Several important studies on ancient Greek music have come out lately, but a systematic one covering the interplay between musical theory and practice was missing among them. Hagel’s (H. henceforth) work, full of original, innovative proposals, fills that lacuna and clarifies a number of until now open questions, offering a new approach to the matter. H.’s book is a great achievement, but if I had to highlight just one aspect of it, I would stress its varying approach, where every existing method is at work, thus compensating for the scarcity of the extant musical material: a rigorous philological examination of the sources; an extensive up-to-date bibliography both of ancient and modern authors; a thorough examination of the extant musical documents (frequency of individual notes, kinds of interval in melodies, suitability of different instruments in their performance); a semiotic study of musical signs; a careful iconographic study of instruments ( cithara and aulos ); statistic corrections of the data stemming from different sources; a physical and organological study of strings and other material as instrumental components; a study of acoustic resonance of intervals and instruments. And, what is more, all these strands interact so as to draw a clear,
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2012
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