Words for sounds

TitleWords for sounds
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBarker, A
EditorTuplin, C, Rihll, TE
Ancient AuthorsClaudius Ptolemaeus Math. (TLG 0363), Archytas Phil. (TLG 0620)
Book TitleScience and mathematics in ancient Greek culture
PublisherOxford University Press

Acoustics in ancient Greece focuses on two main tasks. The first is the phenomenon of sound in general, which seeks to explain what sounds are, how they are caused, how they behave, and how they are transmitted to the ear and perceived by it. The second concerns itself with what constitutes and what causes the various perceived attributes of sounds, how a sound that is high-pitched or quiet or rough or muffled differs in itself and in its causal antecedents from one that is low-pitched or loud or smooth or clear. This chapter argues that the early scientists' linguistic and conceptual inheritance enmeshed them in difficulties of at least three sorts. Firstly, poets rarely use adjectives to give colourful descriptions of sounds. Another problem is that when adjectives are applied to sounds by pre-scientific writers, they are rarely used with merely empirical intent, just to give descriptions of the way sounds sound. [http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152484.001.0001/acprof-9780198152484-chapter-2]


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