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Stuart Isacoff, a pianist and composer, is founding editor of the magazine Piano Today, Executive Editor of Sheet Music Magazine and a recipient of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music. His numerous articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New Grove Dictionary Of Music In America, Chamber Music, Musical America, Keyboard, Stagebill, Symphony, and Connoisseur. Mr. Isacoff's original musical compositions and instructional books have been published by Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, Associated Music Publishers, Carl Fischer, Music Sales Corp., Warner Bros. and Ekay Music.

Mr. Isacoff's recent appearances as a recitalist and lecturer have included performances at the Verbier Festival & Academy in Verbier Switzerland; the Van Cliburn Piano Institute in Fort Worth, Texas; the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan; the Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation in Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Caramoor Center for the Arts in Katonah, New York.

Believing that most musical boundaries are artificial, Mr. Isacoff performs recitals that combine classical repertoire with jazz improvisation in ways that illustrate bridges between musical works written centuries and continents apart. Of his piano playing, pianist André Watts has said: "Stuart Isacoff's music-making is original and revelatory. Subtle, brilliant use of the instrument combined with a unique musical perspective create performances of uncommon depth. Isacoff reveals his beautiful interior world with every performance."

Stuart Isacoff has been a longtime student of the Chinese art of Tai Chi Chuan, and in recent years has also taken up gymnastics. He has degrees in Philosophy and Music Composition, was a classical piano student of Zenon Fishbein and a jazz piano student of Sir Roland Hanna. Mr. Isacoff has taught at several schools, including Brooklyn College, William Paterson University, and The Verbier Festival and Academy. He lives in Bergen County, New Jersey.

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A fascinating and hugely original book that explains how a vexing technical puzzle was solved, making possible some of the most exquisite music ever written.

From the days of the ancient Greeks, the creation of music was thought to be governed by divine and immutable mathematical certainties. But over time skeptics came to understand that those rules limited harmonic possibilities. In Temperament, we see the traditionalists and the innovators battling across the centuries, engaging great thinkers like Newton, Kepler, and Descartes as well as musicians, craftsmen, church leaders, and heads of state. At the heart of their dispute is the question of how the tones of a musical scale should be selected.

The breakthrough came in the eighteenth century, when the modern keyboard was given perfect musical symmetry through a tuning of equal temperament, each pitch reliably equidistant from the ones that precede and follow it. This tuning allows a musical pattern begun on one note to be duplicated when starting on any other; it creates a musical universe in which the relationships between tones are reliably, uniformly consistent--a universe of greatly expanded possibility, one that allowed Liszt, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, and all those who followed to compose the piano music we listen to today.

Stuart Isacoff relates the story of the reinvention of the piano--a story that encompasses social history, religion, philosophy, and science as well as musicology--in a concise and sparkling narrative. Temperament is a jewel of a book.

"The book's most persuasive weapon is the unquenchable passion of its author. From the opening page, which bids one behold the marvel that is a piano, he embarks on a barnstorming tour of western cultural history that may leave the reader disoriented and breathless, but certainly not bored. . . . This is an immensely entertaining, original and informative book. . . . This reviewer would have like to see deeper consideration of . . . the apparently universal appeal of tempered tuning. But that might be another book. It is ungrateful to complain when a dry, shrivelled topic has been brought to bloom so vividly as this." --The Economist

"Charming... a whirlwind tour of Western culture's big ideas." --The Los Angeles Times

"This lucid, humanist study is as much fun to read as a murder mystery." --The San Jose Mercury News

"A sweeping history of medieval and Renaissance European intellectual achievement, in which the question of tuning... assumes a speaking part." --Time Out New York

"A work of real virtuosity. An exciting musical tour through Western Civilization that reads like a thriller, filled with intrigue, discovery, jealousy, failure and triumph. It's a fabulous exploration of the forces that influenced the wonderful music we hear today." --Andre Watts

"A stimulating, illuminating and entertaining look at a fascinating musical subject." --Charles Rosen