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The Monochord in Ancient Greek Harmonic Science

$121.00

Part of Cambridge Classical Studies

  • Date Published: July 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521843249

$121.00
Hardback

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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.

    • Up-to-date and comprehensive account of our knowledge of the monochord
    • Demonstrates the value of studying ancient Greek music for our understanding of ancient Greek science in general
    • Includes many diagrams and tables to help the reader follow the mathematical and harmonic arguments
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The results achieved by this book go well beyond those suggested by the title... . Despite the complexity of the topic, the text is well written. It makes an important contribution not only to current scholarship on Greek musical theory...but also to the study of ancient Greek science in general." --BMCR

    All this is not to detract from the fact that David Creese has filled an important gap in the studies of ancient Greek music in a masterful way, in a book that enriches the libraries of everybody interested in this particular field of study, philologist or music historian, as well as in the development of scientific though in general."
    -- Stefan Hagel, Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521843249
    • length: 426 pages
    • dimensions: 224 x 145 x 32 mm
    • weight: 0.71kg
    • contains: 26 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    Introduction: The geometry of sound
    1. Hearing numbers, seeing sounds: the role of instruments and diagrams in Greek harmonic science
    2. Mathematical harmonics before the monochord
    3. The monochord in context
    4. Eratosthenes
    5. Canonic theory
    6. Ptolemy's canonics
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

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

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