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Harmonic Theory in Ancient Greece - 26-27/04/2018, Berlin (Germany)

Ancient Greek Music can be studied from a twofold perspective: on the one hand, there is the musical practise, the so-called mousiké, which played an important role in the polis; on the other hand, there is the theoretical part, harmoniké, the study of music as a physical quantitative phenomenon, which, as a consequence, could be described using the language of mathematics, in particular, arithmetic. ​The aim of this conference is to focus on this second aspect of ancient Greek music. The ancient scholars who gave contributions to the field of Harmonics treated it as a scientific discipline and they were often authors of mathematical and philosophical texts as well. Therefore, some of the questions that will be addressed to during this conference are: how could a scientific method be applied to music? How were arithmetical concepts and procedures used in order to describe musical patterns? To what extent did musical experience influence the theoretical description we find in the treatises? Since Harmonics is part of the education of the philosopher, which are the philosophical implications behind particular theoretical musical structures?

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 26-27/04/2018

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Room 103, Topoi Building Mitte, (Berlin, Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Sinem Derya Kılıç (PhD Candidate in Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin); Sara Panteri (PhD Candidate in Classics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

INFO: web -



THURSDAY, APRIL 26 10.00–10.15 Sara Panteri & Sinem Kılıç (HU Berlin): Introduction 10.15–11.30 Federico Maria Petrucci (Durham University): The Epistemological Function of Music in Middle Platonism 11.30–11.45 Coffee Break 11.45–13.00 Massimo Raffa (Università della Calabria): Communicating Harmonics: Ancient Musical Writings as Persuasive Texts 13.00–14.15 Lunch Break 14.15–15.30 Alison Laywine (McGill University): Farabi’s Effort to Rethink Book Two of Ptolemy’s Harmonics 15.30–16.45 David Creese (Newcastle University): Superfluous tonoi and Superfluous Authorities in Ptolemy’s Harmonics 16.45–17.00 Coffee Break 17.00–18.15 Andrew Hicks (Cornell University): Did Boethius Make a Mistake in De Institutione Musica 3.14–16? 18.15–18.30 Break 18.30–19.30 KEYNOTE Andrew Barker (University of Birmingham): Enigmatic Arithmetic in the Elementa Harmonica 20.00 Conference Dinner FRIDAY, APRIL 27 10.00–11.15 Francesco Pelosi (Scuola Normale Superiore): When the Slower Catches the Swifter: The Physics of Sound and Sense Perception in Ancient Greek Theories on Consonance 11.15–11.30 Coffee Break 11.30–12.45 Eleonora Rocconi (Università degli Studi di Pavia): The Notion of synthesis in Harmonic Science (and Beyond) 12.45–14.15 Lunch Break 14.15–15.30 Stephen Menn (McGill University / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): Euclid’s Argument Against Aristoxenus and Archytas’s Argument Against Philolaus 15.30–16.45 Sara Panteri (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): Some Reflections on Excerpta Neapolitana § 19 (416.12–417.11 Jan) 16.45–17.00 Break 17.00–18.15 Sinem Derya Kılıç (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): The Doors of Perception: On the Theoretical Senses in Plato’s Aesthetics

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