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Greek Reflections on the Nature of Music

$26.00 ( ) USD

  • Date Published: July 2009
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511537080

$ 26.00 USD ( )
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About the Authors
  • In this book, Flora Levin explores how and why music was so important to the ancient Greeks. She examines the distinctions that they drew between the theory of music as an art ruled by number and the theory wherein number is held to be ruled by the art of music. These perspectives generated more expansive theories, particularly the idea that the cosmos is a mirror-image of music’s structural elements and, conversely, that music by virtue of its cosmic elements – time, motion, and the continuum – is itself a mirror-image of the cosmos. These opposing perspectives gave rise to two opposing schools of thought, the Pythagorean and the Aristoxenian. Levin argues that the clash between these two schools could never be reconciled because the inherent conflict arises from two different worlds of mathematics. Her book shows how the Greeks’ appreciation of the profundity of music’s interconnections with philosophy, mathematics, and logic led to groundbreaking intellectual achievements that no civilization has ever matched.

    • Proposes that Aristoxenus anticipated the mathematical theories of the great German mathematicians of the 19th century
    • Discovers similarities between the ancient musicians and the modern philosophers and musicians
    • Proposes a date for Ptolomais of Cyrene between Ptolemy I Soter and Ptolemy II Philadelphus (c.250 BC)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Sadly, Flora Levin passed away; her death deprives the field of ancient music and music theory of an original and deep thinker. This volume offers provocative interpretations of Aristoxenian music theory while providing a context in modern mathematics, philosophy, and musicology for the Aristoxenian and other schools of ancient music theory. Levin had the ability to make intellectual history seem an adventure and wrote this book to be both accessible and of interest to non-specialists." --BMCR

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2009
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511537080
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. All deep things are song
    2. We are all Aristoxenians
    3. The discrete and the continuous
    4. Magnitudes and multitudes
    5. The topology of melody
    6. Aristoxenus of Tarentum and Ptolemaïs of Cyrene
    7. Aisthēsis and Logos: a single continent
    8. The infinite and the infinitesimal.

  • Author

    Flora R. Levin
    Flora Levin is an independent scholar of the classical world. She is the author of two monographs on Nicomachus of Gerasa and has contributed to TAPA, Hermes and The New Grove Dictionary of Music.

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