I'm not new to the musical world, and for quite a bit of time I've been wondering on all the reasons that are behind our usual way of understanding music (7-note diatonic scale, 12-note chromatic scale, development and construction of scales, concepts of consonance and dissonance, harmony, tunings and costructions of instruments): I am really curious and willing to deeply study the historical developments of such problems, with also particular desire to deepen their mathematical and physical aspects.
But now my question is: where, and how, should I start learning?
It's been a long time since I've been seeking for information on the Internet, and I even managed to found lots of very interesting things, but what I have now is a set of disjoint, incomplete and sometimes even contradictory answers.
Instead, do you have in mind some good books about all that stuff? I know there are huge 1000-pages tomes about Western art music history, but I guess they contain much more than what I'd need (e.g. Biographies on composers, deep philosophical discussions, or simply just deepenings of musical examples of every particular period); and I also think books specifically related to Harmony won't cover neither the development of Harmony (and that of music, generally speaking) nor the minimum space of philosofical argument needed, for example, to determinine the role that consonance and dissonance had in history.
In short, I'd like having a comprehensive book about history, mathematics and physics, melody, harmony and, ultimately, philosophy of music. All starting from the basic questions: "What is a note?" "How was it created its concept?" "How men arrived to the construction of musical scales?", and, finally, "How did the concept of music, melody, and harmony changed throughout history?"
I hope not to seem too vague and abstract, but these questions have been oppressing me for a long time, even before trying to compose a single line of music.