Item description for Ptolemy Harmonics: Translation and Commentary (Mnemosyne, Bibliotheca Classica Batava Supplementum) by Jon Solomon...
Ptolemy's comprehensive treatises on astronomy and geography were influential for nearly two millennia. Equally influential was his treatise on harmonics, the ancient science which combined and brought to completion the study of philosophy and science. This volume offers a comprehensive English translation and commentary of Ptolemy's "Harmonics". The treatise begins with Ptolemy's study of pitches and intervals, for which he extracts both an idealized musical scale and a new acoustical tool. After discussing modulation, he expands his horizons by applying musical intervals to the human soul and celestial bodies, ultimately describing a cosmic harmony. The English translation seeks to reproduce Ptolemy's style faithfully and includes all the charts surviving in the manuscript tradition. The commentary offers a full exegesis of the text, loci paralleli, and citations of modern scholarly sources.
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More About Jon Solomon
Jon Solomon is Robert D. Novak Professor of Western Civilization and Culture and Professor of the Classics and of Cinema Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jon Solomon currently resides in the state of Arizona. Jon Solomon was born in 1950.
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Ptolemy Harmonics Nov 19, 2009
Harmonics is not the science of music, and it is not the ability of the human ear to hear harmonics. Harmonics is a function of nature that allows humans to perceive, accept, digest, feel, emote, intuit, study, compute, hypothesize, and theorize the differences between highness and lowness in sounds, whether they are heard (or hearable) or not. Perception functions to differentiate things, among them sounds, and of sounds by how much they differ in highness and lowness, this highness being anywhere within the edge of the then-known, (by today's standard) microscopic universe at the end of Saturn's nested shell, the lowness being perhaps the 85:84 diesis, which Ptolemy so carefully avoids, played on a small lyre by a mere mortal musicologist here on earth. Harmonics begins when the proverbial tree falls in the forest and makes the air be beaten, and it ends when that abused bit of our atmosphere enters our ears, filters to the seat of reason, concords with the similarly calculable notes within us and in the distant heavens, and gives us pleasure in knowing that there is in the huge, sometimes audible, sometimes visible universe, a unified, predictable, divinely ordained order.