The Monochord in Ancient Greek Harmonic Science

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 10, 2010 - History - 409 pages
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Among the many instruments devised by students of mathematical sciences in ancient Greece, the monochord provides one of the best opportunities to examine the methodologies of those who employed it in their investigations. Consisting of a single string which could be divided at measured points by means of movable bridges, it was used to demonstrate theorems about the arithmetical relationships between pitched sounds in music. This book traces the history of the monochord and its multiple uses down to Ptolemy, bringing together all the relevant evidence in one comprehensive study. By comparing the monochord with a number of other ancient scientific instruments and their uses, David Creese shows how the investigation of music in ancient Greece not only shares in the patterns of demonstrative and argumentative instrument use common to other sciences, but also goes beyond them in offering the possibility of a rigorous empiricism unparalleled in Greek science.
  

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Contents

The Geometry of Sound
1
The role of instruments and diagrams in greek harmonic science
22
2 Mathematical harmonics before the monochord
81
3 The monochord in context
131
4 Eratosthenes
178
5 Canonic theory
210
6 Ptolems canonics
283
Conclusion
356
Bibliography
360
Index Locorum
374
General Index
388
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About the author (2010)

David Creese is Assistant Professor of Greek and Latin Literature at the University of British Columbia.

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