Greek and Latin Music Theory
Title Details

236 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

15 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Greek and Latin Music Theory

Principles and Challenges

by Edward Nowacki

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
A long-needed overview of, and guide to, the principles behind the treatises on music theory written in ancient Greece and Rome and continuing through the Middle Ages.
Long recognized as a foundation of musical composition, criticism, pedagogy, and appreciation, the literature of ancient and medieval music theory has maintained its strong position in the academic curriculum up to the present day. Now blessed with fine English translations of many of the ancient and medieval authors, modern students of music theory have advantages that their predecessors lacked just a few generations ago. Yet the ancient writings by themselves do not yield to easy comprehension. They need expository help. In this collection of fifteen topical essays, the author offers a contribution to that educational goal. Covering a dense theoretical literature from the classical period of ancient Greece to the sixteenth century of the Common Era, these essays present a detailed examination of subjects of concern not only to specialists in the history of theory, but to scholars of the general history ofancient Greek music and the liturgical plainchant of the medieval West.

More than just a collection of specialized studies or a syllabus of obligatory learning, these essays present a persistent reflection on the timelessness of theoretical questions that engaged our musical forebears and that still engage us today. The author's approach is perennialist. It teaches us things about our musical heritage that never go away.
Introduction
Part I: The Ancient Greek Tradition in Practice and Theory
The Ancient Harmoniai
The Tonoi
Alypian Notation
Part II: Mathematical Foundations
Pythagorean Harmonic Ratios from the Octave to the Comma by Continuous Subtraction
Boethius's Error in the De institutione musica 4.6
Aristoxenus's Proof That the Perfect Fourth Is the Sum of Two Tones and a Semitone
Aristoxenus's Anticipation of the Logarithmic Logic of Musical Cognition
The Three Mathematical Means in the Theories of Euclid, Boethius, Glarean, and Zarlino
Guido and the Monochord
Part III: Emerging Theories of the Ecclesiastical Modes
Transposition and the Doctrine of Modal Affinity
The Misunderstood Confinalis
Reading the First Quidam of the Alia musica
The Prologus in tonarium of Bern of Reichenau: A Translation
Reading Hermannus
Idealist and Empirical Perspectives in Theories of the Ecclesiastical Modes
Glossary of Terms
Notes
Bibliography
Index

EDWARD NOWACKI is Professor Emeritus of musicology at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.

Hardcover

9781580469951

June 2020

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9781787449169

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Title Details

236 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

15 line. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press