Ptolemy, pipes and shepherds

TitlePtolemy, pipes and shepherds
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGarcía Pérez, AS
EditorNika-Sampson, E, Sakallieros, G, Alexandru, M, Kitsios, G, Giannopoulos, E
Ancient AuthorsClaudius Ptolemaeus Math. (TLG 0363), Aristoxenus Mus. (TLG 0088)
Book TitleCrossroads: Greece as an intercultural pole of musical thought and creativity

The diatonon homalonis one of Ptolemy’s tetrachordal divisions. Due to its mathematical
properties and to the special treatment it deserves in Ptolemy’s treatise, it has looked to many scholars just like an arithmetic speculation of the author. It has been related, by others, to some older descriptions of actual musicaltunings, to be found, for example, in the writtings of Aristoxenus. But Ptolemy himself makes remarks about it that may show he actually heard it in existent musical practice. In this paper we will discuss all previous theories about the origin of Ptolemy’s diatonon homalon, and we will present a new hypothesis that would connect it with real musical praxis. As we will show, this tuning system could be related to tuning schemas used nowadays in Iberian traditional three‐hole pipes. This connection can help us to better understand the real place of the diatonon homalonin Ptolemy’s treatise and in the music of his time. [Amaya Sara García Pérez, p. 357]


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