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The Koinē Hormasia Re-Interpreted

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image of Greek and Roman Musical Studies

The hormasia-table is preserved in a manuscript from 1040 AD. The heart or kernel of the table (two columns, each with 16 Hypolydian notes) was probably established in antiquity in order to provide a mean-tone tuning and a basic system for playing two voices on the harp (or the organ): a given melody with the right hand and a more or less schematic accompaniment with the left. In Byzantine times, the system was probably used as a stringing plan for doubly registered psalteries, both of the rectangular and the harp-like type.

Affiliations: 1: Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie


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