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Charles Burnett

(bc1080; dc1150). Music theorist active in England. He studied in Tours, probably taught in Laon, travelled in Sicily, southern Italy and the Crusader states, but apparently spent much of his life in the south-west of England. He translated Arabic scientific texts into Latin and wrote original works of considerable literary merit, perhaps in his role as a tutor in an episcopal or royal court: one such text was addressed to the future King Henry II. Adelard dealt with music as an integral part of the Quadrivium. In the ...

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Alcuin  

Jane Bellingham

(b Northumbria, c735; d Tours, May 19, 804). Anglo-Saxon scholar, writer and poet. Little is known about Alcuin's early years, but he was educated at the cathedral school in York, which, under the guidance of magister, and later archbishop, Aelberht (d...

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James W. McKinnon

(b nr Metz, c775; d ?Metz, c850). Writer on liturgy and chant. He was probably educated under Alcuin at the monastery of St Martin in Tours, and served as archbishop of Trier from 809 and 814. In 813 he travelled to Constantinople at the behest of Charlemagne, returning the next year, apparently by way of Rome. He then began his literary activity, probably at Aachen. His longest and most significant work, the ...

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Ambrose  

James W. McKinnon

(b Trier, c340; d Milan, 397). Saint, bishop and Doctor of the Church. He was the son of the Roman prefect of Gaul, and embarked upon a successful political career, being named consular governor of Liguria and Aemilia in about 370. While yet unbaptized he was elected Bishop of Milan by popular acclaim on 7 December 374. Together with Augustine and Jerome he is acknowledged as one of the three great Latin Church Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries. He was primarily a public figure, however, unlike Augustine, the philosopher, or Jerome, the scholar; he consolidated the position of the Church against the powerful Arian heresy and the counter-attacks of paganism....

Article

André Barbera

(fl first half of the 4th century bce). Mathematician, music theorist and inventor. A friend of Plato, he may have been taught by Philolaus, the first man known to have publicized Pythagorean discoveries widely. Although no extended writing by Archytas survives, fragments attributed to him are contained or summarized in the works of others. He may have been the first author to establish the subjects of the Quadrivium (geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music). He also expounded a theory of acoustics that associated pitch with the speed of sound as it passed through the air, noting that sounds arriving swiftly and strongly appear high-pitched, whereas those arriving slowly and weakly appear low-pitched (Diels, 47b1)....

Article

Warren Anderson and Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Stagirus, 384 bce; d Chalcis, 322 bce). Greek philosopher.

In order to consider Aristotle's views on music, it is necessary to make some reference to the theories of sense perception and ethical behaviour on which they are based. His treatise On the Soul...

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Annie Bélis

(b Tarentum, Magna Graecia, c375–360 bce; d ?Athens). Greek music theorist, philosopher and writer. According to the Suda he was the son of a musician called Mnesias or Spintharus who gave him his early musical education. It is not known to which philosophical or musical school Mnesias belonged, but he may have been one of the Pythagoreans whose political influence had been dominant in Magna Graecia, particularly in Tarentum, with which Archytas had long been associated. Mnesias could have known a number of prominent figures both in Magna Graecia and in Athens: the musicians Archytas, Damon and Philoxenus, as well as Socrates and perhaps even the Theban general Epaminondas. Aristoxenus himself followed the teachings of Lamprus of Erythrae, and then, in Athens, of Xenophilus the Pythagorean. He spent most of his life in Greece. A fragment of one of his works indicates that he lived for some time at Mantinea in Arcadia, where music, which was held in high esteem, was subject to the kind of conservative laws that appealed to his austerity and love of ancient traditions....

Article

Warren Anderson and Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Naucratis, Egypt; fl c200 ce). Greek grammarian and encyclopedist. He settled in Rome at the beginning of the 3rd century ce. None of his works has survived except the Deipnosophistai, a vast compendium in 15 extant books, probably written after 192 ...

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James W. McKinnon and Joseph Dyer

[Aurelius Augustinus]

(b Thagaste, Nov 13, 354; d Hippo, Aug 28, 430). Saint, churchman, and scholar. He was perhaps the most influential figure in the history of Christian thought, rivalled only by Thomas Aquinas and possibly Origen. Born in North Africa to a pagan father and Christian mother, the sainted Monica, he studied rhetoric in Carthage where he lost his boyhood Christian faith. In 373 his reading of Cicero's Hortensius inspired him to pursue the life of a philosopher, which he experienced first as a devotee of Manicheism. He served as professor of liberal arts for several years in his native Thagaste, moving in 383 to Rome and then in 384 to Milan, as professor of rhetoric. In Milan he came under the influence of the Christian neoplatonist Simplicianus and St Ambrose. He was led gradually through Neoplatonism to Christianity and, after a period of retreat at Cassiciacum, was baptized on Easter Eve of ...

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Thomas J. Mathiesen

(fl ?4th century ce). Greek writer on music. He was the author of a small musical catechism preserved under the title Introduction to the Art of Music (Eisagōgē technēs mousikēs). The treatise is usually (though not always) followed in the manuscripts by a second distinct treatise but with the same title and author; the second treatise in turn is followed in most (but not all) manuscripts by this epigram:...

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Dimitri Conomos

(b Edessa [now Urfa], July 11, 154; d Edessa, 222). Syrian hymnographer, astrologer and philosopher. Born into a pagan priestly family, he was educated by a pagan priest but baptized as a Christian, and in 179 he was ordained deacon and priest. Later denounced as a heretic and excommunicated (...

Article

Bede  

Calvin Bower and Jane Bellingham

(b Northumbria, 673; d Jarrow, 735). Anglo-Saxon monk, writer and historian. His works, particularly the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’), provide important evidence for the practice of music in the Anglo-Saxon Church during the 6th, 7th and early 8th centuries. At the age of seven, he was placed under the care of Benedict Biscop (628–90), abbot and founder of the Northumbrian monastery of St Peter at Wearmouth. When Biscop founded the brother abbey of St Paul at Jarrow in 682 Bede was sent there to join its abbot Ceolfrith (642–716). Bede spent the rest of his life at Jarrow, where he became a dedicated teacher, never travelling outside Northumbria. Biscop and Ceolfrith acquired many books on their frequent journeys to Rome and Gaul and were largely responsible for the substantial collection of manuscripts owned by the abbeys; they also created one of the most important scriptoria in Anglo-Saxon England. Wearmouth became a major centre for the teaching of liturgical music in Northumbria when in 680 Biscop acquired the services of John, archcantor of St Peter’s basilica and abbot of St Martin’s in Rome, to teach his monks how to celebrate the liturgy and to chant according to the practice of the Roman churches....

Article

Calvin Bower

(b Rome, c480 ce; d Pavia, c524 ce). Roman writer and statesman. He was born into one of the foremost patrician families of Rome; following the death of his father in 487 ce he was taken into the home of Symmachus, another patrician. Boethius learnt Greek philosophy and the liberal arts from Symmachus and married his daughter. Both men were colleagues in later senatorial struggles....

Article

Thomas J. Mathiesen

(fl 3rd century ce). Roman grammarian and philosopher. He is known today for his On the Day of Birth (De die natali), a treatise on birthday lore and other subjects composed for the 49th birthday of his patron, Qu. Caerellius, in ...

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Dimitri Conomos

(fl c1440–63). Byzantine composer and theorist. The only surviving biographical evidence about Chrysphes is contained in music manuscripts. Information in IL-Jp 31 (c1440) reveals that he held the office of lampadarios (leader of the left choir) in the Byzantine palace. His autograph appears in an ...

Article

Warren Anderson and Thomas J. Mathiesen

(b Arpinum [now Arpino], Jan 3, 106 bce; d Caieta [now Gaeta], Dec 7, 43 bce). Roman statesman, orator and man of letters. The hundreds of references to music in his writings (see Wille, 1967) include no comprehensive statement of theory; individual passages show that his usual eclecticism prevailed here as well. The Epicurean condemnation of music and of late Stoic musical theory by a philosopher well known to him personally, ...

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Damon  

Warren Anderson and Thomas J. Mathiesen

(fl late 5th century bce). Greek music theorist. A highly influential figure of the Periclean age. Damon had paramount importance among the pre-Socratics for doctrines of musical ethos. Dance and song ‘necessarily arise when the soul is in some way moved’, he maintained (Diels, 37/B/6), aware that purposive action originates in the soul. He went on to voice the primary tenet of all musical ethics, claiming that ‘liberal [i.e. befitting a free man] and beautiful songs and dances create a similar soul, and the reverse kind creates a reverse kind of soul’ (ibid.). According to a late author, ...

Article

Geoffrey Chew

(b Cliftbog, Aberdeenshire, ? Aug 23, 1579; d Bologna, Sep 6, 1625). Scottish antiquarian and historian. According to his colourful but highly unreliable autobiography (1627, pp.672ff), he was a child prodigy from a Catholic noble family, educated variously in Aberdeenshire and at Cambridge, Paris, Leuven, Rome and Douai, and later holding academic posts at Paris, Toulouse, Nîmes, Pisa and Bologna; he was very quarrelsome and was imprisoned several times. Towards the end of his life two of his books were placed on the ...

Article

Didymus  

Lukas Richter

(fl ?2nd half of 1st century Bce). Greek music theorist. Fragments of his work survive in quotation by Porphyry and Ptolemy. Most musicological studies have hitherto tacitly assumed him to be identical with the Alexandrian grammarian and lexicographer Didymus, nicknamed ‘Chalkenteros’ (or ‘Chalcenterus’; ...

Article

Lukas Richter

(b Cyrene [now Shaḥḥāt, Libya], c276 bc; d Alexandria, c196 bc). Greek scholar. He was educated at Alexandria by the poet Callimachus and the grammarian Lysanias, and at Athens encountered the philosophers Arcesilaus and Ariston of Chios. In about 246 bce...