- Discover essay samples

Pythagorean Philosophy And Its Influence On Musical Instrumentation And Composition

4.9 of 5.0 (16 reviews)

664 words

Pythagorean Philosophy And Its Influence On Musical Instrumentation And Composition Page 1
Pythagorean Philosophy And Its Influence On Musical Instrumentation And Composition Page 2
Pythagorean Philosophy And Its Influence On Musical Instrumentation And Composition Page 3
Pythagorean Philosophy And Its Influence On Musical Instrumentation And Composition Page 4
Pythagorean Philosophy And Its Influence On Musical Instrumentation And Composition Page 5
The above thumbnails are of reduced quality. To view the work in full quality, click download.

Pythagorean Philosophy and its influence on Musical Instrumentation and
"Music is the harmonization of opposites, the unification of
disparate things, and the conciliation of warring elements... Music is the
basis of agreement among things in nature and of the best government in the
universe. As a rule it assumes the guise of harmony in the universe, of
lawful government in a state, and of a sensible way of life in the home.
It brings together and unites." - The Pythagoreans
Every school student will recognize his name as the originator of
that theorem which offers many cheerful facts about the square on the
hypotenuse. Many European philosophers will call him the father of
philosophy. Many scientists will call him the father of science. To
musicians, nonetheless, Pythagoras is the father of music. According to
Johnston, it was a much told story that one day the young Pythagoras was
passing a blacksmith's shop and his ear was caught by the regular intervals
of sounds from the anvil. When he discovered that the hammers were of
different weights, it occured to him that the intervals might be related to
those weights. Pythagoras was correct. Pythagorean philosophy maintained
that all things are numbers. Based on the belief that numbers were the
building blocks of everything, Pythagoras began linking numbers and music.
Revolutionizing music, Pythagoras' findings generated theorems and
standards for musical scales, relationships, instruments, and creative
formation. Musical scales became defined, and taught. Instrument makers
began a precision approach to device construction. Composers developed new
attitudes of composition that encompassed a foundation of numeric value in
addition to melody. All three approaches were based on Pythagorean
philosophy. Thus, Pythagoras' relationship between numbers and music had a
profound influence on future musical education, instrumentation, and
The intrinsic discovery made by Pythagoras was the potential order to
the chaos of music. Pythagoras began subdividing different intervals and
pitches into distinct notes. Mathematically he divided intervals into
wholes, thirds, and halves. "Four distinct musical ratios were discovered:
the tone, its fourth, its fifth, and its octave." (Johnston, 1989). From
these ratios the Pythagorean scale was introduced. This scale
revolutionized music. Pythagorean relationships of ratios held true for
any initial pitch. This discovery, in turn, reformed musical education.
"With the standardization of music, musical creativity could be recorded,
taught, and reproduced." (Rowell, 1983). Modern day finger exercises, such
as the Hanons, are neither based on melody or creativity. They are simply
based on the Pythagorean scale, and are executed from various initial
pitches. Creating a foundation for musical representation, works became
recordable. From the Pythagorean scale and simple mathematical
calculations, different scales or modes were developed. "The Dorian,
Lydian, Locrian, and Ecclesiastical modes were all developed from the
foundation of Pythagoras." (Johnston, 1989). "The basic foundations of
musical education are based on the various modes of scalar relationships."
(Ferrara, 1991). Pythagoras' discoveries created a starting point for
structured music. From this, diverse educational schemes were created upon
basic themes. Pythagoras and his mathematics created the foundation for
musical education as it is now known.
According to Rowell, Pythagoras began his experiments demonstrating
the tones of bells of different sizes. "Bells of variant size produce
different harmonic ratios." (Ferrara, 1991). Analyzing the different ratios,
Pythagoras began defining different musical pitches based on bell diameter,
and density. "Based on Pythagorean harmonic relationships, and Pythagorean
geometry, bell-makers began constructing bells with the principal pitch
prime tone, and hum tones consisting of a fourth, a fifth, and the octave."
(Johnston, 1989). Ironically or coincidentally, these tones were all
members of the Pythagorean scale. In addition, Pythagoras initiated
comparable experimentation with pipes of different lengths. Through this
method of study he ...

You are currently seeing 50% of this paper.

You're seeing 664 words of 1328.

Similar essays

Reflections On The Bocelli Concert, April 15, 1999

On April 15,I had the good fortune to attend Andrea Bocelli's concert at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim. Although I have attended classical concerts and operas in the past, this was my first since having begun voice classes. With my own experiences as a beginning voice student, I was able to observe things with a new awareness; details which I had...

110 reviews
Censorship...Who Gives A F**k!!!

I was very young and lived in Chicago there were all sorts of interesting things around to play with. My parents physically censored me by putting me in "baby prison." They felt that certain things needed to be censored from me because of their potential danger. So I was kept out of harms way in the playpen or crib. As I grew older and was no longe...

163 reviews
History Of Rock And Roll

In the early 50's, at the end of the big band swing era, came a form of music that, like others, parents would reject and their children would love. This type of music is known as Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll is defined as a popular type of music played on electric instruments and characterized by a strong beat and much repetition. Simply this me...

186 reviews
The Beatles

When people hear the name "" most people think of lead singer, John Lennon. However, the role of Paul McCartney is often overlooked. It was McCartney, not Lennon who was the driving force behind . John Lennon and Paul McCartney were in many bands together before the forming of the Beatles. In 1962, along with Ringo Starr1 and George Harriso...

203 reviews
Louis Armstrong

was famous around the world for his jazz interperitations on the trumpet and the many styles of jazz he produced and played. Not to mention, he also had many great accomplishments throughout his allustrious career. "Armstrong was the seminal artist of jazz history -- the first to combine trumpet virtuosity and an original musical vision with an en...

202 reviews
Changing Faces's All Day / All Night

Changing Faces are back for a second time around. Charise Rose and Casandra Lucas are two female artists who are changing the face of what R & B music has become. The two use their natural talent rather than physical looks to sell their music. The artists second album, All Day/ All Night is mainly focused on love and its consequence, heartbreaks...

197 reviews
Everything is Everything

Chelsea Weiss HWA 1 3/15/18 In Lauryn Hill's song, "" I believe she is simply singing about how everything is going to be okay. She sings that, "what is meant to be, will be," a statement that gets a lot of people through tough times in their lives. It helps everyone know that no matter how hard everything will seem like it is, it will be okay, t...

59 reviews
Death Of The Superstars

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to listen to some of the greatest music stars of our time. I'm talking about the stars that never made it to full prominence. The list of players is alarmingly high and sad. The potential of these performers never met. It would be something to see what the music of today would be like. I was reading a b...

94 reviews
Life's Too Short

Often times when the normal parent or upstanding citizen turns on the TV and sees a young black man rapping about the hood they are usually turned off. Stereotypes come in to play and the channel is switched without even considering what message that human being is trying to convey. When listening to rapper Too Short and his song "Gettin it",...

136 reviews
Observation Summary

Observation Reflection #9 I observed Mrs. Collette Tanner's 5th grade choir class today at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic School, and the experience was both extremely different and enlightening. The class was a choir class, so despite the fact that the children were in 5th grade, the class was mostly performance based, and this was a huge tra...

136 reviews
Concert Report

Review Summary This PBS special documents the musical dance celebration of Ipi Ntombi -- a part of the black South African culture that was first performed in 1974. The video shows a live performance with a cast of 50 talented dancers and singers. The story begins in a small South African village during a cultural tribal dance filled with colorful...

122 reviews
The Flute

For any music-lover familiar with the sound of , it seem to posses a magical power that comes from inner most part of the soul. It's speak of its own way, it moves, it holds and presents a strong sense of passion as if it has been there since creation. With a symphony or opera orchestra, makes up a large portion of the solo section. is not only...

107 reviews
A Touch Of Jazz

When I hear people talking cheerfully of "Negro music" or the Africa roots of jazz; he often wonders what in the world they can be talking about. What Negro music? What part of Africa? What kind of jazz? Africa is groups than any comparable land mass. Not all Africans are Negroes, and not all Negroes are Africans. African music isn't necessarily Ne...

34 reviews
Ethnomusicology: Chicano Music

The influence of Mexican culture in the United States has, since the onset of the twentieth century, grown rapidly. The socioeconomic and political consequences that followed Mexico's independence from Spain and the US annexation of the Southwest, including California and Texas, created a distinct dynamic between historically settled Mexicans in th...

175 reviews
Atsisiųsti šį darbą