch on front free endpaper -- T. Kytkh (signature in red on first title and on verso of final leaf).
FIRST EDITION of Kircher's encylopedia of music, written at the time of transition from the old Renaissance polyphony to the new baroque style, and discussing inventions of his own such as the talking statue, the megaphone, and numerous mechanical music-makers, including the arca musaarithmica or composing computer. The book was enduringly popular, Samuel Pepys recording in his diary, 22 February 1688, 'Up, and by coach through ducke lane; and there did buy Kircher's Musurgia, cost me 35s, a book I am mighty glad of, expecting to find great satisfaction in it' Brunet III, 668; Caillet II, 363/5785; De Backer I, 424.8; Merrill 8; Sommervogel IV, 1051.11.