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Ancient Greek Music
A New Technical History


  • Date Published: June 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316610893

£ 41.99

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About the Authors
  • This book endeavours to pinpoint the relations between musical, and especially instrumental, practice and the evolving conceptions of pitch systems. It traces the development of ancient melodic notation from reconstructed origins, through various adaptations necessitated by changing musical styles and newly invented instruments, to its final canonical form. It thus emerges how closely ancient harmonic theory depended on the culturally dominant instruments, the lyre and the aulos. These threads are followed down to late antiquity, when details recorded by Ptolemy permit an exceptionally clear view. Dr Hagel discusses the textual and pictorial evidence, introducing mathematical approaches wherever feasible, but also contributes to the interpretation of instruments in the archaeological record and occasionally is able to outline the general features of instruments not directly attested. The book will be indispensable to all those interested in Greek music, technology and performance culture and the general history of musicology.

    • Offers a fundamental reworking of the development of ancient Greek musical notation and harmonic theory
    • Presents new insights into the instruments and practical aspects of performance in ancient Greece
    • Gives a completely new perspective on the relations between musical theory and practice
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a stunning achievement, and when scholars have had time to absorb its contents the study of Greek music and musical theory will never be the same again … Its innovative, complex and multi-faceted methodology may be beyond what most others can hope to emulate at this level of sophistication, but once they have seen it in action no one will have any excuse for neglecting its potential, and we shall all have to absorb from it what lessons we can. In short, I believe that Hagel's book will revolutionise the discipline.' Andrew Barker, University of Birmingham

    'I have no hesitation in pronouncing it a work of the highest originality and importance which future investigators will acknowledge as a landmark in the field.' Martin West, University of Oxford

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316610893
    • length: 506 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 155 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.74kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The evolution of ancient Greek musical notation
    2. Notation, instruments and the voice
    3. Notation in the handbooks
    4. Strings and notes
    5. Fine tuning
    6. Going beyond Ptolemy?
    7. Assisted resonance
    8. The extant musical documents
    9. Aulos types and pitches
    10. Before Aristoxenus
    11. Synthesis

  • Author

    Stefan Hagel, Austrian Academy of Sciences
    Stefan Hagel is currently engaged in research on ancient music at the Kommission für Antike Literatur of the Ősterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. His interests focus on ancient Greek music and metre, including reconstructions of ancient instruments and performance techniques. He also creates dedicated software for scholarly purposes and his Classical Text Editor received the European Academic Software Award. Previous books include: Modulation in altgriechischer Musik. Antike Melodien im Licht antiker Musiktheorie (2000) and Repertorium der westkilikischen Inschriften (with K. Tomaschitz, 1998).

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