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The Science of Harmonics in Classical Greece

$63.99 (C)

  • Date Published: June 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521289955

$ 63.99 (C)
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  • The ancient science of harmonics investigates the arrangements of pitched sounds which form the basis of musical melody, and the principles which govern them. It was the most important branch of Greek musical theory, studied by philosophers, mathematicians and astronomers as well as by musical specialists. This 2007 book examines its development during the period when its central ideas and rival schools of thought were established, laying the foundations for the speculations of later antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It concentrates particularly on the theorists' methods and purposes and the controversies that their various approaches to the subject provoked. It also seeks to locate the discipline within the broader cultural environment of the period; and it investigates, sometimes with surprising results, the ways in which the theorists' work draws on and in some cases influences that of philosophers and other intellectuals.

    • Proposes alternative interpretations of important texts
    • Relates the musical theorists' work to that of philosophers and other intellectuals
    • Written by a world-renowned authority in the field
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Barker has written an important book for anyone interested in ancient Greek music theory and its relationship with other intellectual activities of the time, such as philosophy and the empirical or mathematical sciences...This is a densely argued work with many detailed discussions of technical sources. It is unlikely that any scholar will agree with all of Barker's readings, but we should be grateful to him for laying out his own readings with such care, and in the process, shedding light on many difficult passages. " --BCMR

    "...this is a very significant book, a highly original contribution to a very problematic field, and an essential starting point for further research into classical Greek writings on music theory."
    NECJ, James Grier, University of Western Ontario

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521289955
    • length: 494 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Preliminaries: Introduction
    1. Beginnings, and the problem of measurement
    Part II. Empirical Harmonics:
    2. Empirical harmonics before Aristoxenus
    3. The early empiricists in their cultural and intellectual contexts
    4. Interlude on Aristotle's account of a science and its methods
    5. Aristoxenus: the composition of the Elementa harmonica
    6. Aristoxenus: concepts and methods in Elementa harmonica Book 1
    7. Elementa harmonica Books 2-3: the science reconsidered
    8. Elementa harmonica Book 3 and its missing sequel
    9. Contexts and purposes of Aristoxenus' harmonics
    Part III. Mathematical Harmonics:
    10. Pythagorean harmonics in the fifth century: Philolaus
    11. Developments in Pythagorean harmonics: Archytas
    12. Plato
    13. Aristotle on the harmonic sciences
    14. Systematising mathematical harmonics: the Sectio canonis
    15. Quantification under attack: Theophrastus' critique
    Postscript: The later centuries.

  • Author

    Andrew Barker, University of Birmingham

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