Ancient Greek music: a new technical history

TitleAncient Greek music: a new technical history
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHagel, S
Number of Pagesxix + 484 pp.
PublisherCambridge University Press

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. []


Early Music History 2010 29: 325-344 Leofranc Holford-Strevens; Ancient History Bulletin Online Reviews 2011 1: 59-63 Liana Lomiento; JHS 2011 131: 228-229 John Curtis Franklin; Aestimatio 2012 9: 124-170 Alison Laywine

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