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Ancient Greek Music - Enharmonic Genus

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by

John Keene

on 26 June 2013

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Transcript of Ancient Greek Music - Enharmonic Genus

Traditional Greek Music
Enharmonic Genus

Mathematics of Music
Pythagoras developed the study of harmonics (570-495 BC)
Strings and columns of air vibrate
Overtones are produced
Successive overtones have a mathematical relation to one another
Greek Modes (Enharmonic Genus)
Aristoxenian tradition (335 BC)
Mixolydian, Lydian, Hypolydian, Phrygian, Hypophrygian, Dorian, Common (Lochrian)
Does not use equal temperament
Quarter tones are just representations of the notes
Dorian mode: E, F quarter flat, G double flat, A, B, C quarter flat, D double flat (E)
Other aspects of modes
Tonoi are "note names"
Ptolemy presents his tonoi differently to Pythagoras (chromatic inflection at points)
Tonoi used in language too (essentially accents)
Plato describes Harmoniai (scales) to encompass a particular type of scale, range and register, characteristic rhythmic pattern, textual subject, etc.
Each harmoniai has an effect on mood and character formation
Similarities to Arab Maqam
History
Byzantine (eastern) or Traditional
Continuous development in rhythm, structure, and melody
Instruments include kithara (guitar), aulos (oboe), pandara (lyre)
Boys were taught music from age six
Greek music theory included Greek modes
These eventually became the basis for Western Classical and Religious Music
Links
Luigi Nono (1924-1990): No hay caminos, hay que caminar.... Andrei Tarkovskij (8th and 16th tones)
Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988): Quattro pezzi per orchestra (tone deviations)
Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001): Pleaides (3rd and quarter tones - 19/21 uneven "tone" scale on Sixxen)
Yuichi Onoue, Japanese multi-instrumentalist, developed a 24-tone guitar
Norwegian guitarist Ronni Le Tekro of band TNT uses quarter step guitar (special modes)
Full transcript