The History of Music



Nomos Pythios

586 BC

Aulos piece played by Sacads wins musical competitian at Pythian games


300 bce - 250 bce

Greek author. Wrote about music in "Harmonic Elements" ca 330 BCE.

Ptolemy, Claudius

100 CE - 150 CE

Important greek astronomer and musical theorist.

Aristides Quintilianus

300 CE - 350 CE

Greek Philosopher. Important writing on music.

Important Works

Time Periods

Ancient Greece and Rome

800 BC - 330 CE

Ancient Greek thinkers felt music had close connections with astronomy and mathematics. Common instruments were the Aulos and Lyre. Music was improvised heterophony and closely connected to the melody and rhythm of poetry. Both Aristotle and Plato felt that music could affect behaviour and advocated studying the "right" kind of music.


Types of Music

Gregorian Chant (approx)

300 - 600

Organum (approx)

600 - 1100

Organum - greogrian chant with another part added to the cantus firmus -- parallel organum or contrary organum

Organum up to four parts (approx)


Historical Events

Rise of Greek city-states

800 BC

Rome founded

753 BC

Byzantium founded

660 BC

Pythagorus dies

497 BC

Plato's Republic

380 BC

Aristotle's Politics

330 BC

Musical Events