Vitruvius, de Architectura (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Vitr.].
<<Vitr. 5.4.1 Vitr. 5.4.8 (Latin) >>Vitr. 5.5.8


5. In each class there are eighteen notes, termed in Greek of which eight in all the three classes are constant and fixed, while the other ten, not being tuned to the same pitch, are variable. The fixed notes are those which, being placed between the moveable, make up the unity of the tetrachord, and remain unaltered in their boundaries according to the different classes. Their names are proslambanomenos, hypate hypaton, hypate meson, mese, nete synhemmenon, paramese, nete diezeugmenon, nete hyperbolaeon. The moveable notes are those which, being arranged in the tetrachord between the immoveable, change from place to place according to the different classes. They are called

[unresolved image link]

-- 142 --

parhypate hypaton, lichanos hypaton, parhypate meson, lichanos meson, trite synhemmenon, paranete synhemmenon, trite diezeugmenon, paranete diezeugmenon, trite hyperbolaeon, paranete hyperbolaeon.


6. These notes, from being moveable, take on different qualities; for they may stand at different intervals and increasing distances. Thus, parhypate, which in the enharmonic is at the interval of half a semitone from hypate, has a semitone interval when transferred to the chromatic. What is called lichanos in the enharmonic is at the interval of a semitone from hypate; but when shifted to the chromatic, it goes two semitones away; and in the diatonic it is at an interval of three semitones from hypate. Hence the ten notes produce three different kinds of modes on account of their changes of position in the classes.


7. There are five tetrachords: first, the lowest, termed in Greek ὕπατον; second, the middle, called μέσον; third, the conjunct, termed fourth, the disjunct, named διεζευγμένον; the fifth, which Greek ὑπερβόλαιον. The concords, termed in Greek συμφωνίαι, of which human modulation will naturally admit, are six in number: the fourth, the fifth, the octave, the octave and fourth, the octave and fifth, and the double octave.


8. Their names are therefore due to numerical value; for when the voice becomes stationary on some one note, and then, shifting its pitch, changes its position and passes to the limit of the fourth note from that one, we use the term “fourth”; when it passes to the fifth, the term is “fifth.” [Note]


9. For there can be no consonancies either in the case of the notes of stringed instruments or of the singing voice, between two intervals or between three or six or seven; but, as written above, it is only the harmonies of the fourth, the fifth, and so on up to the double octave, that have boundaries naturally corresponding to those of the voice: and these concords are produced by the union of the notes.

-- 143 --


1. IN accordance with the foregoing investigations on mathematical principles, let bronze vessels be made, proportionate to the size of the theatre, and let them be so fashioned that, when touched, they may produce with one another the notes of the fourth, the fifth, and so on up to the double octave. Then, having constructed niches in between the seats of the theatre, let the vessels be arranged in them, in accordance with musical laws, in such a way that they nowhere touch the wall, but have a clear space all round them and room over their tops. They should be set upside down, and be supported on the side facing the stage by wedges not less than half a foot high. Opposite each niche, apertures should be left in the surface of the seat next below, two feet long and half a foot deep.


2. The arrangement of these vessels, with reference to the situations in which they should be placed, may be described as follows. If the theatre be of no great size, mark out a horizontal range halfway up, and in it construct thirteen arched niches with twelve equal spaces between them, so that of the above mentioned “echea” those which give the note nete hyperbolaeon may be placed first on each side, in the niches which are at the extreme ends; next to the ends and a fourth below in pitch, the note nete diezeugmenon; third, paramese, a fourth below; fourth, nete synhemmenon; fifth, mese, a fourth below; sixth, hypate meson, a fourth below; and in the middle and another fourth below, one vessel giving the note hypate hypaton.


3. On this principle of arrangement, the voice, uttered from the stage as from a centre, and spreading and striking against the cavities of the different vessels, as it comes in contact with them, will be increased in clearness of sound, and will wake an harmonious note in unison with itself. But if the theatre be rather large, let its height be divided

-- 144 --

into four parts, so that three horizontal ranges of niches may be marked out and constructed: one for the enharmonic, another for the chromatic, and the third for the diatonic system. Beginning with the bottom range, let the arrangement be as described above in the case of a smaller theatre, but on the enharmonic system.


4. In the middle range, place first at the extreme ends the vessels which give the note of the chromatic hyperbolaeon;

[unresolved image link] next to them, those which give the chromatic diezeugmenon, a fourth below; third, the chromatic synhemmenon; fourth, the chromatic meson, a fourth below; fifth, the chromatic hypaton, a fourth below; sixth, the paramese, for this is both the concord of the fifth to the chromatic hyperbolaeon, and the concord [Note] of the chromatic synhemmenon.

Vitruvius, de Architectura (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Vitr.].
<<Vitr. 5.4.1 Vitr. 5.4.8 (Latin) >>Vitr. 5.5.8

Powered by PhiloLogic