© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI: 10.1163/156852509X339897 Mnemosyne 62 (2009) 548-585 brill.nl/mnem Ptolemy on Sound: Harmonics 1.3 (6.14-9.15 Düring) Miguel Bobo de la Peña Conservatorio Profesional de Música, Luis Moya Blanco 261, 33203 Gijón, Spain email@example.com Received: February 2008; accepted: April 2008 Abstract Ptolemy’s acoustics develops throughout his Harmonics chapter 1.3. He deﬁ nes sound as πάθος ἀέρος πλησσομένου , expressing it—as most authors at the time—in terms of a stroke ( πληγή ), and thus linking the study of sound attributes to that of the strokes. His tripartite analysis of sound stroke represents an original description of sound production by means of an agent ( τὸ πλῆττον ) exciting a medium ( τὸ δι’ οὗ ἡ πληγή ) which, in turn, stimulates the air ( τὸ πληττόμενον ). However clear Ptolemy’s explanation is, a wide consensus on its interpretation has not been reached, since almost each scholar has read Ptolemy’s three factors in a diﬀ erent way. As a result, several problems arise in diﬀ erent authors, especially the contradiction between ἡ τοῦ δι’ οὗ ἡ πληγὴ σφοδρότης seen as responsible for pitch and ἡ τοῦ πλήττοντος βία thought of as cause of loudness, but also
Mnemosyne – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
Keywords: HARMONICS; ANCIENT GREEK MUSIC; PTOLEMY; ACOUSTICS
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