Chapter ID: CBB920974842

The Science of Harmonics and Music Theory in Ancient Greece (2016)

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Music was the subject of much and varied technical discussion in ancient Greece, from the most abstruse to the abstract: the use of instruments, tuning of key scales, settings in tragedy and other forms of poetry, and its role in individual psychology, society and education. The science of harmonics had the more limited ambition of setting out the notes, intervals, and scales (harmoniai and tonoi) of melody, and in particular the precise tunings of the tetrachord in each genus. From early Pythagorean acoustics in the sixth century BCE to Boëthius in the sixth century CE, two basic approaches to music theory developed: the mathematical (Pythagorean) and broadly empirical (Aristoxenian). Later theorists relied heavily on these two streams, combining them with one another. They also often included the number mysticism and cosmology evident in early Pythagorean theorists, employing the significant numbers appearing in musical structures.

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Authors & Contributors
Bellissima, Fabio
Charrak, André
Barker, Andrew D.
Fabbri, Natacha
Kennedy, J. B.
Caleon, Imelda
Journals
Bollettino di Storia delle Scienze Matematiche
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Science and Education
Publishers
J. Vrin
Cambridge University Press
Routledge
Columbia University
Concepts
Music
Harmony (music theory)
Philosophy
Mathematics
Music theory
Pythagoreanism
People
Pythagoras
Ptolemy, Claudius
Mersenne, Marin
Plato
Plutarch
Philo of Alexandria
Places
Greece
Europe
United States
France
Italy
Baghdad (Iraq)
Times
Ancient
Renaissance
Medieval
18th century
Early modern
16th century
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