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The harmonics of Claudius Ptolemy: introductory study and translation of the book I

Grant number: 18/25739-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Languages
Principal researcher:Paula da Cunha Corrêa
Grantee:Luís Alberto Goulart Firmino
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/24588-3 - Bibliographical research to provide for the study and translation of Ptolemy's treaty on harmony, BE.EP.IC


Due to the social importance of music in Greek society - in the Archaic, Classic, Hellenistic and posterior periods - many authors have written harmonic and musical theories. Claudius Ptolemy wrote, in Alexandria, on the second century A.D., a harmonic treaty in which musical intervals are studied taking into consideration both the mathematical relations underlying the consonances and the auditory perception about such intervals. In this treaty, because of the Platonic and Pythagoric influences, such mathematic relations, which fundament the causes of consonances and dissonances in sounds, are also recognized on the astronomic movements - the macrocosm - and on the microcosms State and human soul. In producing such treaty, Ptolemy registered a scientific method that holds similarity with what is being used in modern science, because he puts his hypotheses under the test of experimentation, using instruments to look towards objectivity, and because he seeks to recognize the patterns that are able to show the causes of such phenomena. Therefore, this Project aims to justify a translation of the book I of the referred treaty, the Harmonics of Claudius Ptolemy.

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